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Originally published Sunday, September 16, 2012 at 5:00 AM

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5 uses for Sriracha sauce

A dash of Sriracha sauce will liven up many recipes.

By Food Network Kitchens

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Q: What is Sriracha?

A: Sriracha was developed in Los Angeles in the early 1980s by David Tran. His Chinese and Vietnamese roots were the inspiration for this American-born chili sauce. Pronounced "SIR-rotch-ah," this sauce made from chili peppers, garlic, sugar, salt and vinegar is the perfect balance of hot, spicy, tangy and sweet. Instead of just being hot, Sriracha has serious flavor that keeps food-lovers coming back for more. It even has a nickname — affectionately dubbed "rooster sauce" (the bottle has the image of a rooster, which is Tran's astrological sign).

It seems logical to squirt this crimson sauce on egg rolls, stir-fry and noodle dishes, but save some for burgers, fries, pizza and tuna salad, too. Chefs across the country consider this sauce a secret ingredient for all kinds of recipes, including sauces, marinades, pâté and seafood. First-timers should be warned to give it a small taste first — it certainly does turn up the heat!

You can find rooster sauce everywhere, from Walmart to the local fish market. Most large chain grocers keep it stocked in the Asian-food aisle. Using chili sauce to spice up recipes pours in big flavor for only a few measly calories. Each teaspoon of Sriracha has 5 calories, 1 gram of carbohydrate and 100 milligrams of sodium. Along with helping clear out your sinuses, chili peppers contain capsaicin, an inflammation-fighting phyochemical.

Five Ways to Love Sriracha

1. Mix with ketchup, horseradish and lemon juice for cocktail sauce with extra kick.

2. Combine with mayo and nonfat Greek yogurt for a lower-fat chili mayo.

3. Drizzle over stir fry.

4. Mix with lean ground beef or ground turkey breast to perk up boring burgers.

5. Fire up fish tacos and quesadillas.

Courtesy Dana Angelo White on foodnetwork.com

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