Survive the Sriracha Shortage by Making Your Own

Survive the Sriracha Shortage by Making Your Own
Photo: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

You may have heard that there is a sriracha shortage due to a chilli pepper shortage. Short of going out and buying every bottle that you can find (which many people have already done), one option for satisfying your urge is to make your own. Although it’s a fairly easy process, it does take time, as sriracha’s funky sweetness comes from the fact that it is fermented.

How to make your own sriracha

A good, basic recipe to try comes from Allrecipes, which calls for blending red jalapeño and serrano peppers along with water, garlic, brown sugar, and salt, which is then placed in a cool, dark place to allow for fermentation. During this time, the mixture will get bubbly, which is a sign that it’s working. Let the sauce ferment for three to five days, stirring and scraping down the sides once a day.

Once the mixture has had time to ferment, you add in white vinegar, blending until smooth, strain the mixture, and boil it for five to ten minutes. Once strained, funnel into bottles and store in the fridge.

When I made my own, the result was a very hot, flavorful sauce. The Allrecipes version suggests fermenting for three to five days, which is on the shorter side, with other recipes suggesting up to a week. Fermenting for a shorter period of time will result in a hotter sauce, as fermentation degrades capsaicin, with a sharp drop off in pungency observed at day five of fermentation.

You can also make your own sambal oelek and chilli garlic sauce, for which there is also a shortage.

How to use other chilies to make your own hot sauce

When I made a batch of sriracha, I had a hard time finding red jalapeño peppers, and could only find green serrano peppers. This is, after all, the entire reason for needing to make your own, as there is a shortage. However, the good news is that you can make hot sauces using whatever combination of peppers that you want. Although the result won’t be sriracha, it will still probably taste better than what you can buy at the store, which will soften the pain a little.

At its most basic, a fermented hot sauce is a mixture of hot peppers, salt, and water, which is allowed to ferment for a period of time, after which it gets blended into a puree. Depending on your taste buds, you can also add in sugar, garlic, or other seasonings, and vinegar is often added to further lower the pH and enhance shelf-stability. Given your own tastes and the availability of hot peppers, there is certain to be a recipe out there that works for you.

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