Food of the Week: Sriracha sauce

photo: Donna P Feldman

photo: Donna P Feldman

 

 

 

This week’s spotlight food is sriracha, a unique variety of hot sauce that became popular on the West coast of the US decades ago but is now gaining popularity among spice-lovers everywhere. And who can blame them? This stuff tastes amazing! It’s made from jalapeno chilies, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper, which blend together to offer a sweet yet spicy taste. An added bonus: the long shelf life means that it can sit around for months without going bad!

In 2010, sriracha sauce won Bon Appetit’s “Ingredient of the Year” award, and its popularity has continued to grow in recent years. Lay’s offers sriracha-flavored chips, and Subway has tested it on their sandwiches.

It’s named after the Thai town of Si Racha, but in the US it’s commonly known as “rooster sauce” because of the image of a rooster on the bottle of the most popular brand.  Huy Fong Foods produces this “original” version, but there are several other brands out there for those who can’t find the real thing. Sriracha is available in most grocery stores and costs approximately $4 for a 28oz bottle.

Some research indicates that sriracha, and hot sauces in general, might offer some potential health benefits. Several studies have demonstrated that capsaicin, a compound found in chilies, may increase metabolism, specifically fat break down. Practically speaking, hot sauces also serve as an easy way for dieters to reduce their intake and slow down the pace of their meals… it’s not as tempting to gobble down plates full of food while sweating profusely and breathing fire! However, those who consistently use spicy condiments will eventually increase their tolerance levels, rendering the practice less helpful for weight loss.

If you’re looking to incorporate sriracha into your diet, there are many interesting articles offering unique tips and tricks for including this sauce in your meals. While sriracha is great on its own, it can also be incorporated into a variety of recipes, from dressings and marinades to soups and even beverages! Just keep in mind that some of these recipes include high sodium or high fat foods, so keep portions small or look for ways to substitute lower sodium, lower fat options where possible.

Use Sriracha to spice up:

  • rice
  • udon or pad thai noodles
  • stir fried vegetables
  • cooked meats like chicken or beef
  • tofu
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