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Hot sauce for Trini-Chinese chicken

jen223 Jul 11, 2013 09:02 AM

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?


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  1. buttertart RE: jen223 Jul 11, 2013 09:34 AM

    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
      jen223 RE: buttertart Jul 11, 2013 12:48 PM

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

    2. linguafood RE: jen223 Jul 11, 2013 01:40 PM

      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
        jen223 RE: linguafood Jul 11, 2013 03:05 PM

        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
          buttertart RE: jen223 Jul 11, 2013 03:43 PM

          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
            jen223 RE: buttertart Jul 11, 2013 04:08 PM

            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
              linguafood RE: buttertart Jul 11, 2013 04:19 PM

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

              Sriracha is decidedly not Caribbean :-)

              1. re: linguafood
                buttertart RE: linguafood Jul 11, 2013 04:30 PM

                No sirree.

            2. re: jen223
              linguafood RE: jen223 Jul 11, 2013 03:44 PM

              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
                jen223 RE: linguafood Jul 11, 2013 04:11 PM

                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
              c oliver RE: linguafood Aug 8, 2013 05:26 PM

              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. m
              MAH RE: jen223 Aug 7, 2013 08:09 PM

              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
                buttertart RE: MAH Aug 8, 2013 08:25 AM

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

                1. re: MAH
                  linguafood RE: MAH Aug 8, 2013 08:48 AM

                  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
                    buttertart RE: linguafood Aug 8, 2013 08:49 AM

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

                    1. re: buttertart
                      linguafood RE: buttertart Aug 8, 2013 09:00 AM

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

                      1. re: linguafood
                        MAH RE: linguafood Aug 9, 2013 09:37 AM

                        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
                          linguafood RE: MAH Aug 9, 2013 12:41 PM

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

                2. mariacarmen RE: jen223 Aug 9, 2013 09:28 PM

                  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
                    linguafood RE: mariacarmen Aug 18, 2013 12:47 PM

                    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.

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