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Sriracha

About twelve years ago, I began adventures in fermentation.  I became curious about the possibility of making a fermented sriracha.  Store bought, unfermented options of the enticing sauce left me wanting more depth, complexity, and fewer ingredients than the bottled pepper and rooster sauces.  One day I took a deep breath and mixed some roughly-chopped deep red bell peppers with equal weight in hot peppers, salt and a generous amount of garlic in a quart Mason jar with a fermentation lid, and observed eagerly for 10 days.  On day 11, I blended the ferment into a smooth sauce.  It still makes me smile.  It was aesthetically beautiful, enticing and boldly delicious in its complexity.  My recipe evolved a bit from this point, in ways that further its flavor profile.

I have always enjoyed foods that have a bit of attitude; that greet my palate and senses in surprisingly satisfying and intriguing ways.  About the time I settled into the groove of my sriracha reaching its flavor profile peak, I began learning about water seal fermentation crocks.  I was again curious about reported depth and complexity in ferments that were housed in these types of vessels due to the breathability of the clay.  I also liked the idea of making a gallon at a time.  I searched carefully.  I wanted a vessel I would find welcoming to see every day and that had a feeling of earthy sacredness.  I found Hadar’s stunning crocks and placed my order.  This decision shifted in remarkable ways, my experience of both the process and the outcome. I delighted in the auditory cues of fermentation and attuned to the varying rhythms of bubbly pops marking the ebb and flow of this miraculous process.  I accept the distinct possibility of my bias toward an elevated flavor outcome, influencing my experience.  I also accept my experience of a deeper level of complexity, and the feedback from loved ones, that this latest endeavor was the best yet.  As often as possible, I now use my water seal crock made by Hadar.  I even bought a second one.

It is an honor for me to share my recipe for one gallon of sriracha.  I encourage experimentation and hope for a delightful, satisfying outcome.

Sriracha

Ingredients
  

  • Approximately 2 ½ pounds sweet, firm red sweet peppers of choice
  • Approximately 2 ½ pounds cherry bomb or hot red peppers of choice
  • 1 or 2 large heads garlic peeled
  • 2 sweet apples of choice
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons fine sea salt 

Instructions
 

Process

  • Remove seeds and membrane of all or half of the hot peppers, depending on desired heat value.  Remove white membrane from any sweet peppers.  
  • Roughly chop (about ½ inch pieces) all the peppers, cleaned, seeded apple and garlic cloves.  Or use a food processor to roughly chop all.  
  • Firmly pack half the ingredients into jar or crock and sprinkle with ½ of the salt.  Pack remaining ingredients into vessel of choice and sprinkle remaining salt on top.  
  • If using a jar: Cover jar with fermentation lid, if using, or briefly burp every other day if using a regular airtight lid. 
  • If using a crock Follow instructions for water seal crock.  
  • Wait 10 to 14 days or up to a year, depending on room temperature, patience and desired flavor.  Blend all contents in a blender until they form a smooth sauce consistency.  Enjoy!
     

Notes

A combination of red sweet peppers imparts a fuller color and flavor.  Favorites of mine are red lipstick sweet peppers that are a deep red and shaped like closed lips.  Cherry bombs are a deep red, adding beautiful color and a bit of sweetness with their heat.  Jalapeños, Fresno's or other hot peppers can also be used.  
To make a quart jar size of sriracha:  1 Pound of each, sweet and hot peppers 3~4 cloves garlic, 2 teaspoons salt and ½ apple.