Sriracha sauce (Recipe: Asian broccoli slaw)
When I open the refrigerator, I need to see certain things in the shelves in the door, in order to know that the universe is in order.
I need to see Dijon mustard and yellow ball-park mustard, and several types of soy sauce, and oyster sauce, and chili paste with garlic. I also need to see orange marmalade, tubes of tomato paste and harissa, and capers.
And there must be Sriracha sauce.
Sriracha (pronounced SIR-rotch-ah), created and manufactured in California by Huy Fong Foods, has been a fixture in my refrigerator door for at least twenty years. Though it's a recently exposed restaurant secret, the Thai-style hot sauce with the rooster on the bottle (the astrological sign of the inventor) found its way to the Chinatown markets I frequent in Boston, and then to my kitchen, years ago.
To make Sriracha, sun-ripened chile peppers and garlic, ground into a smooth paste, are seasoned with sugar, salt, a bit of distilled vinegar and natural preservatives; the resulting spicy hot, naturally-red, slightly garlicky, thick-but-squirtable sauce comes in a plastic bottle with a bright green cap. You can make your own or buy Sriracha in Asian markets, or in the Asian foods aisle of your local supermarket.
Stir a bit into pho or chicken soup, or mix it with mayonnaise to make a kicked-up sandwich spread. Use it for Buffalo wings, roasted Brussels sprouts, glazed scallops, or in barbecue sauce for chicken.
Sriracha will keep in the refrigerator for up to two years, but you will become addicted, as I have, and the bottle won't last anywhere near that long.
Asian broccoli slaw
Buy the packaged broccoli slaw at the supermarket, if you can find it. Mix up a large batch of the sauce and store it in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, in the refrigerator, for up to two weeks. Serves 4 as a side dish; add some shredded rotisserie chicken, and the salad becomes a perfect lunch or picnic dish.
*1 cup shredded broccoli stems, blanched and rinsed under cold water
*1 cup shredded carrot
*1 cup shredded red cabbage
(*or 1 12-oz bag prepared broccoli slaw)
1 small ripe pear, cut into long, thin strips
In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine all sauce ingredients and shake well. Taste, and adjust with more or less of any ingredient. Store in the refrigerator if making ahead.
Combine broccoli, carrot, cabbage (or broccoli slaw) and pear in a mixing bowl. Pour on the dressing, and toss well. Let sit at room temperature for up to one hour, or make up to six hours ahead and store in the refrigerator.