The possibility of the Sriracha factory in Irwindale, CA being shut down was one of the biggest food stories of 2013. Huy Fong Foods was almost forced to close the plant due to complaints about the factory's smell, but luckily the brand emerged triumphant.
Then, a new state regulation caused a shortage in late-2013 anyway by forcing Huy Fong Foods to hold all product for 30 days before shipping to ensure there were no pathogens in the bottles. This delay had forced retail stores and restaurants that carried the sauce to tell customers they'd have to wait longer to get their hands on a bottle of the red stuff.
Luckily, everything seems to be fine now with it plentifully stocked on grocery store shelves. But what if it ever happens again? In order to get your hot sauce fix, you'll have to learn how to make your own as a backup plan, and you'd be surprised to know it's actually pretty easy.
There are several different recipes out there for homemade versions, but no matter which one you choose, you'll need a few of the same base ingredients:
- chile peppers—red or a mix of red and green (jalapeños, serranos, etc.)
- vinegar—rice vinegar, cane vinegar, or even plain white vinegar
- sweetener—brown sugar or palm sugar
- salt—smoked sea salt, regular kosher salt, or a mix of the two
You can substitute or change ingredients based on your own personal taste (or just what you already have in your kitchen cabinets). You'll need a food processor to grind the peppers into a paste, then simmer it for a few minutes and strain to get rid of the larger chunks and seeds.
If you're looking for a quick and dirty version, the LA Times recipe takes about half an hour to throw together. But if you want a more authentic Sriracha taste, fermentation is the key. After bottling your sauce, put a lid on it and let it sit for 5 to 7 days, stirring once a day. Check out the recipe on Food 52 for more details.