When spicing things up in your favorite dish, use chili garlic sauce and Sriracha. These two seem very similar to the extent that many use them interchangeably. They are, however, not the same sauce. They differ in their ingredients, consistency, and other factors.
To get a closer look at these differences, keep reading this chili garlic sauce vs. sriracha comparison. We will dive deep into the essential characteristics and main distinctions. So stay tuned!
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What is Chili Garlic Sauce?
Chili garlic sauce falls into the category of moderately spicy sauces. It is famous for its thick and chunky texture and its desirable tanginess. As the name suggests, the main ingredients in chili garlic sauce are chili peppers and garlic.
Then this combo is mixed with a bit of salt, vinegar, and sugar to create some balance between sweet, savory, and tangy flavors. Chili garlic sauce also contains whole pepper seeds, which give it more texture.
Chili, or hot chili garlic sauce, is commonly used in Asian cuisine, particularly Chinese cuisine. This sauce was created for this cuisine. However, it has gained wide popularity outside its birthplace. It is being made and sold in the U.S., Canada, and other countries in Asia and Europe.
Chili garlic sauce is highly preferred for noodles and spring rolls. Also, it can be used as a spicy dipping sauce for various Asian dishes. If you want to turn it into a thinner sauce, heat it in a pan with a bit of water. Make sure to stir this mixture well until you reach the desired consistency.
One of the best things about chili garlic sauce is that it can be easily made at home. But if you are in a hurry, you will easily find it on the shelf. As long as it is not expired, jarred chili garlic sauce can be stored in the fridge for months.
What is Sriracha Sauce?
Sriracha is a hot sauce that has taken the world by storm. It is a product of Thai cuisine. The ingredients of Sriracha are similar to those of chili garlic sauce.
The history of Sriracha dates back to the early 1940s. It was created in a city named Si Racha in Thailand. The name of the city explains the sauce’s name.
Like the success story of ranch sauce, Sriracha went from the kitchen of its creator to invading Southeast Asian kitchens. Then, sriracha sauce made its way to North America and the rest of the world.
However, the most common version of Sriracha differs from the exact Thai product. What we currently know in North America is a slightly tweaked version created by a Vietnamese immigrant. As a result of the success of this sauce, several brands have developed similar srirachas.
However, each of them tastes slightly different. But in general, Sriracha is spicy, tangy, and sweet. The original recipe did not contain distilled vinegar, but some products can include apple cider vinegar.
What are the Differences between Chili Garlic Sauce and Sriracha?
With similar ingredients, you will typically notice some similarities in flavor. This can make you wonder whether you can substitute Sriracha for Chili garlic sauce and vice versa.
Generally, you can substitute one for another, but there are differences, mainly in their tastes and textures.
Both sauces come from Asia but from different countries. Chili garlic sauce is originally from China. Sriracha came from Thailand, but a Vietnamese immigrant created a popular version in America.
This is one of the most confusing points in this comparison. The ingredients are similar, and some brands tweak the ingredients. However, the original recipe for chili garlic contains chili peppers, garlic, distilled vinegar, sugar, and salt.
Some other ingredients are added to make the Chili garlic sauce more accommodating to Chinese cuisine. This includes soy sauce or sesame oil.
Sriracha, on the other hand, is more like the traditional hot sauce. This means there are no unique ingredients, such as those in the chili garlic sauce. So, Sriracha consists of red jalapenos, serrano peppers, garlic, sugar, apple cider vinegar, water, and salt.
So, the main differences in the ingredients come from the type of peppers and vinegar. These two ingredients play a key role in determining their flavors as well.
Chili garlic sauce and Sriracha are spicy and increase the dish’s heat. However, the taste of Sriracha is hotter, as it is made of jalapenos. But Sriracha is not intolerably hot, as you won’t feel like there is a fire in your mouth.
Chili garlic sauce is mildly spicy but with a tangier and sharper flavor. Moreover, Sriracha is sweeter due to its higher sugar and sometimes honey content.
This point of comparison is very defining, as chili garlic has a much thicker texture. Some people tend to thin it before applying it to the food. Sriracha is not a thin sauce, though. It resembles the consistency of bottled ketchup. Another noteworthy difference is that Chili garlic sauce has pepper seeds, while Sriracha has none.
This is another critical distinction between Chili garlic sauce and Sriracha. The former is created without fermentation. Sriracha, on the other hand, must be fermented. The fermentation of the peppers used to make Sriracha gives this sauce a distinctive flavor.
Aside from using it in authentic Chinese recipes, chili garlic sauce can be used in burgers, stews, soups, and spring rolls. Sriracha is commonly used in Thai and Vietnamese dishes. However, it can be added to any other dish with some spiciness and heat. So, it goes well with any pasta.
You will definitely notice this packaging difference if you go shopping for either or both sauces. The Chili garlic sauce is contained in tightly locked glass jars.
Sriracha, on the other hand, is contained in a squeeze bottle. Due to being somehow thin, you can easily squeeze Sriracha out of the bottle. A spoon is required to scoop the sauce.
Chili garlic sauce vs Sriracha: are they the same?
No, chili garlic sauce and Sriracha are not the same sauce. They come from different countries and showcase different textures. No need to mention that chili garlic sauce combines mild heat with tanginess, while Sriracha is spicy and sweet.
Chili garlic sauce contains distilled vinegar, whereas Sriracha is made of apple cider vinegar. It is also worth mentioning that Sriracha has more sugar and a hotter type of pepper.
Last but not least, fermentation is the main step in making Sriracha and has a noticeable effect on the taste. So, keeping all these differences in mind before replacing one sauce with another is necessary.
If Sriracha is unavailable, you can substitute Chili garlic sauce. However, you should not ignore that the Chili garlic sauce will be savory and tangier. So, keeping this main difference in mind while cooking is essential.