Fresh Sriracha Chile Sauce

Cayenne is a red or green hot chili pepper used to flavor chile food dishes and is also used for medicinal purposes. Named for the city of Cayenne in French Guiana, it is a cultivar of Capsicum annuum related to bell peppers, jalapeños, and others.

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3/4 lbs Fresno, Cayenne, or Jalapeno chiles, snipped, halved lengthwise and coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 to 3 oz (1 1/2 to 3 Tbsp) Thai or Vietnamese palm sugar, or 11/2 to 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt


This quick version of Srirach comes together in a jiffy and is extra terrific when you’re in a pinch. With the extra garlic, I prefer an extra kick from the sugar. On the first time out, start with the smaller quantity and work your way up to tinker with the flavor. Because this version is fast to prepare, you can also make half batches and play with the flavors that way too.

Put the chiles, garlic, salt, sugar, vinegar and water in small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to vigorously simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Transfer to a blender and puree for about 5 minutes, until a smooth, orange-red mixture forms. Add water by the teaspoon to facilitate the pureeing, if needed.

Position a fine mesh strainer over a clean bowl. Then pass the chile sauce through, pressing on the solids with a spatula or spoon to extract as much chile sauce as possible. If the mixture is too thick, stir in water by the tablespoon of water. Let the flavor develop and bloom for a few hours before using. Taste it and make any flavor adjustment with salt, sugar or vinegar. Store in a jar and keep refrigerated for 1 month. Bring it to room temperature before using.

From Recipes adapted from Robert Danhi’s Southeast Asian Flavors (Mortar & Press, 2008)