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The specific recipe I'm making is http://www.budgetbytes.com/2012/08/spicy-noodles/ (copied at bottom for posterity).

I'm a big fan of the spice, but my guests and partner are often not. Since the sriracha is a critical part of the sauce, and makes the noodles quite spicy, I'd like to somehow avoid the spicy effect, while keeping the flavor, texture, and if possible color, reasonably similar. The dish is alright if you simply remove the sriracha and keep the soy sauce and brown sugar, but it's not as flavorful. Is there anything that is similarly flavorful that I could use, but that doesn't have the spice?

I've also tried an equal amount tomato paste, and holy crap was that a mistake. There might be some other way to use tomatoes, though.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. lo mein noodles $1.13
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.20
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper $0.02
  • 1 large egg $0.25
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha (rooster sauce) $0.08
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro $0.22
  • 1 sliced green onion $0.06

Instructions

  1. Begin to boil water for the noodles. Once the water reaches a full boil, add the noodles and cook according to the package directions (boil for 5-7 minutes).
  2. While waiting for the water to boil, prepare the sauce. In a small bowl stir together the brown sugar, soy sauce, and sriracha. In a large skillet melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Add the red pepper to the butter as it melts. Whisk an egg in a bowl and then add to the melted butter. Stir gently and cook through. Once the egg is done cooking, turn off the heat.
  3. When the noodles are tender, drain the water and then add them to the skillet with the cooked egg. Also add the prepared sauce. Turn the heat on to low to evaporate excess moisture, and stir until everything is coated well with the sauce. Sprinkle the sliced green onions and cilantro leaves (whole) on top and serve! ```
  • Rather than tomato paste you could use passatta and purée some sweet peppers. – user23614 Oct 15 '15 at 8:07
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    The ingredients in siracha are "Chili, sugar, salt, garlic, distilled vinegar". You could delete the chili and add some non-spicy chillis such as "mini bell peppers" "banana peppers" or "anehiem chilis" – WetlabStudent Oct 15 '15 at 8:24
  • Can you please explain what you didn't like about the tomato paste version. Presumably it was too salty or sour would be my guess? In which case you could use crushed tomatoes or tomato puree. – WetlabStudent Oct 15 '15 at 8:26
  • The tomato paste version was very, very "sour", I suppose, but it didn't taste like something that adding sugar would help with. I don't really know how to explain it better than that. I like the idea of substituting ingredients to the sriracha, though! I think I'll try that. – lahwran Oct 15 '15 at 18:02
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There are a lot of things you could add that would deliver a similar pepper and garlic flavor. One thing that comes to mind is Ajvar. It's a Serbian relish made primarily from red bell peppers, garlic, and eggplant. I live in the US, and the local supermarket carries it in both mild and spicy versions. Aside from being a lot milder, the flavor profile is pretty similar to sriracha sauce.

If you don't mind doing some more work, you could roast, skin, and mash some red bell peppers yourself. Then add some garlic, a bit of something sweet (optional), and some hot pepper (also optional).

5

I make a similar sauce using Chili Garlic Sauce, which has a similar (but not identical) flavor profile and color and adds a lot less heat. It is also not as smooth. If you want to have a closer texture, you might need to press it through a sieve and discard the seeds (which could also further reduce the spiciness -- but I really don't find this sauce to be hot at all).

Depending on the heat tolerance of your audience, you may also need to sacrifice your crushed red pepper in the egg. Perhaps you could serve some chili oil on the side for people who want to turn up the heat?

Huy Fong Chili Garlic Sauce

Edit: Another option based on MHH's suggestion that the chili-garlic might still be too spicy. Replace both the sugar and most of the sriracha with Sweet Thai Chili sauce. Sweet Chili Sauce

  • +1 for chili on the side. Also I am in love with the pictured sauce. I put it on everything. – Preston Oct 15 '15 at 3:18
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    I love this sauce but I doubt this will do. It's only slightly less spicy than Siracha. – WetlabStudent Oct 15 '15 at 8:18
  • I just did a side-by-side taste test and I guess I think by volume, the chili-garlic is about 1/4-1/2 the heat. Eating a spoon of it straight was spicy but it wasn't a lingering burn. Eating a spoon of the sriracha didn't make me hiccup but was a more lasting heat. – NadjaCS Oct 15 '15 at 17:48
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    I added in Sweet Chili sauce as another option. There are several brands usually readily available in my area. (Thai Kitchen, Trader Joe's, some other things.) This one really is mostly just sweet. (I like mixing it one-one with the chili-garlic to make a sandwich spread.) – NadjaCS Oct 15 '15 at 18:16
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    I find that Hoy Fong's Chili Garlic sauce tends to be a bit hotter than other brands (eg, Lee Kum Kee). I suspect that the Lee Kum Kee is cooked and removes some of the sharpness of the chilies, while Hoy Fong seems like it's mostly fresh crushed peppers. – Joe Oct 15 '15 at 22:00
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It's not a common ingredient unless you have a Dutch or German market near you -- but I'd substitute Curry Ketchup (aka Gewurz Ketchup, aka. Schaschlik Sauce).

Hela makes a garlic (knoblauch) variety that would likely best fit your need, but there are other varieties of different heat: mild (delikat), sharp (scharf), extra hot.

Admittedly, there are some other spices in there (mustard, cloves, etc.), but I think it would help to round out the flavors and create some other interest as you're removing the heat from the chilies.

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