We’ve been a sriracha household ever since Nick first tasted sriracha one fateful night at the 24-hour pho place that used to be at Broadway and Cambie. After maple syrup, it may be my favourite condiment; in fact, when we make chicken and waffles, we use them both together. (This pretty accurately describes how we feel.)
While I don’t allow a liberal dousing of the stuff on my home-cooked dinners, we’ll happily splatter it all over any and all take-out, and it gets well used as an ingredient. It’s a marinade, a salad dressing, a replacement for ketchup, and essential to soups and sandwich fillings. It’s the secret and most important ingredient in our homemade Caesars (for my American friends, a Caesar is like a Bloody Mary but 100 times better because of Clamato, which is tomato juice with clam nectar. Come over sometime. I’ll show you.).
We like our rooster sauce.
We could have lived happily ever after, just pouring our favourite hot sauce on everything. When I discovered you could buy two giant bottles of it at Costco for $6, things started to really get spicy. Then, one day, our beloved friends Dan and Dennis were in Puerto Vallarta and couldn’t find the sriracha they needed (most of our friends are similarly sriracha-dependent). It was then that they happened upon Shark Sauce, the Mexican version of sriracha (pictured below), which turned out to be kind of amazing, and then they bought some for us too. Dan and Dennis improve our lives in many ways, but Shark Sauce has been perhaps the greatest of their gifts to us.
Mexican sriracha is everything that regular American sriracha is, but with more garlic flavour. So, it takes one thing we love and can’t stop eating (sriracha) and improves upon it with the other thing we love and can’t stop eating (garlic) to make a thing that is so wonderful we have to ration it because we’re never sure when we’re going to get more of it. You can only get it in Mexico. We are not likely to get to Mexico anytime soon. Dan and Dennis, recently returned from Mexico, confirmed via Facebook that they have Shark Sauce for us and I think I saw a tear of gratitude form in Nick’s left eye.
If you go to Mexico, get Shark Sauce. If someone you know is going to Mexico, get them to get you Shark Sauce. You can get it in Mexican Walmarts, apparently. I’m sure there are other places.
If you love sriracha like we love sriracha and put it on and in all the things, get The Sriracha Cookbook. Endorsed by David Chang (of Momofuku fame), The Sriracha Cookbook will help you incorporate more sriracha into your diet with recipes for every meal. (Maybe you already have sriracha with/on every meal. This will help you use sriracha in fancier, possibly more socially acceptable ways.) It’s not a long book, but the recipes are solid and the photos are nice; it would be a good gift for a bridal shower or a Secret Santa exchange.
I figure a cookbook is worthwhile when it contains at least three recipes that produce reliable results and that I’d make again and again. I’ve made at least three recipes from the book, and have made them multiple times, and people have not gagged when served the food I made from the book so I figure it’s a hit. It’s a fun book.
My favourite recipe from The Sriracha Cookbook is the tropical fruit salad. I think papayas taste like decaying bodies, and Nick thinks he’s allergic to pineapple, and we don’t eat bananas for complicated banana-hating reasons, so I use watermelon and a couple of avocados and it works very well. I also add more soy sauce because 1/4 teaspoon is much too conservative for my liking; adjust the seasonings to your taste. This dish is great for brunch, or as a side-dish for a summer meal; it also keeps well in the fridge (up to three days) so it’s kind of nice to make ahead for weekday lunches.
Tropical Fruit Salad with Sriracha-Sesame Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 tbsp. sriracha
- 2 tbsp. toasted white sesame seeds
- 1/4 tsp. soy sauce
- 1 medium pineapple, peeled, cored and cubed
- 2 mangoes, peeled, cored and cubed
- 1 papaya, peeled and cubed
- 2 kiwi fruits, peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced
- 1 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut, for garnish
- Fresh mint, cut into ribbons, for garnish
In a medium bowl, combine sesame oil, rice vinegar, honey, sriracha, sesame seeds, and soy sauce. Whisk everything together. Taste it. Does it need more of anything? Adjust seasonings to taste.
Put the fruit into a large mixing bowl. Pour the dressing over top, and toss gently, using your (clean) hands.
Serve with a garnish of flaked coconut and mint chiffonade.
And seriously. Get someone to get you Shark Sauce. It will change your life. I’m probably not exaggerating.