Sriracha Salt

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Infused_Hot_Salts

Here’s another excerpt from my upcoming book SALT: The Essential Guide to Cooking with the Most Important Ingredient in Your Kitchen.  (You can buy it here –  B&N – and here Amazon ).

I can’t explain the sudden popularity of this chile sauce. It’s been around since the early 20th century in Thailand, and has been available in the United States since 1980. The most popular brand in the US is made by Huy Fong Foods, a company that was started by Vietnamese refuge David Tran. He named his company after ship that brought him out of Vietnam. Also called “rooster sauce” because of the label design, demand has exceed supply so much that Tran doesn’t need to advertise. If you have jumped on the Sriracha bandwagon, this is the salt for you. Use it on anything that could use a spicy punch—popcorn, fried potatoes, ramen noodles, grilled seafood, and sliced tropical fruits.   I like to use a big flaked salt for this one, but it works with any salt you choose.

Ingredients

1-2 tablespoons Sriracha

1 cup unrefined sea salt

Method

  1. Stir the chile sauce and the salt together thoroughly. Spread out into a thin layer on a dry sheet to pan and set in the sun for 1-2 days, until dry. Alternatively you can dry it in an oven set 100° F, or a dehydrator overnight, or until dry. When completely dry, break up any clumps with your fingers or a spoon, and transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid.

 

 

Variations

 

Hot Sauce Salt – You can use any chile or hot sauce you like for this recipe. My favorite is Green Tabasco!

 

Chile-Lime Salt – Make a lime salt first ( page xx) then mix it with the chile sauce and dry as directed here.

 

Soy Salt – Use a strong soy sauce or ponzu, and proceed as directed. Use it anywhere you would use soy sauce for a strong, pungent kick at the top of each bite.

 

Fish Sauce Salt – Replace the chile sauce with this ancient salty fish sauce (these days seen most frequently in Thai cooking) and proceed as directed. Use it on grilled seafood, meat, and vegetables for a burst of umami.

 

 

Ash Infused Salt

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Smoked_Salt

Smoked salt is popular, as is anything with a smoky flavor. But the use of ash is popping up more and more too. Mixed with a great coarse salt, ash makes a fantastic finish, and adds a hint of outdoor cooking (which is especially nice when you’re stuck in a tiny apartment in winter). The world’s top restaurants are harnessing the bitter smokiness of ash on everything from marinades and rubs to crunchy, crumbled garnishes for vegetables, soups, and desserts. The ash in question is typically made from an indigenous edible grass, herbs, or wood. First time ashers should use familiar edibles—rosemary, thyme, sage—dried in whole bunches, which you can do in your kitchen by hanging them upside down for a few days.

You’ll find more infused salt recipes in my upcoming book SALT: The Essential Guide to Cooking with the Most Important Ingredient in Your Kitchen.  (You can buy it here –  B&N – and here Amazon ).

Ingredients

1 large bunch of dried rosemary, thyme, or sage

1 cup unrefined sea salt

Method

Place the dried plant material on a large sheet of foil. Working away from anything flammable, preferably in a BBQ or fireplace, light the material on fire. Hold a screen, frying pan, or lid a foot above the flame to catch any ash that may float away.   Let it burn completely, then cool and transfer the ash to a small bowl. Add half the salt, mix to combine, then add the rest of the salt. Store in a jar with a tight-fitting lid for at least 1 hour before using, to concentrate the smokiness.

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