I think everyone who's into food gets into Sriracha at some point or another: it's got heat, tang and texture. After we come across it in noodle shops and more advanced eaters' pantries, we track it down: We judge our supermarkets based on whether they carry it (and its little sister, the chile-garlic sauce with the matching rooster on the bottle), we go looking for the big bottle in Asian markets, and we start squirting it on hot dogs, boiled peanuts, tuna salad and breakfast eggs. Once on a rafting trip in the Grand Canyon, a river guide disappeared into his boat and returned with rooster sauce -- it was right then that I decided I'd (literally) follow him off whatever (literal) cliff he suggested.
Sriracha was an Ingredient of the Year in both Bon Appetit and Saveur last year, but for my part I'd had this idea during, I think, Season 3 of "Top Chef." Faced with an ice cream challenge not unlike this one, Casey folded Sriracha into vanilla ice cream. "All the chefs I know put Sriracha on everything," she told guest judge Govind Armstrong, who agreed with the premise but puckered his face at the ice cream. It wasn't Casey's fault, though: Cold Stone Creamery sponsored the challenge, so she couldn't make it right. Freed from any such constraints, I can. When I told them what I'd done, my friends and family agreed: As soon as I got an ice cream maker, it was bound to happen.
Sriracha ice cream is intense: It's so spicy and tangy that your mouth wants something cold and creamy to cool it down. What you have: more Sriracha ice cream. Thus, an addiction is born.
I put it on sweet potato and pecan pies, or I eat it too fast, standing in front of the freezer.
Sriracha ice cream
- ¼ cup sriracha (This makes for a very spicy, savory ice cream. Use less if desired.)
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ pint whole milk
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ pint heavy whipping cream
- Slowly heat the first 5 ingredients in a double boiler until they reach a custard-like consistency at about 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from the heat, whisk in cream and vanilla, and cool completely in the refrigerator. Transfer mixture to the bowl of your ice cream maker and take it for a spin for about 20 minutes or until it looks like, well, soft-serve ice cream. If you like, you can eat it now, or chill it in the freezer for a few more hours to harden.