A table condiment similar to ketchup--but much more pungent--sriracha sauce is named after a seaside town in Thailand. Increasingly popular, this sauce is found on the tables of Thai and Vietnamese restaurants all over North America. Fresh red chiles are the key to the flavor of this recipe.
- 1 pound fresh red serrano, cayenne, Thai, or chile de arbol chiles, stems removed
- 2 1/2 cups rice vinegar (or substitute white distilled vinegar)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
Remove the stems from the chiles. Place the chiles and vinegar in a saucepan and heat to boiling. Turn off the heat and add the sugar and salt and stir until dissolved. Place the saucepan contents in a food processor or blender and puree until a smooth thin-paste consistency. Add additional rice vinegar if the mixture is too thick. Allow the mixture to steep for several hours, place in glass containers, and refrigerate. The consistency should be slightly thinner than ketchup.
Optional: Strain the sauce through a sieve and discard the solids for a smooth, seedless consistency.