Randy Clemens’ Twitter page assures that he is “not affiliated with Huy
Fong Foods—just a huge fan!” But he is more than just a fan of the fiery condiment; Clemens has become somewhat of a connoisseur. With a culinary degree and a gift for writing recipes in a no-fuss style dabbled with humor and anecdotes, he is someone we can certainly learn from.
Although some dishes, like the Turned-Up Tuna Tartare and Sriracha Ceviche are more advanced, the majority of the recipes fall under spicy stoner food—and I mean this in the best way possible. The dishes from this book are definitely the kind of food to accompany a cold beer—which makes sense, because Clemens is also an established beer writer. Sriracha and SPAM Fried Rice, Bacon Sriracha Cornbread, and of course, The Ultimate Sriracha Burger, are all dishes that a drunk might pull together—an extremely talented drunk person who knows his flavor combinations.
What stands out:
Besides the fantastic idea for the book itself, what’s unique is that Clemens has really done his research. This is evidenced by a foreword about the roots of authentic Thai Sriracha, as well as background information on the man who brought it to the United States, David Tran. Along with the recipes, Leo Gong’s photography is spectacular; causing cravings for Cheddar-Sriracha Swirl Bread you didn’t even know you had. Obviously, Clemens also deserves points for creativity—in the back of the book is an unexpected dessert section. Can’t say I saw that coming.
What’s not so great:
While there are some healthy recipes, there are a mere three salad and vegetable dishes in the entire book. It would have been interesting to see more experimentation in that department, but it’s certainly not a deal breaker.
This book, like the condiment, is addicting and inspiring. It’s great to see how far this sauce can really go flavor-wise and cuisine-wise. In fact, Clemens inspired me to make my own Sriracha dish:
Sriracha Sunset Soup
Like Clemens’ recipes, the amount of heat in this dish can be varied to the desire of its eaters. A mixture of oranges, carrots and garlic; this soup takes on the golden hue of the sun setting, as well as its heat. Feel free to top with any protein after cooking (a fried or poached egg might be tasty) or simply a handful of chopped cilantro.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large cloves of garlic
- 4 large carrots
- 2 tablespoons of Sriracha hot sauce
- 4 tablespoons of grated or dried ginger, fresh is preferable
- 3 cups of low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup of orange juice
- 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice (Meyer is great if you can find it)
- 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon of low sodium soy sauce
- 3 scallions
- Salt, freshly ground pepper, and more Sriracha to taste
Peel the carrots and cut into coins, about one inch thick. Mince the garlic. Grate the ginger and slice your scallions. Bring the olive oil to medium heat in a medium saucepan. When the oil is hot, add garlic and sauté until soft, about two minutes. Add the carrots, Sriracha, 3 tablespoons of the grated ginger, broth and juice. Bring to a boil. After the mixture comes to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cover half way. Cook until the carrots are tender, about 25 minutes. Blend mixture with an immersion blender to desired consistency (alternatively, you could let the soup cool and mix in a regular blender). After the soup is blended, add the lemon juice, sesame oil, soy sauce and scallions. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt, freshly ground pepper, and of course, more Sriracha.