Sriracha, that now-ubiquitous spicy red sauce with the rooster on the bottle, is one of our all-time favorite things. We use it in our spicy peanut sauce, on grilled corn, in soups, stews, and curries. Really, we just drizzle it on anything that needs a little flavor boost, even at breakfast! Why is this stuff so good? It hits hard on many fronts: it's salty, spicy, a little acidic, and a little sweet. In other words, it's nearly perfect. So, we messed with it, of course. Rather than add sugar, we roasted the red jalapeños to bring out their own natural sweetness. This process also adds a nice bit of smokiness, which really ups the ante by adding an additional note to traditional sriracha sauce's symphony of flavor.
This sauce is really simple to make, and the ingredients aren't hard to find. If red jalapeños aren't available -- I usually find them at the Asian market -- you can make a sauce that's just as delicious using green ones. The xanthan gum is totally optional. All it does it keep the sauce from separating in the fridge. If you don't add it, just stir it up before each use.
8 cups red jalapeño peppers
1/2 cup peeled garlic cloves
1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)