I am sure we all know about sriracha sauce and just how amazing and versatile a hot sauce it can be in the kitchen.
Native to Thailand, sriracha sauce was introduced to the United States of America in the early 1980s and has since become the hot sauce of choice in many households.
In Thailand, sriracha sauce is mostly used as a sauce and is added to traditional Thai dishes such as pad Thai and the famous ramen. In the United States, it is mainly used as a condiment for burgers and can be mixed with ketchup or mayonnaise.
It can also be used as a dipping sauce particularly for eggs and sushi. The use of Sriracha is almost unlimited. Add it to your marinades, chicken, meatloaf, and soups.
Sriracha can also be added to a Bloody Mary cocktail to spice it up or other tomato-based drinks.
Sriracha’s main ingredient is red jalapeño peppers. It is without a doubt a lot harder to find the red jalapeno peppers in the grocery store than finding their green counterparts that are considered a staple in supermarkets and farmers' markets around the world.
The reason you will typically not find red jalapeño peppers is that they have a much longer growing cycle, thus are not as common as a whole.
Since red jalapeno peppers are one of the key ingredients in sriracha sauce, this explains why at times getting the sriracha sauce proves difficult. Other ingredients include distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar, salt, and preservatives.
There are many brands of Sriracha sauce but the Huy Fong’s Sriracha sauce produced in California is the most popular brand. It is often referred to as the “rooster sauce” because of the rooster on its label.
Worry not as there as several other products that though will not be exactly the same as using sriracha sauce, will give you a feel of it. These substitutes to sriracha sauce include sambal oelek, Tapatio, el Yucateco, Peri-Peri sauce, tabasco, crushed red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, Yuzu Kosho, Chiu chow chili oil, and of course sweet chili sauce.
Varieties of Sriracha Sauce
If you thought that sriracha comes as just a sauce, you are mistaken. In the United States, it comes as a sriracha mayonnaise, as a rub for marinades, combination with lemongrass, sriracha with onions, with extra garlic or without garlic.
And, believe it or not, you can even choose from different degrees of heat. The selection will usually range from mild which is more family-friendly to some really hot variations for the brave few.
Where to buy Sriracha Sauce
Sriracha sauce is so popular that you will most certainly find it at your local grocery store.
As an alternative, you can always elect to place an order for sriracha sauce online for convenience purposes and from vendors who may still have sriracha sauce in stock.
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Being one of the most popular hot sauces, it is highly unlikely that you would miss at your local grocery store.
However, if you find yourself in a situation where it vanishes from the shelves, and you had forgotten to restock it in your pantry or are just looking for a change there are some good substitutes that could work just as well as sriracha sauce.
Here are some of your best bets (I am sure you will thank me later for this);
1. Sambal Oelek
Without question, this is your best Sriracha alternative. Sambal Oelek, a traditional Indonesian chili paste, is made from a variety of chili peppers, vinegar, and some salt but can at times include shrimp paste, garlic, and ginger.
The consistency of sambal oelek is thicker (you can blend it with a little water to the consistency of your preference) than that of Sriracha sauce and it delivers a hot and peppery flavor.
It lacks the garlic undertones and mild sweetness in Sriracha sauce but has a distant vinegar savor to it. To make up for these seemingly present flavor issues, simply add a sprinkle of garlic powder and sugar and serve over your dish at the tail end of preparing it.
You can also easily make homemade sriracha sauce with red jalapeños. The downside to this is that it is not widely stocked as some of the hot sauces on this list. One tablespoon is almost the equivalent of just one small chopped jalapeño.
2. Tapatio Hot Sauce
Tapatio is one of the more readily available substitutes for sriracha sauce. It is made with red pepper, garlic, salt, acetic acid, some spices, and preservatives.
Tapatio has a distant citrusy flavor and tends to be spicier or hotter than Sriracha sauce. Not only does it compliment Mexican dishes quite well but also pairs well with Mediterranean cuisine and something as basic as fried eggs or tuna rolls.
In substituting, you would probably only need one third the amount of Tapatio that you would of Sriracha sauce.
3. El Yucateco Sauce
El yucateco is a Mexiacan hot sauce that comes in both red and green options. Their main ingredient is the very spicy habanero pepper which gives them a hot punch similar to Sriracha sauce.
To compensate for the onion powder in the sauce, add a little bit of garlic powder and if possible reduce the number of onions in your overall recipe.
If the heat is too much to bear it can be diluted with milk. I would advise you to try it out on some of your barbecued ribs in small portions of course.
4. Peri -Peri Hot Sauce
Also commonly known as “Piri-Piri “ or the African Bird’s Eye Chili. The peri-peri sauce is a red hot sauce of Portuguese origin with African roots where it grows in the wild.
Typically, it consists of crushed chilies, lemon, pepper, garlic, salt, onion, bay leaves, vinegar, and oil.
All these ingredients are readily available ingredients which makes it possible to make your own homemade peri-peri sauce. Its heat can be diluted by combining the peri-peri sauce and mayonnaise.
The peri-peri sauce is commonly used on chicken and fish but can be used on different dishes.
5. Tabasco Sauce
One of the originals and firsts in the hot sauce market, tabasco sauce is slightly hotter than Sriracha sauce. In contrast to Sriracha sauce, it does not contain any traces of garlic or sugar.
You can definitely add a dash of garlic powder and sugar at home to make it more like Sriracha sauce.
Tabasco sauce ought to be used with a little bit of extra caution as it contains more vinegar that might be overpowering with lightly flavored dishes and in some instances make the food sour.
And, I know we are not about wasting food and throwing it out when it is perfectly okay.
6. Crushed red pepper flakes and cayenne powder
These two ingredients are definitely the most available alternatives on this list of substitutes to sriracha sauce. In fact, one of them is probably in your pantry right this very moment.
Am I right? Crushed red pepper flakes and cayenne powder are definitely not sauces but work just as well as substitutes as they will deliver the Sriracha sauce heat to your dishes and recipes.
What else can be used other than the above-mentioned substitutes?
Yuzu Kosho -this quite a unique Japanese paste that comes as a combination of the yuzu citrus fruit, a few chili peppers, and some salt.
It is a rather powerful and distinctive flavor that compliments anything and everything from miso soup, sashimi, and even to a grilled piece of meat or better yet, cookies.
Chiu Chow Chili Oil - whether this sauce or oil is used as a form of a cooking base for meats and vegetables or as a spicy dip for egg rolls and dumplings, it is sure to add that hot punch of sriracha sauce to your dish.
Sweet Chilli Sauce - whereas Sriracha sauce is loaded with heat, sweet chili sauce is considerably less of chili and has more of a sweet garlic taste to it. Sweet chili sauce pairs well with just about anything. Right from noodles, fried rice to soups, broths, and stews.
When sweet chili sauce is mixed with vinegar, lemon juice, a little bit of honey, and garlic it can be used as marinade or salad dressing. To add color and flavor for a little bit of fun and adventure, you can pour it over mixed steamed vegetables.
Sriracha has a distinctive flavor and not all hot sauces would automatically work as an alternative.
However, there are a few chef tricks that could bring their taste an inch or two closer to that of Sriracha. To sweeten up a Sriracha substitute add a little sugar to your sauce.
If your substitute doesn’t contain vinegar, add a little vinegar for the zing. Also always keep in mind that some of the sauces are hotter than Sriracha and a little would go a long way. You can later adjust as required.
So, when you run out or can’t find Sriracha don't panic. You can diversify your dish with some of the options listed above.