In the world of spicy condiments, Sriracha and Peri Peri sauce hold prominent positions.
Both are loved for their unique flavors and heat, but they are distinct in their origins, ingredients, taste, and usage.
This article will delve into the specifics of Sriracha and Peri Peri sauce, comparing their characteristics and exploring whether they can be used interchangeably.
What Is it: Sriracha vs Peri Peri Sauce
Sriracha is a type of hot sauce or chili sauce made from a paste of chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt. It is named after the coastal city of Si Racha in eastern Thailand, where it was first produced for dishes served at local seafood restaurants. Sriracha is often referred to as “rooster sauce” due to the rooster logo on bottles produced by the leading manufacturer, Huy Fong Foods.
On the other hand, Peri Peri sauce (also known as Piri Piri or Pili Pili) originates from Africa. The name ‘Peri Peri’ translates to ‘pepper pepper’ in Swahili.
This sauce is made from crushed chillies, citrus peel, onion, pepper, salt, lemon juice, bay leaves, paprika, pimiento, basil, oregano and tarragon.
The key ingredient is the African Bird’s Eye Chili. The sauce became popular globally through Portuguese cuisine after explorers brought the chili back from Africa in the 15th century.
What Does It Contain: Sriracha vs Peri Peri Sauce
Sriracha sauce is made from a base of red jalapeno peppers, which are combined with sugar, salt, garlic, distilled vinegar, and potassium sorbate and sodium bisulfite as preservatives.
The sauce is known for its creamy consistency, which is achieved by grounding the jalapenos into a smooth paste.
Peri Peri sauce, on the other hand, contains African Bird’s Eye Chili as its main ingredient. This chili is much hotter than a jalapeno.
The sauce also contains a blend of ingredients that can vary based on the recipe but typically includes garlic, red bell peppers, lemon or lime juice, vinegar, oil, onions, and herbs such as oregano and paprika.
Some versions may also contain spirits like whiskey or brandy for an added depth of flavor. Unlike Sriracha, Peri Peri sauce has a more liquid consistency.
What Does It Taste Like: Sriracha vs Peri Peri Sauce
Sriracha sauce is known for its unique blend of flavors. It has a strong heat that hits you at first, but it quickly mellows out to reveal sweet and garlicky undertones. The sauce is tangy, slightly sweet, and quite spicy, with a smooth texture that coats the food well.
Peri Peri sauce, on the other hand, offers a different flavor profile. It’s fiery and tangy with a hint of sweetness. The African Bird’s Eye Chili gives it a hot kick, while the citrus peel and lemon juice add a tangy zest.
The combination of herbs and spices like garlic, onion, paprika, and oregano give it a complex flavor profile that is both spicy and aromatic. Unlike Sriracha, Peri Peri sauce has a thinner consistency and the heat level can vary greatly depending on the amount of chilies used in the recipe.
How Hot Is It: Sriracha vs Peri Peri Sauce
The heat level of a hot sauce is typically measured using the Scoville scale, which measures the concentration of capsaicin, the chemical responsible for the spicy sensation.
Sriracha sauce, made primarily from red jalapeno peppers, has a Scoville rating of around 2,200 units. This places it at the lower end of the scale, indicating a mild to moderate heat level. The heat is not immediate but builds up gradually, allowing you to taste the other flavors in the sauce.
Peri Peri sauce, on the other hand, is made from African Bird’s Eye Chili which has a Scoville rating ranging from 50,000 to 175,000 units.
This makes it significantly hotter than Sriracha. The heat from Peri Peri sauce is more immediate and intense due to the higher concentration of capsaicin in the African Bird’s Eye Chili. However, the exact heat level can vary depending on the specific recipe and preparation method.
How Much Does It Cost: Sriracha vs Peri Peri Sauce
The cost of both Sriracha and Peri Peri sauce can vary depending on the brand, the size of the bottle, and where you purchase it from.
Sriracha sauce is widely available and relatively inexpensive. A standard 17-ounce bottle from Huy Fong Foods, one of the most popular brands, typically costs around $3 to $4 in most grocery stores in the United States (forget the current exorbitant prices).
Peri Peri sauce can be a bit more expensive due to its unique ingredients and the fact that it’s less widely produced. A bottle from Nando’s, one of the most well-known brands for Peri Peri sauce, can cost around $5 to $7 for a similar-sized bottle. However, prices can vary significantly, especially if you’re purchasing artisan or specialty versions of these sauces.
What Is It Used For: Sriracha vs Peri Peri Sauce
Sriracha sauce is incredibly versatile and is used in a variety of dishes. It’s often used as a dipping sauce for seafood, spring rolls, and dim sum. It’s also a popular addition to noodle dishes, stir-fries, eggs, burgers, and even cocktails. Some people also use it as a marinade for meats.
Peri Peri sauce is traditionally used as a marinade for chicken in Portuguese and African cooking, but its uses have expanded globally. It’s now commonly used as a spicy dip for breads and fries, a marinade for grilled meats, and an ingredient in spicy soups and stews. The tangy and spicy flavor of Peri Peri sauce pairs well with a variety of foods, from vegetables to seafood.
Can I Substitute Sriracha For Peri Peri Sauce? (And Vice Versa)
While Sriracha and Peri Peri sauce both bring heat and flavor to dishes, they have distinct taste profiles that may not make them perfect substitutes for each other.
If you’re considering using Sriracha in place of Peri Peri sauce, bear in mind that Sriracha is sweeter and less tangy. It also has a thicker consistency and a lower heat level. However, it could work as a substitute in recipes where the unique flavor of Peri Peri isn’t the star of the dish.
On the other hand, substituting Peri Peri sauce for Sriracha could significantly increase the heat level of your dish. The tangy, herbaceous flavor of Peri Peri sauce is also quite different from the sweet, garlicky taste of Sriracha.