This Past Week at La Domestique: Sriracha

This past week at La Domestique was dedicated to cooking with sriracha, the spicy Asian chili sauce that’s good on just about everything. More than a hot sauce, sriracha gets depth of flavor from red jalapeño peppers, garlic, vinegar, and a bit of sugar. Here at La Domestique we explored many ways to use sriracha in fall cooking, from glazing a roast chicken to garnishing soup and flavoring vegetable stir-fry dishes.

In case you missed anything, I’ve got a recap:

Monday:  Announcing sriracha as ingredient of the week.

Tuesday:  10 Ways Tuesday! Creative ideas for cooking with sriracha in autumn.

Wednesday:  Cook in the moment with a recipe for Sriracha Glazed Cornish Game Hens.

Thursday:  The story behind sriracha: where it originated, how to make it, cooking with sriracha and flavor pairing.

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Soup & Sriracha, a bowl of enlightenment

Last  Wednesday I experienced enlightenment while slurping a bowl of Chicken Soup Noodle at Boulder restaurant, Zoe Ma Ma. You see, I usually wolf down the soft and pillowy steamed pork buns for lunch, but on that particular day a chilly fall breeze was in the air and I had a hankerin’ for soup. Little did I know how this bowl of soup would change the way I think about food.

I picked up my generous bowl of Ma Ma’s Chicken Soup Noodle and found myself a tiny table in the corner. The bowl contained shredded chicken, bean sprouts, pickled greens and delicate noodles all suspended in rich homemade broth. Little globules of fat floated on the surface with scallions and cilantro. A fragrant steam wafted over me. I already felt the comfort one seeks from a mother’s chicken soup. Hungrily slurping down noodles and broth, it occurred to me that something was missing. Salt? Seasoning? I stopped slurping and looked up at an array of condiments on the counter. I was intimidated.

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Storyboard: Sriracha

Sriracha Storyboard (c)2011 LaDomestique.com

You’ve seen the large red bottle with an electric green top placed inconspicuously on tables everywhere from all American diners to Asian restaurants. Sriracha pronounced “see-RAH-chuh”, is a chili sauce. To call it hot sauce would be an insult. Sriracha has a flavor with depth and complexity. Initially it tastes a bit sweet, with the bright fruitiness of red jalapeño. Vinegar adds tang, the slightest hint of sour. Then the heat begins to build, slowly. In the background is a rich, pungent flavor- garlic. As the fire intensifies sugar is there always, mellowing the heat just enough. While researching sriracha I came across the same word over and over again- addictive. Those who know sriracha love it intensely and will proclaim that this spicy sauce is “good on everything” from pizza to Vietnamese pho. You know what? They are right.

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Cook in the Moment: Sriracha Glazed Hens

Sriracha Glazed Hens (c)2011 LaDomestique.com

Each week I contribute an article to “Whole Foods Market Cooking Boulder” website expanding on one of the 10 Ways Tuesday ideas. For sriracha week I shared a recipe for Sriracha Glazed Cornish Game Hens that elevates this everyday sauce to something special. Reminiscent of hot wings, these hot hens are more sophisticated and provide variety: dark leg meat, moist breast meat, and crispy wings. The heat from the oven caramelizes the sauce into a rich glaze that envelopes the hens. In less than an hour, the hens are cooked and a spicy-sweet aroma fills the house. For the recipe, plus interesting info on sriracha and Cornish game hens, click on the icon below.

 

10 Ways Tuesday: Sriracha

I’ve got creative ideas for cooking with sriracha in fall:

 

1.  Soup

My light bulb moment regarding sriracha happened over a bowl of chicken noodle soup in Zoe Ma Ma, a Chinese restaurant in Boulder. The big bowl of soup included rice noodles, chicken, pickled greens, sprouts all suspended in rich, homey broth. Even with a garnish of cilantro and scallions, something was missing. Someone suggested I add Ma Ma’s homemade sriracha, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Comforting beef pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup, is also delicious with sriracha. Even a hearty vegetable soup benefits from the warming heat of sriracha.

2.  Glazed Roast Chicken

Basting a whole chicken, Cornish hen, or chicken pieces like wings or drumsticks with sriracha is the same concept as hot wings, with an Asian twist. The heat of the oven caramelizes the sriracha sauce, deepening its flavor and keeping the meat moist. Try Martha Stewart’s recipe for Sriracha Glazed Chicken Wings.

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