Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The slow burn, with spicy Sriracha chicken.


OK. It's about time we talk about Sriracha. I've mentioned it in passing here before, suggesting you add it to some kale and eggs, or sneaking a blurry image of it into a photo of fried rice. But we've never had a real discussion about it. The kind where I come out and tell you that I might have a problem.

I've never had a high tolerance for spicy foods, or any tolerance for that matter. Mild has always been my heat level of choice. Are those two little hot peppers next to that menu item? No, thank you. That recipe calls for jalapenos? I'll just skip that step. Spicy foods were just too painful to my taste buds to fully enjoy. Most of them still are. Hot peppers that sting my mouth at the first bite are just too much. But then in came Tabasco, with its vinegary kick and slow, tangy burn. I like the slow burn. I could put just a drop of Tabasco on a pork rind and feel the slightest tingle of flavor without stinging my tongue. A drop turned into two; two turned into a healthy shake.



I should also tell you that Murdo is obsessed with hot sauce. There are some foods that I think he just uses as a vessel for hot sauce and nothing more. I've never seen him not eat something because it was too hot. When he discovered Sriracha sometime last year, I put a small squirt on a bite of chicken, just to try it. Too much. I don't know what it was that made me keep eating it -- sheer determination to strengthen my taste buds, I suppose -- but eventually, I was putting Sriracha on everything. Lately, a favorite snack has been Lay's potato chips with Sriracha. Crackers work, too. I can't eat a banh mi without it, and I can't believe I went so long before adding it to ramen. A couple of months ago, when I decided Sriracha is great on meatloaf, I knew there was no turning back.



And now, there is this Sriracha chicken. The first time I made it, I followed the recipe exactly, and can you believe it? It wasn't spicy enough for me. I've since tweaked it so that Murdo says it's almost too hot, which is to say, it's just right. To give you a good idea of its heat level, think of a four out of five hot peppers on a Chinese restaurant menu. Adding actual hot peppers to the dish would probably give it a full five. The hoisin sauce and ketchup add a tangy sweetness to the sauce, and the ginger is absolutely key.

I haven't quite expanded past hot sauces, but I feel like I just woke up a whole new set of taste buds and shoved them into a room full of foods I could never eat before. We're ready.



Sriracha Chicken (adapted from Cooking Light)
The original recipe calls for boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but I've found that thighs are much more tender and flavorful. This makes enough sauce for a little bit more than 1 pound of chicken.

For the sauce:
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons Sriracha hot sauce

For the chicken:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium onion, sliced thin into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
3-4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sliced into 1-inch-thick slices

For serving:
cooked white or brown rice

Make the sauce by combining hoisin, ketchup and Sriracha in a small bowl. Adjust to taste. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, ginger and garlic, and cook until just tender and fragrant, about 3 to 4 minutes or so. Add chicken to the pan and let brown on one side, about 5 to 7 minutes. Turn chicken over and cook until done. Stir in sauce and toss to coat, letting the mixture thicken for a few minutes more.

Serve over rice. Makes about 4 servings.

19 comments:

  1. Welcome to the wonderful world of spice. I knew I was in for it when I started adding sriracha to tahini to make sauces. The thing is, I've never looked back. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. This sounds delicious and good call on the chicken thighs. My Mom says she craved spicy food while pregnant with me and when I was a kid, she always had spicier salsa on hand. Growing up with it, I never minded it. My husband, too, is a hot sauce maniac and I find myself putting sriracha or cholula on lots of things these days. I like the slow burnt, too :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never had spicy foods growing up. But when I have kids, I'll definitely be introducing them to spice as soon as possible!

      Delete
  3. i grew up with sriracha. i've always been a fan of spicy food, tho i have slowed down some as of late.... i always did say soy sauce or sriracha will save a dish..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so true that Sriracha makes everything better. It's like bacon. Hmmm ... sriracha on bacon? Now that sounds good! ;)

      Delete
  4. JAX! I'm so proud of you! And, that sure looks yummy :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. You basically just described my foray into the world of hot sauce. We are the same.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you put sriracha on meatloaf, too? thank goodness! :)

      Delete
  6. I made this last night for dinner, and we loved it. Even my 11 year old daughter loved the sauce! Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ahh that is awesome! So glad you liked it and tried it! It's a new regular around these parts.

      Delete
  7. Ok, saved this recipe to try. Zach loves this hot sauce, although he never calls it Siracha. He just calls it "rooster sauce". :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, let me know what you think! We never call it Rooster Sauce, but I think I like that name better...

      Delete
  8. We tried this recipe finally! The only thing I left out was the ginger because Zach really doesn't like it at all. I also reduced the amount of Sriracha to 1 1/2 tablespoons and it was plenty spicy enough for us. Delicious! We're putting this recipe into our "rotation" now :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay! This is on our menu for this week, too. :)

      Delete
  9. loved this recipe! After my first helping I decided to add some peanut butter and instantly I had thai food :)
    Also love the blog!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Peanut butter! Brilliant. My husband is not a huge pb fan but that sounds so good! Thanks for your sweet comment. :)

      Delete
  10. Love sriracha. Although everyone around here calls it kawk sauce. And yes you emphasize the "aw" lol

    ReplyDelete