The Austin Chronicle

Quick Homemade Sriraja Sauce

August 22, 2014, Food

Makes about 3 cups

There are two versions of homemade Sriraja sauce: a fermented version that takes five or more days to finish, and a quick, unfermented version that's ready in 30 minutes. The main variable is the type of fresh, ripe, red chile you use. Thai yellow prik leuang chiles or the prik chee fah chile ("sky pointing" chile, Capsicum annuum acuminatum) are the most desirable options, but unless you grew them yourself, or there's a Thai farmer nearby, you'll need other choices. Red Thai chiles or red jalapeños are desirable by themselves (although difficult to locate), or they can be used in combination with ripe, red Fresno chiles.

2 pounds ripe red chiles (Thai, jalapeño, or Fresno, or a combination), washed

10 cloves garlic, chopped

½ cup cider- or rice vinegar

2 teaspoons sea salt, or a little more, to taste

2 teaspoons fish sauce, preferably Red Boat or Megachef

¼ cup palm sugar, grated (or light brown sugar)

1) Remove the stem, but not the green crown, of the chiles, and chop coarsely. Reserve.

2) In the bowl of a food processor, purée the chiles, garlic, vinegar, salt, and sugar. Reserve, and rinse the processor blade and bowl.

3) Place the chile mixture in a nonreactive saucepan over medium-low heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

4) Purée the sauce again to make a very smooth paste. Taste and adjust seasonings for salt, and for the desired balance between sugar and vinegar. Add a little water to thin, if desired. Place the purée into a very fine sieve over a nonreactive bowl, and using a rubber spatula, wooden spoon, or the edge of a large kitchen spoon, force the sauce and as much of the paste as possible through the sieve. Place in a glass bottle or jar and refrigerate, allowing a day for the flavors to fully develop. Should keep at least a month in the refrigerator, well-sealed.

Note: If you like the sauce more vinegary, like a rooster profile, use white vinegar. If you like a thicker sauce, simply reduce the sauce a little more when simmering. The absolute best and tastiest option is using the Thai yellow chile, prik leuang, which produces a brilliant golden-yellow sauce. Yellow Sriraja sauce is available in Thailand, but almost impossible to find here in the States.

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