Maybe it's the sense of danger that reels you in at first. The crazy name, the wild picture slapped on the bottle. Before you know it, you're on for the ride, and the best ones leave you reduced to a sweaty and speechless mess. When it's finally over, you can't help but want more.
I'm talking about hot sauce, a virtual thrill ride for the taste buds. And for fans, nothing beats the feeling.
Ever consider making your own? Believe it or not, basic hot sauce is easy to make, and you can change up the flavors to suit your tastes.
For a basic sriracha, chop up a pound of fresh red chiles. Add the chiles to a blender with 2 to 4 cloves garlic, a little cane or rice vinegar, some salt and a touch of sugar.
Puree everything together in a food processor or blender to form a coarse paste, then simmer it in a saucepan for a few minutes to soften the flavors. Blend the sauce again, thinning as needed with water.
Finally, strain the sauce, pressing the solids through a strainer. Taste and tweak the flavors as desired. The sauce will keep, refrigerated, for a couple of weeks.
I did a story earlier this year on homemade hot sauce, if you'd like more information. And I also include recipes for a smoky four-pepper hot sauce and Caribbean jerk-style hot sauce. Try homemade and you may never go back to store brands again.
If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.