Monday, October 19, 2009


A few weeks ago my friend and cooking buddy Ruth introduced me to PF Changs. Don't ask me what rock I've been living under for the last ten years, but for some reason this restaurant and I had never had the pleasure to experience one another. And what a pleasure it was. We began with soup, lettuce wraps, pot stickers and tempura green beans (all delish), continued with perfectly seasoned citrus-glazed grilled salmon and finished with chocolate cake (eh) and surprisingly good strawberry cheesecake. A very good meal to say the least. And what was my favorite dish on the table? That small dish of dipping sauce that accompanied the tempura beans. Have you tried this creamy, spicy, magical concoction of loveliness? The concoction that has become an obsession/addiction for me. You see, I took home the leftover beans and sauce and when they were gone I wanted more. Correction, I needed more. Not the beans mind you, but the sauce. I had to have the sauce. While scouring the internet for the recipe I discovered some interesting things:

The prominent ingredient in PF Changs green bean sauce is Sriracha
Sriracha is the generic name for a Thai hot sauce named after the seaside city of Si Racha in the Chonburi province in Thailand
Sriracha sauce has been taking the web and cooking circles by storm
I have indeed been living under a rock
I chose to make this recipe because it used mayonaise which would deliver the creaminess I remembered. Thank you HiHo. And I was pleasantly surprised to find the Sriracha sauce AND the Japanese mayo in my local supermarket. I bought the Sriracha, but the mayo was eight dollars so I figured Helman's would do the trick. I pretty much stuck to HiHo's recipe with a few changes:

Sriracha Mayo Dipping Sauce
3/4 cup Lite mayonaise

2 1/2 T Sriracha chili sauce
1 1/2 T chopped scallions (white ends only)

1 1/2 T chopped garlic
1/2 tsp prepared horseradish

3 T water (or more if you like it thinner)
Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Refrigerate unused portions if there are any. (makes approximately 1 cup)

So, with dip in hand, I began to indulge myself. So far I have feasted on grilled shrimp, avocados, linguini, grilled asparagus, lentil-corn fritters, tuna salad, home made sweet potato chips (you get the picture), all doused or dabbled with my homemade Sriracha Mayo. My favorite? A good old hamburger with lettuce, tomato and a healthy slathering of sauce.
Re-Mix: If you're not a chili fanatic, but like the warmth and flavor that chilis offer, I think you'll enjoy the Sriracha Mayo in these dips. In a blender or food processor combine 1 container (16 oz) of low fat cottage cheese with 6 T Sriracha Mayo and blend until smooth. This makes a delightfully creamy, hint-of-chili cheese spread that's perfect with raw veggies, crackers or chips. OR, if you're not a cheese lover, try 1 container (16 oz) of low fat sour cream mixed with 6 T Sriracha Mayo. Refrigerate for an hour or longer to let it set up, garnish with thinly sliced scallions and dip away!

Now it's your turn. How are you going to tame (or heat up) your Sriracha sauce?


Lori said...

I don't know but hope you can whip up a mayo-free version for me by Thanksgiving. :)

Linda said...

Anything for you doll! I'm already working on some re-mixes with you in mind.

Green said...

I would like to pose a question to you. Please do not ask how I reached the age of 33 without knowing how to make a baked potato, but instead just accept that I need help. I am looking for a way to cook it that involves only ONE appliance.

1st attempt: bake for 40 min at 380. Edges (not skin) tasted a bit too cruchy/raw

2nd attempt: bake for 1 hr at 400. same results.

I bought two more potatoes for attempts three and four. Please help.

Oh yes, and I loved PF Chang's when I lived near one. Have you ever heard of this place called the Cheesecake Factory? :)

Linda said...

Hi Green- thanks for stopping by. By the way, I am a fan of your blog.

To answer your baked potato question, I went right to "The New York Times Cookbook" where Craig Claiborne says, "Thoroughly wash and dry potatoes. Grease lightly. Place on a rack in a pre-heated hot oven (425 degrees) and bake until tender when tested with a fork, about forty to sixty minutes. When potatoes are done, remove from oven, split open and top with a lump of butter. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper."

This guy knows what he's talking about, so I'd give his method a try. I don't bake my potatoes this way- I use a microwave AND a hot oven, but that's not answering your question. One other thing- I was always told to poke the potato with a knife or fork to prevent it from "exploding" in the oven. (wive's tale? I don't know, but do that just to be sure).

Cheesecake Factory? Love it! Another chain restaurant that does well by me. Lori and I go there every time I visit and always get the chicken lettuce wraps and veggie pot stickers. Yum.

Let me know how you did with the potatoes.

Dawn said...

I make "spicy mayo" (that's what my husband and I call it all the time) with just Lite Hellman's and Sriracha. I'm going to add your "extras" next time, especially the garlic, horseradish, and (of course) some water so that we don't choke.

I started making it just for dipping for tuna steaks, but it's taken on a life of its own in my house, as it's become the "go to" for everything that needs a little oomph.

Thanks for the "extras" tip!

Linda said...

Dawn- It really is an obsession isn't it? I think the last time I felt this way about a flavor sensation was 30 years ago when I first tasted lemon grass in a Thai restaurant! Thanks for your input.