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Everything You Need to Know About Sriracha

Sriracha is a spicy sauce containing various taste-enhancing ingredients like chilli peppers, sugar, distilled vinegar, garlic, and salt. It is a bright red condiment that originated from Sri Racha in Thailand. A woman named Thanom Chakkapak invented the recipe for the famous Sriracha sauce in Thailand. Originally it was only for her friends and family, but later it was commercially spread by the name “sriraja panich”. Traditionally, this sauce version was a bit tangier and runnier than what became so popular and was later called “sriracha”. The sriracha that gained popularity has a thicker texture and is spicier than the original recipe.

Today, sriracha sauce can be found in grocery stores and is popular among a large population, especially in the United States. It is among the spiciest condiments on the market. It gives a fantastic flavour when combined with eggs, rice, and soups. Multiple varieties of this sauce are available, and the consistencies can differ. It is one of the versatile forms of hot sauce, ideal as a dressing or dipping sauce. 

Sriracha typically comes from combining red jalapeno-hybrid chilli peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt. On the Scoville scale, sriracha sauce measures 2,200. Although it isn’t as hot as some may expect, sriracha is still a hot sauce because the ingredients give it a slight kick. Manufacturers will list the ingredients present in their version of sriracha sauce. The Huy Fong brand makes one of the most recognised sriracha, and the sauce contains chilli, garlic, sugar, salt, distilled vinegar, potassium sorbate, xanthan gum, and sodium bisulfate. The consistency of the sauce also differs between brands. Some brands will create thick consistency sriracha, and others will make one that is thinner and more like a liquid.

Nutritional Profile of Sriracha

According to USDA, here’s the nutritional profile for a one-teaspoon serving of classic Tuong Ot sriracha sauce. 

Calories: 4.9 kcalProtein: 0.115 gCarbohydrates: 0.986 gFat: 0.056 gFibre: 0.136 gSodium: 95.5 mgPotassium: 21.1 mgCalcium: 1.24 mgVitamin C: 3.59 mg

The above nutritional information shows that sriracha does not bring much nutritional value to your foods. Because people usually take sriracha in small amounts, between 1 and 3 teaspoons at a time, there is no significant contribution of nutrients. Be careful and read the label, as the calories and vitamins in a one-teaspoon serving of sriracha vary depending on the brand. 

Is Sriracha Healthy?

Sauces are not healthier foods which give substantial health benefits. Nonetheless, some people feel better after having spicy sauces like sriracha. The burning sensation and the subsequent release of endorphins can leave you more satisfied. 

While sriracha sauce is not healthy food, some ingredients offer potential health benefits. Most of these benefits come down to the capsaicin in the chilli peppers. For example, a study says capsaicin is a multi-functional ingredient with health-promoting functions. However, capsaicin serves better benefits in its direct form than as a component in sriracha or other hot sauces. Moreover, eating health-promoting amounts of capsaicin from sriracha alone is unlikely. The better option is to pair sriracha with other nutrient-dense foods. 

The Downsides of Sriracha

It’s safe to use sriracha sauce in small amounts. However, the sugar does add up, especially since most people don’t realise it contains sugar and takes sriracha sauce frequently. So if you’re a daily sriracha user, it can potentially impact your blood sugar levels. There are various situations and conditions where you must avoid the consumption of the sauce. These conditions are less generic and more specific. Before consuming anything, you should be well aware of your own body, including allergies and adverse effects it might have on your system.

On a general note, there are no specific side effects. Therefore, it is safe for most of the population. But below are a few conditions in which you should avoid consumption as much as possible.

Pregnant Women

A woman carrying a baby needs to check on what she eats, as it is not just her health but also the child’s health depends on it. Therefore, for all pregnant women, it is advisable to avoid the consumption of sriracha sauce. There is a large amount of chilli pepper in the sauce, which might create a lot of discomforts. It is natural to crave hot sauces during pregnancy, but they also contain additives and preservatives. In addition, sriracha can flare up acidity if the pregnant woman is already prone to it.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

If you have gastroesophageal reflux disease, it is best to avoid eating sriracha sauce. All the ingredients in the sauce, from hot chilli peppers to garlic, produce heat inside the stomach. And if you eat it regardless, it will cause a lot of discomfort and might worsen your condition.

Sriracha sauce is highly acidic. As a result, it can trigger acid reflux or acidity. Moreover, a study shows that red chilli in hot sauces like sriracha causes upper gastrointestinal symptoms in gastroesophageal reflux disease patients. 

During Stomach or Intestinal Ulcers

An ulcer is a disease caused by the extremely high pH in the stomach or intestines. You will experience burning pain after meals if you suffer from an ulcer. Spicy food can worsen the condition and make the pain stronger. Therefore, if you are suffering from an ulcer, you must avoid the consumption of not just sriracha sauce but every spicy food you eat. The acidity from sriracha worsens ulcers as it brings about many issues like sharp pain in the abdomen. 

Some other reported side effects of sriracha sauce are:

Strong Odour

A study shows that the strong odour from sriracha sauce negatively impacted the quality of life and caused health problems. In addition, the results show that the sauce’s chilli odour leads to irritation in the throat, eyes, and sinus area. Furthermore, children with asthma must be cautious as sriracha can trigger cough and heartburn. 

Fluid Retention

The first and foremost downside of sriracha is the high level of sodium. One teaspoon of sriracha sauce contains around 95 milligrams of sodium. A study shows that excess dietary salt or sodium intake can pave the way for fluid retention, and it could bring about electrolyte imbalance. In addition, high sodium intake can also increase the chances of hypertension. 

Homemade Sriracha Recipe

We might not realise it, but it makes a lot of difference when you make any food item at your home. It is always a healthier option. It is more fresh and healthy and also contains no preservatives. 

Undoubtedly, buying a pack of sauce from the store seems more accessible than making it at home. But if you do have time, try this recipe at home. It is easy to make, and you can see the difference when you start eating homemade recipes.

Serves: 1 cup

Total Preparation time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

Fresh red chiles (such as serrano, jalapeño, or red Fresno): 2 cupsGarlic cloves: 1/2 cupWhite vinegar: 1/2 cupBrown sugar: 3 tbspKosher salt: 3/4 tspWarm water: 4 to 7 tbsp

Method of Preparation

Combine red chillies, garlic, vinegar, brown sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low until tender, stirring occasionally.Transfer the mixture and water to a blender. Process until smooth. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 7 days or serve immediately. 

Ways to Use Sriracha

The heat from sriracha is not overpowering. Therefore, it goes well with most foods. Like ketchup, it makes a great dipping sauce for your favourite snacks. Another option is to mix sriracha with another sauce. For example, you can enhance the taste of other bland sauces. Moreover, it is not going to overpower the carrier sauce. On the contrary, it complements the flavour of creamy condiments like sour cream and mayonnaise.

Some other ways to use sriracha sauce are as follows:

Marinades

Sriracha makes an excellent marinade by mixing it with garlic cloves and another sauce of your choice and then using it when cooking meat. However, avoid excess as it can generate strong fumes while cooking.

Soup

In restaurants in Vietnam, sriracha in soups gives an added kick. You can drizzle 1 to 2 teaspoons on chicken and ramen soups.

Eggs

Eggs and sriracha are a perfect combination. The sauces go well with scrambled, fried, or poached eggs. It adds a bearable amount of heat and complements the flavours of the eggs. 

Conclusion

Sriracha sauce is a spicy and salty sauce that originated in Thailand. The sauce typically contains chilli peppers, sugar, distilled vinegar, garlic, and salt. The famous version of the sriracha sauce is spicier than the original version first made and sold in Thailand. You can add it to dishes like chicken, meat, eggs, and salad. It brings a delicious flavour to the food. However, sauces, in general, are not healthy condiments. There are certain situations where you should avoid the consumption of sriracha sauce. For example, it might adversely affect your body if you are pregnant, suffer gastroesophageal reflux disease, or have stomach or intestinal ulcers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Is sriracha Thai or Vietnamese?

A. Sriracha is a fiery chilli sauce introduced by David Tran, a Vietnamese refugee who came to the United States. But the origin of the sriracha dates way back to Thailand. A woman named Thanom Chakkapak invented the recipe for the famous Sriracha sauce in Thailand. She began by sharing the sauce with her friends and family before producing it on a larger scale. Moreover, the traditional version has a sweeter taste than other varieties. 

Q. What does sriracha taste like?

A. Sriracha has a mixed flavour. It has a tangy-sweet taste with a spicy kick to it. The spice in the sriracha sauce is not very prominent. Therefore, it provides a perfect blend to your palette and makes the dish more delicious by enhancing the flavour. Moreover, the taste of sriracha sauce can vary depending on the ingredients used. 

Q. What is sriracha made from?

A. Sriracha has lesser yet powerful ingredients that contribute to taste enhancement. The sriracha sauce contains chilli peppers, garlic, vinegar, salt, and sugar. In addition, some brands will use potassium sorbate, xanthan gum, and sodium bisulfate.

Q. What can I substitute sriracha with?

A. There are a lot of substitutes available in the market for sriracha sauce. These substitutes include Sambal Oelek, Peri-Peri Sauce, Sweet Chilli Sauce, Tabasco Hot Sauce, Louisiana Hot Sauce, and Chipotle Ketchup. The Sambal Oelek is the nearest replica of the sriracha sauce.

Q. Is Sriracha the same as Tabasco?

A. No, sriracha and tabasco are two different sauces with different ingredients and tastes. However, tabasco is a substitute for the sriracha sauce. Sriracha sauce has ingredients like garlic and sugar, making it more ketchup-like, but tabasco only contains distilled vinegar, red pepper, and salt.

Q. What do you use sriracha for?

A. Sriracha sauce is a multi-purpose hot sauce. The ingredients in the sauce include red chilli peppers, garlic, vinegar, salt, and sugar. The sauce is hot and tangy with a bit of sweet flavour from the sugar, differentiating it from the variety of hot sauces. Sriracha can be used as a dipping sauce by itself. You can enjoy the taste by putting the sriracha sauce in your favourite dishes and also combine it with mayonnaise or sour cream and make a milder dip sauce for your food. You can add it to your eggs or have it with meat or chicken.

Q. Does sriracha need to be refrigerated?

A. There is no need to refrigerate the sriracha sauce as you can store it in a dark and cool place. Also, most bottled sauces can go for about 6-8 months without refrigeration. Although, if you are making the homemade recipe, you should keep it under refrigeration. The products you buy contain preservatives that keep them fresh for a longer duration, but they are free of any chemicals when making them at home. So it becomes crucial that you refrigerate the homemade sauce.

Q. Is Sriracha sauce healthy?

A. Sriracha is not as healthy as you think it is. When you look at it, the sweet and salty combination in sriracha sauce is dangerously addictive with no significant nutritional value. Moreover, the dietary facts claim accounts for one teaspoon of the sauce, which doesn’t make the sauce a healthier option instead of whole foods.

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