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Hot sauce for Trini-Chinese chicken

After reading a CH thread (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8981...) about Sam Sifton's Trini-Chinese chicken recipe (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/31/mag...), I'm on a mission to make this chicken this weekend.

However, I have never tried the suggested Matouk's Soca Scotch bonnet hot sauce. At home I have Sriracha, Texas Pete's, Tabasco, and a Chinese chili oil. I'm willing to purchase Matouk's, but how spicy is it? I appreciate spice but can't handle too much of it! Is it worth getting Matouk's, or does anyone have a recommendation that will still give me the same flavor profile but not AS much spice? Or does it not really matter, and should I go with what I have on-hand currently?

Thanks!

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  1. The Caribbean hot sauces are tart and floral, with a big punch from the Scotch Bonnet chilis. Of the ones you have, I'd use the sriracha, for its tartness and texture. You could up the heat with cayenne if you wanted.

    1 Reply
    1. re: buttertart

      thanks, buttertart! that's the info i was looking for. any other tart/floral hot sauces that might be easier to find?

    2. I haven't found the Matouk's brand, but I am VERY happy with Grace's scotch bonnet sauce. Yes, it is pretty spicy (more so than sriracha, I'd say), but it has that floral, fruity flavor buttertart mentions.

      I'm a purist with this recipe (well, save for not actually having fried the chicken ever. I grill it), and would never substitute sriracha. The scotch bonnet sauce is the "trini" part of this recipe, after all.

      Otherwise, you have "Chinese" chicken.

      8 Replies
      1. re: linguafood

        good point, that IS just chinese chicken!

        i'll keep my eye out for Grace's and maybe just use a little bit if it's that much more spicy than sriracha. hopefully Grace's can be found at wegman's, whole foods, etc?

        1. re: jen223

          Actually, Sriracha was produced and popularized in the US by Vietnamese Chinese immigrants. There isn't any such hot sauce that I know of in Chinese food. So there.
          Grace's is easy to find, at least in the NY tri-state area. The one I used is El Yucateco brand from Mexico, Caribbean-style hot sauce, habanero-based.

          1. re: buttertart

            i actually learned that fact about sriracha only in the past year or 2 (when i finally bothered to look at the bottle and investigate). i'm actually chinese-american with parents that were born and grew up in vietnam but are actually chinese (don't ask)... and sriracha was always my dad's hot sauce of choice. kind of makes sense, i guess

            1. re: buttertart

              I guess I meant "Asian" chicken more so than "Chinese".

              Sriracha is decidedly not Caribbean :-)

              1. re: linguafood

                No sirree.

            2. re: jen223

              I got it at Wegmans in the international section. It is a beautiful orange color and my favorite hot sauce these days. No sugar added, as opposed to sriracha (!). I love it on pizza, too, but I'm a bit of a chile head :-)

              1. re: linguafood

                you can always count on wegman's! i will look for it this weekend. my husband is always looking to try new hot sauces AND he also puts hot sauce on pizza, so it sounds like this is a great match. thanks!

            3. re: linguafood

              I found Matouk's on Amazon and after ordering it Bob found Grace's at a large grocery near us (NoCal).

              Because it's a sauce and not a flavoring for the chicken itself, I think it's easy enough to add as much or little as one wants. I served it to seven people recently and no one thought it was too spicy. Now I'm craving it again :)

            4. I made this tonight and will definitely make it again. I love the subtle hint of five spice from the marinade and the sauce is addictive.

              I found Matouk's at Fairway in NYC/NJ, but not the Soca variety. After doing some research online I realize that the one i purchased, Matouk's Flambeau, is actually hotter than the Soca sauce. Both are made with scotch bonnets. The Flambeau sauce is fiery hot, slightly zingy and with fruitiness that others have mentioned. Sriracha is thicker in texture, more garlicky and doesn't have the acidity of Matouk's. That said, with the amount of lime juice called for in the sauce, I think Sriracha would be an acceptable substitute.

              6 Replies
              1. re: MAH

                I'm with you, in case of dire necessity.

                1. re: MAH

                  Or just another brand of scotch bonnet sauce -- like the bright orange Grace's brand which is so good I put it on damn near anything these days.

                  1. re: linguafood

                    You get that floral thing going on with the scotch bonnet. I've only recently come to enjoy that.

                    1. re: buttertart

                      I love it. Poured it all over my pizza yesterday. Made for a shweaddy head :-)

                      1. re: linguafood

                        i had the leftovers Trini Chinese chicken for lunch yesterday -- pulled off the bone in big chunks, slathered with the rest of the sauce (damn it's tasty) and alongside the bacon/spinach/veggie fried rice I threw together. a fine lunch of leftovers indeed.

                        definitely going in the reg rotation.

                        1. re: MAH

                          Yep. I hafta say among the recent NYT food recipes have been some keepers. I'm craving the chicken again already :-)

                2. hhhhhh.....alright, lingua. i'm going to cave and go buy Matouk's. i've been using habanero and been very pleased with it, but i need to see the difference.

                  luckily, this store opened up recently so i don't have to order online. http://heathotsauce.com/

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mariacarmen

                    I never used Matouk's as I can't find it at any grocery stores nearby.

                    I am, however, *very* happy with the Grace brand.