Most people are familiar with Tabasco Sauce and Pete’s Hot Sauce (http://www.texaspete.comPete’s) but in recent years Sriracha sauce has become popular among foodies in the US. I was first introduced to it about 20 years ago while traveling through Thailand and it was love at first taste. Of course, having lived in Indonesia, I was quite familiar with Sambal (the Indonesian Hot Sauce) but Sriracha seems to be more versatile. Even though it has a distinct Asian flavor it blends with non-Asian flavors very well and that is why so many foodies have been experimenting with it lately. Some time back I even heard a whole piece on NPR dedicated to Sriracha (http://www.npr.org/2011/09/06/140220680/confessions-of-a-sriracha-fanatic).
I suppose my penchant for spice and Sriracha must have permeated into my gene structure because both my kids seem to have inherited this love for all things Sriracha! My daughter went to college two years ago and she told me that she had taken to dousing generous amounts of Sriracha on bland dorm food to perk it up. Her favorite is Mac and Cheese with Sriracha (I have yet to try that combination). And about six months ago, in an unusual display of affection for his mom, my 18 year old son bought me a no-occasion gift of “The Sriracha Cookbook” (http://blog.thesrirachacookbook.com/). He was very pleased with this find at an Urban Outfitters outlet in Georgetown and the two of us spent hours poring over the pictures and planning which recipes we were going to try. Unfortunately, it was an incredibly busy summer and none of our plans of experimentation with Sriracha materialized before he left for college this year. But over this past long weekend, I decided to try something different for a quiet lunch with my husband and this is how this combination of recipes came into being. These were both very simple dishes that I put together with whatever I had in the refrigerator and they came out really good as a combination – for sure this is going to be the menu for my next dinner party.
Ingredients for the Shrimp
1. ½ lb of shelled deveined large shrimps.
2. 2-3 tablespoons of sundried tomatoes in olive oil (I got a jar from Trader Joe’s)
3. 3-4 tablespoons of mixed olives
4. A pinch of saffron
5. 2 teaspoons of sugar
6. Salt and black pepper to taste
7. 1-2 tablespoons if Sriracha (depending on how spicy you want it)
8. Juice of ½ a fresh lemon
9. 8-10 fresh sage leaves
10. 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
11. ½ cup of jarred marinara sauce
12. 3 cloves of fresh garlic
13. 2 teaspoons of sweet smoked paprika
Ingredients for the Rice
14. One cup of basmati rice
15. One small green bell pepper
16. ½ red bell pepper
17. ½ yellow bell pepper
18. ½ cup of jarred marinara sauce
19. A pinch of saffron
20. 1 small onion
21. 3-4 ounces of dry cured chorizo sausage or dry cured salami
22. 3 tablespoons of sundried tomatoes in olive oil
23. 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
24. 1 tablespoon (or less if you don’t want it too spicy) of Sriracha sauce.
Directions for cooking the Sriracha Shrimp :
1. In a small food processor place the three cloves of peeled garlic, the sundried tomatoes, lemon juice and Sriracha sauce and blend them to a coarse consistency to make the marinade.
2. To this marinade, add some extra virgin olive oil, paprika powder, salt and pepper and then add the uncooked shrimp to it. Mix the shrimp in the marinade and either you can set it aside (for an hour or so in the refrigerator) or you can proceed to cook the shrimp right away.
5. When the oil is hot, place the sage leaves in the hot oil for a minute or two and fry the, quickly and then remove them and place them on a dry paper towel. You can use these sage leaves as a garnish later but for now the olive oil is sage flavor and ready for cooking the shrimp.
6. Add the marinated shrimp to the hot oil and stir constantly. Shrimp cooks very fast and therefore needs constant stirring (over cooked shrimp is chewy and rubbery).
7. Also add the tomato sauce, mixed olives, pinch of saffron, sugar and stir.
Recipe for Sriracha Rice:
1. Wash the basmati rice in cold water and set them aside.
8. Add the sundried tomatoes and stir.
9. Add the rinsed rice and stir thoroughly so that all the grains of rice get coated with oil and start to cook a little. This will only take a minute or so – no more than that.
10. While the rice is cooking, in a separate container mix the ½ cup marinara sauce and another one and half cups of cold water and pour this mixture over the rice.
11. Stir the content of the pot and then add a pinch of saffron and cover the pot with a lid and let the rice cook on low heat.
12. Gently stir the rice after every 3-4 minutes and the cover with the lid.
13. In about 10-12 minutes the rice would be cooked. Fluff it up with a fork and serve it with the shrimp on the side and the fried sage leaves as garnish on top.