You know that omnipresent bottle of spicy red stuff with the Thai lettering and a rooster on it? It’s called sriracha paste of chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt—and in case you haven’t noticed, it’s fucking everywhere.
Gone are the days when this sweet/tangy hot sauce was relegated to dim dumpling spots and banh mi joints across Sunset Park, or surreptitiously slipped without mention into various Southeast Asian dishes across the city. Not only is sriracha seriously heralded on the menus of some of the most celebrated eateries throughout the borough, both Asian (TALDE) and non-Asian (The Vanderbilt) alike, this writer even spied it on a Lazy Susan of condiments at a Staten Island Boston Market — nestled prominently between the Heinz 57 and the A1. Now if that doesn’t indicate the current state of sriracha in society, I don’t know what does.
So to what do Brooklyn’s most prominent sriracha proponents make of its inexplicable rise in popularity?
“It’s pretty simple: it’s fucking delicious,” commented chef Dale Talde. “Also, unlike other hot sauces, it offers more than just heat. It has depth of flavor. I love to mix it with Frank’s Red Hot to make a hot sauce, which I literally put on everything. It’s going to be the base of our wing sauce at Pork Slope; it’s our table sauce at TALDE. Fried chicken with hot sauce and ranch is my shit.”
Restauteur Saul Bolton, the globetrotting chef behind Saul, Brooklyn Bangers, Nitehawk Cinemas and the Vanderbilt is equally enamored of sultry, savory sriracha.
“It’s the new ketchup in New York kitchens, which used to be a not talked about secret ingredient,” Bolton confirmed. “It’s an expression of America’s continual evolution as a melting pot of cultures—spicy, sweet, with a little acidity. We use it in dressings, soups, octopus, marguez sausage mix, and of course, our famous brussels sprouts at The Vanderbilt!”
So take a clue from these two top chefs (and of course Boston Market) by dropping the ketchup and taking a stab at these sriracha-centric recipes at home!