Sunday, May 31, 2009

Rooster Sauce

(How fitting, right?)

Ever since the Times ran a story on Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce a couple weeks ago, I can't stop thinking about beef noodle soup with sriracha. Not because of the chicken reference, obviously. It's just the sheer deliciousness of it.

I live with a hot sauce purist, who thinks Sriracha is bullshit, because it's chock full of sweeteners and artificial preservatives. He likes the ones with four ingredients: pepper, vinegar, water and salt. Yahhh, whatever. I wish Sriracha didn't have potassium sorbate in it, too, but ... what am I going to do? It's so good! And it makes me want to eat Thai beef soup.

I've made Thai-inspired beef noodle soup - with Sriracha -- three times since the story ran. I've already talked about how to make the soup at home from scratch, from a purist's sort of viewpoint.

But lately I've been doing the lazy-crazy, figure-it-out-as-you-go-along version. The got-to-get-my-mojo-on-or-else-get-my-ass-to-Chinatown-NOW soup. (and can't get to Chinatown cos I got laundry to do and kids to pick up at 3. YAH, baby.) (Uh, that would be my mojo speaking.) I use what I've got, and somehow it works out to be delicious.

I use beef or beef-chicken stock, which I sometimes have in the freezer, and sometimes have to make from frozen bones, which is fine on these cold spring days. My kids complain like crazy about the smell of the stock when they get home from school, but whatever. Life is hard, I guess. It airs out, right? And they don't complain when the smelly stock magically turns to savory soup with rice noodles and steak strips.

Sometimes I roast some onion and ginger and then put that in; sometimes I don't. Sometimes I buy a London broil to thinly slice; once I sliced up chicken sausage; once I just used noodles. I like sliced onions and fennel, and some kind of green. Lately: baby kale.

The only essential thing is a couple tablespoons of fish sauce, a tablespoon of palm/brown/raw sugar, and some lime juice. Bean sprouts, basil or mint leaves help. Noodles. Sriracha. Perfect for this weird spring, some days hot, some days cold. Always good for spicy soup.

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