The 6 Hottest Ways to Use Sriracha

11/07/2013 at 03:52 PM ET

Edward Lee Sriracha
Bill Hogan/Mct/Zuma; Joseph De Leo

Looks like Sriracha is hotter than ever.

The spicy sauce has already popped up on sandwiches at Subway, on potato chips from Lay’s and on the tables at some of the country’s hottest restaurants, including Momofuku Noodle Bar in NYC. There’s a Sriracha cookbook, a Sriracha movie and even Sriracha high heels. And now, as the Irwindale, Calif. plant that makes the sauce faces a legal battle with neighbors who want to shut it down, the sauce is on everyone‘s lips.

“If we did lose Sriracha, it would be a bigger crisis than having an oil shortage,” chef Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia in Louisville, Kentucky, quipped to the AP. “People would riot in the streets.” (Wipe that sweat off your brow: A judge has deemed the plant can remain open until a Nov. 22 hearing to decide its ultimate fate. The residents who’ve challenged the factory say the fumes are burning their eyes and throats.)

How did a $5 condiment come to have the biggest fan base since One Direction? “Rooster” sauce (nicknamed for the logo; the actual name comes from Si Racha, Thailand, where the sauce originated) is made from a blend of chili peppers, distilled vinegar, sugar, garlic and salt, giving it a more complex sweet/sour taste than most hot sauces, and chefs like Lee love its versatility: “What can’t you put Sriracha on? I use it everywhere,” he tells PEOPLE.

We made him prove it: Here are his six favorite ways to use the sauce in his kitchen. Better grab a bottle—or 10—for your pantry!

Do the chicken. “Get a bucket of your favorite fried chicken and squirt it with Sriracha and fresh lime juice,” Lee says. “It’s good cold the next day—maybe even better.”

Heat up happy hour. Lee adds lime juice and a squirt of Sriracha to his beer “for a hot and cooling sensation that is like a party in your mouth.”

Make a spicy slice. “Sriracha on pizza is the best, especially pepperoni and mushroom pizza,” Lee says.

Ride the gravy train. Lee squirts Sriracha into sausage gravy and pours it over eggs and biscuits in the morning. Don’t be afraid to pull the trigger: “I add quite a bit,” he says.

Rock your guac. “I squirt Sriracha into my guacamole and eat it with nacho chips,” he says. “The creamy and spicy are a match made in heaven.”

Dress up dressing. To make a “killer spicy vinaigrette, especially for a blue cheese salad,” mix Sriracha with olive oil, a touch of honey, and a generous amount of lemon juice. Says Lee: “It sounds funky but it really goes well together.”

—Marissa Conrad


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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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