Cooking| Sriracha Style Sweet-Red Chili Dipping Sauce … some like it hot!

“The time has come the walrus said to talk of other things,
of sauce and chips and sealing jars,
red chilies and their sting!”

Sriracha style Sweet-Chili Dipping SauceIt’s the end of a cold blistery winter on the plains of North India, and now is the best part of the year. Spring is in the air, albeit for just a clutch of days, and is a celebration of flower beds bursting with colour, birds, butterflies, vibrant fresh produce, making the atmosphere ideal for all things creative. This is the time to make the most of the few good days before the searing summer heat descends on us. Spring in North IndiaThe bazaars are bursting with farm fresh vegetables and the overladen baskets of ripe red tomatoes {prices at ridiculous as Rs 4 a kilo in Hyderabad, 1$=Rs44}, bell peppers and red chilies tempt you to do something with them. For long I’ve wanted to make a Sriracha  style sauce posted on White on Rice’s beautiful blog. Have searched high and low for tiny hot Thai red chillies, but  it’s proved futile as they remain elusive here … Then one day, to my rescue came my knight in shining armour – as always, good old Twitter! Red chili peppersA tweet for ‘an alternative to Thai red chilies’ had the super talented & lovely Leela @ She Simmers suggest I could use red jalapeños. Now why did I never think of that? A quick check of the red chilies at the local vendor gave me hope, lots of it. Cross checking with a few vendors I was able to confirm that the heat element in the local red chili peppers is far greater than that in the green ones. I was soon back armed with 250gms of the prettiest red chilies priced at a ridiculous Rs 15 {30cents}.Red chili peppersThis post is written with Sana in mind, a sweet reader of my blog, who writes to me often for advice, with feedback, with appreciation and makes me believe that I have made a difference to her culinary happiness. She asked me the other day if I could post something with the local red chilies that are flooding the market, something other than red chili pickle she asked! This dipping sauce is for her, and she’s offered to send me her MILs stuffed red chili pickle recipe. Who would ever imagine that life can be so fulfilling & delicious. Who was to know that a few red chilies can make a difference!!Sriracha style Sweet-Chili Dipping SauceIMHO, you can live with Sriracha, but you can’t live without it!! I had  longed to make this delicious dipping sauce, a sauce which works well with seafood of course, but also beautifully with other batter fried foods, Indian pakoras/fritters, batter fried onion rings {my son’s fave}, olive oil crackers {the daughters fave}, fried fish/chicken, buttermilk breaded chicken, to give mayonnaise or a marinade a chili kick, in a sandwich, with burgers, lavished in a chicken/cottage cheese roll. It offers Asian fusion at its best!! Though an Asian sauce, it works beautifully with most cuisines; after all what’s not to love about chili-garlic-sweet? Did I forget French fries with sweet chili spiked tomato sauce?Sriracha style Sweet-Chili Dipping SauceWith thanks to Todd & Diane for the several inspired posts of Asian foods and sauces, I stopped on the recipe page of sweet chili dipping sauce in my Thermomix recipe book. With basic ingredients that can be found on shelves in every home, this is a great accompaniment to spice up your platter. Use the recipe as a guide and play around with quantities to suit your palette.

Sriracha is the name for a Thai hot sauce named after the coastal city of Si Racha, in the Chonburi Province of central Thailand, where it was first produced for dishes served at local seafood restaurants. It is a paste of chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt. Sriracha is a common condiment in many Asian restaurants and increasingly found in American and European homes. Sriracha style Sweet-Chili Dipping SauceTraditional Thai Sriracha tends to be tangier, sweeter, and thicker in texture (higher viscosity) than non-Thai. In Thailand, Sriracha is frequently used as a dipping sauce.

Keep the seeds in if you like it hot, or deseed the red chili peppers to make the sauce milder. Taste as you go seems to be the mantra as with most sauces. I’ve made this a couple of times. Sriracha style Sweet-Chili Dipping SauceThe first time I found it to be a little runny, so I thickened it with some cornflour mixed in water, and cooked it till it got to the right consistency. Not sure if this was the right or the purists way of doing it, but it worked fine for me. The next time I just simmered it over low heat till it looked right. I do love the pretty colour it has, vibrant and exciting.

Sriracha style Sweet-Chili Dipping Sauce

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Baking | RUSTIC GARLIC LOAVES for World Bread Day – Dough from Mark Bittman

“Talk of joy: there may be things better than beef stew and baked potatoes and home-made bread—there may be.”
David Grayson

When you have friends who charm you into posting for World Bread Day in the most enticing manner, then how can you possibly escape? Got onto twitter after ages this evening to find Nics tweet about Pumpkin Bread for ‘World Bread Day’. Yikes, was it the 16th already? Dang, missed the date completely even though I had so many breads sitting waiting to get posted.

Life has been a tizzy of late, and I am lagging behind! The transfer to WP has complicated time-lines even more, but  a shove in the right direction was all I needed from these exuberant ladies, so here I am.

Cherrapeno: @vindee Post, post, post!!!!!
lifesafeast: @vindee come on, girl, you have time! I wrote mine this morning :-)

World Bread Day is hosted every year on the 16th of October by the wonderful and talented bread baking gal Zorra at Kochtopf. It’s the 5th edition of World Bread Day this year. The original World Bread Day was an event created by UIB International Union of Bakers and Bakers-Confectioners, who want to provide an opportunity to talk about bread and bakers, to find out about their history, their importance as well as their future.In Zorra’s words … Let’s bake and talk about bread on this day again! Anybody is cordially invited to participate. Lots of people stopping by this blog that weren’t around last year, I encourage both old and new friends to join in. And please spread the word! The theme is open, just bake a bread with or without yeast, use sourdough, experiment with different flours, add some seeds… It’s up to you!

There is so much I love about this post that I’ve done on fast track, typing, pictures and all. I love blue and white, I love baking bread, I love garlic and I love rustic loaves. I made these Roasted Bell Pepper, Mushroom and Ricotta Calzones adapted minimally from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food. They were an instant hit, and I’ve made them several times since, with different fillings ranging from spinach and ricotta, to chipotle chicken, and they’ve been loved each time. I had the dough ready to make them yet again, when it was suddenly announced that we had company for lunch.

A quick change of plans and the calzones were turned to garlic bread to go with the rest of the menu. I took a chance but I just knew it would work out fine, and it thankfully did! Once baked, the loaves were sliced and slathered with garlic butter – wonderful! Disappeared in no time, and looked rustic beautiful too. I loved the crust it got, and think this is a nice plan ahead dough to make ,especially since it offers the option of a long rise in the fridge overnight! Always a pleasure to wake up to well risen, no need for ‘dough rise anxiety’! Of course you can give it the regular 2-3 hours rise too, but an overnight sleepover in the fridge offers guaranteed security! Just make sure your yeast is alive!

Rustic Garlic Loaves from Mark Bittman’s Pizza Dough
Makes 2 rustic loaves
Minimally adapted from Mark Bittman’s Pizza
3 cups all-purpose plus more as needed
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1 to 1¼ cups water
2 heads of garlic, roasted
4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
Method:
Squeeze out the roasted garlic into a bowl, and mash  with the tines of a fork.
Combine the yeast, flour, roasted garlic and 2 teaspoons salt in the container of a food processor. Turn the machine on and add 1 cup water and the 4 tablespoons of oil through the feed tube. {I did this in a large bowl, using the hand mixer with dough hooks}
Process for about 30 seconds, adding more water, a little at a time, until the mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch. If it is dry, add another tablespoon or two of water and process for another 10 seconds. {In the unlikely event that the mixture is too sticky, add flour, a tablespoon at a time.}
Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand a few seconds to form a smooth, round dough ball. Grease a bowl with the remaining olive oil, and place the dough, in it. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let rise in warm; draft-free area until the dough doubles in size, 1 to 2 hours. You can, cut this rising time short if you are in a hurry, or you can let the dough rise more slowly, in the refrigerator, for up to 6 or 8 hours. {I made the dough at night and let it rise in the fridge overnight… and how it rose!!}
About an hour before you plan to bake the bread, take out the dough and divide it into two.  Dust your work place with flour and shape the loaves to fit your baking tray. Line a baking sheet with parchment, gently transfer the loaves onto it, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for about an hour.
Preheat the oven to 250C.
Just before popping into the oven, give the loaves 4-5  slashes at an angle with a very sharp edged knife and pop into the oven. Place a small bowl of hot water at the bottom.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the loaves are nice and brown, and make a hollow sound when tapped on the underneath.
Note: I sliced them, gave them a generous brushing of garlic butter, and baked them at 180C for 15 minutes till golden and crisp.

{Garlic Butter: I mix butter with olive oil in a 4: 1 ratio, and add minced garlic, red chili flakes, dried oregano and salt to it. Skip the salt if you use salted butter}

♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥

Previous World Bread Day Posts:
French Fougasse with Roasted Red Bell Pepper, Walnut & Gouda, WBD 2009
Roasted Chili Garlic Bread, WBD 2008

Don’t miss a post
Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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