I’ve seen people get annoyed when you call a sauce “sriracha” and it deviates from simply red hot peppers, garlic, salt, sugar, and vinegar.
Furthermore, sriracha is a raw sauce, so does fermenting it (and therefore eliminating the requirement of vinegar) also make it no longer sriracha?
These are deep questions in life!
I evade this whole dilemma by coming up with fun names for my many fruit-sweetened, fermented “sriracha-style” sauces, like Strawracha, Razzracha (with raspberries), and Cherryracha.
Today, we’ll be making one of my newer recipes, which I like to simply call Pomracha.
I first had the ginger pomegranate combo when I was living in Tel Aviv, as fresh juice bars are practically on every street corner (sometimes two on a corner!). This, along with pomegranate orange (hmm, that gives me an idea!) is a popular option, and I loved and drank it often. I had to try out that lip-smacking combo in a hot sauce, and I love it there too!
There are those crazy folks who don’t care much for ginger, but if you’re here, I’m guessing you love those foods, so let’s do this!
This recipe is for a quart jar of sauce, and the quantities can be modified for a larger or smaller vessel.
You will need:
- Quart jar (and another quart jar or vessel to mix brine)
- Knife & cutting board
- Measuring cups & spoons
- Fermentation weight and airlock
- Suggested: kitchen gloves for handling hot peppers
- Fermentation lid airlocks and weight
- Medium saucepan (for cooking sauce at end; optional)
- 1.66 – 2 lbs. hot red peppers, rough chopped (I used 1.33 lbs. red jalapenos and 1/3 lbs. red habaneros)
- 1 cup fresh-pressed or bottled (100% pure) pomegranate juice
- 1 cup water
- 1.5 TBSP salt
- Nub of ginger, peeled and sliced (50-75g, go on heavier side for a stronger ginger flavor)
- At blending: 1 tsp garlic powder; 1 additional cup pomegranate juice; 1 TBSP sugar
1.) Gently wash all produce in cool water and cut up. Discard seeds and stems. (Hint: cut length-wise and run spoon down middle to remove the seeds and ribs.)
2.) Peel the ginger with a spoon and cut into 1/3″ slices.
3.) Place all produce in quart jar. In a separate jar, combine the water, pomegranate juice, and salt. Apply the lid tightly and shake vigorously until the salt is fully dissolved.
4.) Pour the liquid brine into the jar, stopping about 1″ short of the shoulder. In order to ensure the produce is submerged fully, apply the fermentation weight. If more brine can be added to reach the shoulder, then do so, but you don’t have to use all the brine.
5.) Apply the airlock lid and ferment for several weeks to several months. (The ferment shown here was 3 months.) The longer you wait, the lower the pH will drop, resulting in a more sour sauce with a longer shelf life.
After the ferment:
1.) Separate the brine from the peppers and retain.
2.) Add just the peppers and ginger to the blender, leaving the brine separate. (If you want a less intense ginger flavor, exclude some or all the fermented ginger from the blending stage; however, I use all of it.) Then add the 1 cup pure pomegranate juice (fresh squeezed or bottled), 1 TBSP sugar, and 1 tsp garlic powder, and blend on high for several minutes. (Alternately, you may use half pom juice and half retained brine.)
If the consistency is to your liking, you may begin cooking the sauce, explained below. If you want a runnier sauce, add more pom juice and/or retained brine, a little at a time, until your desired consistency. (Alternately, you can also or instead add white vinegar, which will further reduce the pH.)
3.) Transfer the sauce to a medium saucepan, cover and set to high and bring to a boil.
4.) Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes.
5.) In the meantime, thoroughly wash out the blender and all of its parts so there are no remnants of sauce with active lactobacillus.
6.) When the sauce is done simmering, return it to the blender, and blend on high for 2 more minutes.
7.) Store blended sauce in quart jar or transfer to woozy bottles using a bottling funnel. Tap down with the funnel in order to keep the sauce dropping down into the woozy bottle.
If you want to keep your sauce raw (uncooked), where the healthy probiotic bacteria will remain intact, simply skip the cooking step, but it needs to be kept in the refrigerator for storage and the cap should be periodically loosened to avoid excessive CO2 buildup.