Sriracha hot sauce has reached cult status over the last few years. Now that the news of a potential shutdown of its manufacturing plant in Irwindale California has reached the public, there seems to be a mild panic in the hot sauce junkie crowds.
For those not familiar with the Sriracha hot sauce, it is manufactured by Huy Fong Foods, an American company that was started by a Vietnamese immigrant in 1983, when he could not find a hot enough sauce for his palate in Los Angeles. Without any marketing, the brand has grown to become the default served at Asian restaurants, as well as in many homes. While the word sriracha cannot be trademarked, when people talk about Sriracha hot sauce they mean the sauce with the rooster drawn on the bottle and the distinctive green cap.
The company recently moved to a new facility in Irwindale to accommodate for growing demand. But local residents are complaining that the odor from the factory is so strong that they are having a hard time breathing; their eyes are stinging from the sharp odor of the chilies.
So what exactly is in this hot sauce that’s making an entire town cry?
Actually, it’s a very simple recipe:
Chili, Sugar, Salt, Garlic, Distilled Vinegar, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Bisulfite as Preservatives, and Xanthan Gum.
The “secret” is the use of highly potent chilies that make the sauce excruciatingly painful in dosages of more than a quarter teaspoon.The first 5 ingredients are what makes the sauce so good. The last 3 are the preservatives needed for shelf life and food safety.
If you are a hot sauce fan, it’s not too difficult to make your own, but beware, you need a well-ventilated kitchen if you don’t want to feel all Irwindale.
- 1 pound jalapenos or other hot peppers, diced
- 0.25 cup rice vinegar
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp salt
- Throw all ingredients into a mixer and pulse until a paste is formed.
- When you stop crying, move the paste to a saucepan and heat for up to an hour, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing sticks. You can add a bit of water if necessary.
- Taste to adjust sugar or salt
- When cooled down, you can run the sauce through the blender once more to make it more liquid.