Sriracha Sauce: How To Make It At Home Without Getting Chilli Burn
The Debrief: Freddie Janssen, aka the coolest purveyor of pickled foods you'll ever meet, tells us how to make your own version of the seriously spicy sauce.
Remember when your nan used to go on about pickled foods and you were like 'ergh nan that is gross can I have 60p to go and buy a Freddo and some salt n' vinegar Discos instead'?
NO MORE CHAPS.
Pickling and ferementing stuff is officially cool again and, what's more, despite our childhood misgivings, pickled and dermented stuff is super delicious.
TBH, you've probably been eating pickled and fermented stuff all this time without ever really making the connection to the big jar full of hard boiled eggs that used to sit on the bar at your local old man pub. Stuff like sauerkraut for instance. Or the pickled onions on top of your artisan hot dog, the chillis in your 2AM kebab and, more recently in like, every Asian restaurant you've been to, my favourite KIMCHEE.
Someone leading the fermenting charge, dill pickle in hand, is Freddie Janssen, a Dutch marketing manager now living in Clapton who is one third of F.A.T. London, a trio of picklers and sauce creators who sell their wares at Druid Street Market.
'I just got into cookbooks and went from there' she says when we ask her where she picked up her unusual hobby from - she's just released a book, Pickled, featuring some of her favourite recipes. 'Fermented stuff is so good for your gut too!'
So what's the difference between fermenting and pickling? 'If you pickle a cucumber you do it in hot brine vinegar and spices and pour over and leave for a few days. To ferment, you basically just add salt and it creates it's own acid. It's a lot healthier for you.'
Because Freddie's nice (and has the kind of flat that's so beautiful it makes you cry a little inside when you mentally compare it to yours), she's decided to use her fermenting skills to show us how to create a jar of super spicy sriracha - the Thai sauce that's got so popular in recent years that it's reached cult status.
To create sriracha you obviously need a whole bunch of super hot chillis - specifically scotch bonnets. Freddie learned the hard way not to mess with scotch bonnets; 'Once I was doing a smoked lardon with pickled scotch bonnets,' she remembers with a wince. 'I was pickling them and I forgot to put my gloves on and my hands were on fucking fire.'
She says she literally had to Google 'I can't feel my hands'. Luckily, she found the remedy quickly (which is more than I can say for my poor friend who chopped chillis then changed her tampon and cried all night long). How do you get rid of chilli burn? 'You have to put your hand in a Ziploc bag of baking powder; Freddie recommends. NOT rinse them with water. 'The chilli oil goes into your skin so if you use water you just spread it out even more.'
So how much spice is too much spice? 'I mean, I love spicy food' Says Freddie. 'But one time I went to a pop up and we had laksa and my friends and I were actually crying. At some point it stops being enjoyable.'
Freddie's sriracha though? The opposite of not being enjoyable. It's fucking great. Here's how to make it for yourself.
DIY Sriracha Sauce
Makes 1 × 300 ml (10 fl oz) jar or bottle
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) red jalapenos
200 g (7 oz) red Thai chillies
100 g (3. oz) red Scotch
6 garlic cloves, peeled
45 g (1. oz/. cup) light
1 tablespoon sea salt
125 ml (4 fl oz) rice wine
1 Put on your disposable gloves. Rinse the chillies thoroughly, and remove all the stalks. Remember, these things are hot and your eyes (and other body parts) don’t like them.
2 Put the chillies in a food processor with the garlic, brown sugar, salt and 125 ml (4 fl oz) of water. Blitz until smooth.
3 Transfer the mixture to a clean jar and cover it with muslin (cheesecloth). Secure with butcher’s string. Put the jar on a plate in case the mixture ‘burps’ and overflows. Leave to ferment at room temperature for 5 days.
4 Pour the fermented chilli mixture into the food processor and add the vinegar. Blitz until smooth.
5 Put the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a pan, using the back of a spoon to push it through. You want to remove all the pulp and seeds so you end up with a super-smooth sauce. It will be a fairly thin sauce at this stage. Reserve the pulp to make your own chilli oil (see tip below).
6 Bring the hot sauce to the boil over a medium to high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, until the sauce has reduced to your preferred thickness. If foam appears on top of the sauce, just use a spoon to carefully skim it off.
7 Take off the heat and leave the sriracha to cool to room temperature before bottling and refrigerating. Congrats, you’ve made your own sriracha! It should keep for a few months.
Let’s spice it up! Make a sriracha mayo by adding 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise to 1 tablespoon of DIY Sriracha and a squeeze or two of lime juice. When making your DIY Sriracha, don’t forget to reserve the chilli pulp. Just stick the pulp and seeds into a clean jar, cover completely with good-quality olive oil, and you’ve made yourself a banging homemade chilli oil as well. Triple win!
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Pickled by Freddie Janssen is out now on Hardie Grant, £15
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