If you like spicy food, you’ll love Sriracha. While not an herb or spice in itself, Sriracha is a blend of chilli peppers, garlic, vinegar, sugar and salt, and is considered to have a mild zing scoring 1,000 to 2,500 units on the Scoville scale, which is approachable for most. This hot sauce is said to have originated in the Thai port town of Si Racha. Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods called it one of the top food trends back in 2013, and it has only grown in popularity since.
How chefs are using this spice: British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has used it to add a spicy spin to mellow fare like sushi bowls.
How you can use this spice at home: Amplify the taste of noodles, tacos, pho and even sushi with as much Sriracha as you prefer.
While Southeast Asia and America swear by its sriracha sauce, North Africa and the Middle East have harissa paste. A basic blend is made up of herbs and spices such as dried serrano chillies, garlic, fresh coriander, caraway seeds, salt and olive oil for a different flavour and heat. Its taste is complex yet versatile enough for use in spicy food as a meat rub, a base for stews and sauce, or dressing for salads.
How chefs are using this spice: Artichoke, a restaurant in Singapore, uses harissa in a Smashed Eggplant dish, where it’s complemented with tahini, coriander and pine nuts. Harissa is also a main part of the Green Harissa Seabream with blackened onions and split cream.
How to use this spice at home: Fire up a salad, stew, seafood, or just plain bread with some garlicky harissa paste