Spicy Horseradish Sauce

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  • 1 16-ounce container sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon extra-hot prepared white horseradish (such as Atomic) or regular prepared horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon (scant) hot pepper sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon (scant) Worcestershire sauce

Recipe Preparation

  • Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover tightly; chill. Rewhisk before using.

  • Atomic brand horseradish sauce is available at some supermarkets and from cosmicchile.com. A word to the wise: Don't smell the horseradish to confirm that it's extra-hot (as we did). Take our word for it.

Reviews Section

What makes horseradish spicy?

Recently, I’ve been on a massive horseradish kick. I got a squeeze bottle of Beano’s Heaveny Horseradish Sauce for sandwiches (no, not the fart pill Beano), and I’ve been going to town on it. Most horseradish spreads or sauces I’ve ever had were really weak, but to my surprise, Beano’s version kicks my ass. I can’t get enough of it.

The first bite I think, “Oh, I can handle thi—” followed quickly by, “Oh, shit!” That’s when the sheer nasal-clearing fury of the horseradish kicks in. For about half a second I curse myself for flying too close to the sun, but when the pain quickly subsides, I rush in for another bite. This leaves me with a lot of questions. I’ve recently come to realize that I have no idea what makes this radish kick you in the face like a horse (see what I did there?).

I asked Subha Ranjan Das , an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University , and a long time Twitter friend, to help me answer the question of what makes horseradish punch you in the nasal cavity. Let’s deploy some science!

What makes horseradish spicy?

Horseradish is spicy (or pungent) because of a family of compounds called isothiocyanates. Allyl isothiocyante is the predominant “spicy” or pungent compound in mustard, horseradish, wasabi, and other crucifers, or the Brassicaceae family of plants (so, yes, in Brussels sprouts too!).

In the cells of these plants, there is an enzyme, myrosinase, that is kept nicely apart from the glucose molecules, or glucosinolates, as the plant is growing in the ground. But when the tissue of the plant is damaged—say, when you slice into it or grate it while cooking—the myrosinase breaks down the glucosinolates, producing those pungent, spicy isothiocyanates that make our noses run.

All of these isothiocyantes contribute to the activation of the body’s nociceptors, aka the neurons responsible for alerting us to harmful or noxious stimuli. (The isothiocyanate is actually the plant’s defense against pests, so this makes sense.) When our nocireptors are activated, the body is being sent signals along the same receptors that convey pain and heat. That’s why the spiciness also feels like heat, even in our noses.

Is the “spiciness” in horseradish the same as what’s in wasabi? Is there a difference between the two root vegetables?

The spiciness of horseradish is almost the same as in wasabi, because wasabi is also in the plant family Brassicaceae. Besides some slight flavor compound differences, wasabi has a higher percentage of allyl isothiocyanate. This means that it’s more volatile and, consequently, more fleeting as a feeling of pain and/or heat. Even if you eat a large amount of wasabi in one go, its spice level will dissipate quicker after you eat it. Horseradish’s kick sticks around a bit longer because it has other less volatile isothiocyanates (in higher proportions). Otherwise, the spiciness of wasabi and horseradish are taking all the same actions on your pain receptors, and lingering in the nose.

Is this heat comparable to hot peppers (capsaicin), or is this a completely different beast?

The spiciness we feel when we eat capsaicin is happening along the same pain receptors that react to horseradish, so the signal we feel is similar: pain and/or heat. But capsaicin is a different type of molecule, and it stays on the tongue. It isn’t very volatile, so the heat lingers differently. (Things like cinnamon and black pepper also have molecules that can act on the receptors to send “spicy” signals to the brain.)

What’s the best way to temper the heat of horseradish if it’s too intense?

Horseradish heat is intense based on amount (bigger bite = bigger burn), but the good news is that the burning/heat sensation should be fleeting. The enzyme can be degraded by heat: after all, cooked Brussels sprouts aren’t pungent, and horseradish isn’t spicy either if you boil it and/or heat it with milk or cream. Acid stabililzes isothiocynates, which is why prepared or grated horseradish is kept in vinegar. So adding baking soda is an alternate solution to degrade and dissipate the isothiocyanates.

There you have it, everyone. The spiciness comes from compounds called isothiocyanates in conjunction with an enzyme called myrosinase, which in turn causes my Beano’s Heaveny Horseradish Sauce to give me such masochistic joy. Of course, out of curiosity, I had to ask Das if you could weaponize horseradish. I play a lot of video games and think about stuff like this more often than most people would consider healthy.

His response: “Dangerous? Well, depends how you use it and in what quantities.” Then he sent me this link . Psst. The answer is yes.

Staff writer at The Takeout. Also: Saveur Humor Blog Award Winner, professional pizza maker, and insufferable troublemaker.

What is Horseradish?

Horseradish is a condiment that can be found in many forms including grated, powder or pickled and is used to make a number of sauces and dressings. Horseradish grows underground and is a close relative of mustard and wasabi.

The root is the part of the plant most commonly harvested but the leaves can be sauced or used in salads.

The Horseradish plant comes from Russia and hungry and is even referenced in greek mythology as well as Shakespeare. If you want to learn more fun facts about horseradish checkout this article from Spruce Eats.

Spicy Horseradish Tips

If purchasing horseradish, look for firm, unblemished roots. When cut, the root should be creamy white. The root can be stored for several months between 32-38 degrees F. (0-3 C.), but for the hottest horseradish sauce, use as soon as possible. The heat begins to fade the longer it is stored. Similarly, if you have horseradish sauce or cream that isn’t hot, the likely reason is that it has been sitting around for too long or it was made incorrectly. The sauce itself should be creamy white and will darken and lose potency as it ages.

To prepare your own horseradish, work either outside or in a well-ventilated room. Peel the roots and either slice or grate them. Sliced root can be ground in a food processor, blender, or meat grinder with a small amount of water. You can grate horseradish either by hand or with the processor’s grating blade with a bit of water. If it’s too runny, drain some water off or too thick, add a bit more. Be careful. The fumes from the root can be potent! Fresh crushed horseradish is at its strongest but once it is exposed to air, the pungency begins to wane.

The key to making horseradish hot, and I mean HOT, people, is to finish it off with the next ingredient — vinegar. Vinegar stabilizes the flavor and when you add it, will affect the spicy outcome. If you add the vinegar too soon, the horseradish will be milder in flavor. For “knock your socks off” spicy, be sure to wait three minutes before adding 2 to 3 tablespoons (30-44 ml.) of (5% strength) white distilled vinegar and ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml.) salt for each cup of grated root.

So, to achieve the hottest horseradish, use the freshest root possible and be patient wait three minutes before adding the vinegar and salt. Also, once your horseradish is complete, proper storage is crucial to maintain that heat. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for four to six weeks or in the freezer for six months or even longer.

Slow-Roasted Pork Roast with Sweet and Spicy Horseradish Sauce

We use fresh ham for this flavorful roast. The word “ham” usually brings to mind cured pork, but the word actually refers to the hog’s hind leg, generally from the hipbone to the middle of the shank bone. Fresh ham, then, is unprocessed it is not cured, dried, or salted, so it tastes like other tender cuts of fresh pork, such as the loin and pork chops. At Foster’s, we don’t slice this roast instead, we serve it in large, tender pulled chunks for a more casual presentation.

Notes Temperatures for Cooking Pork:

When cooking fresh pork (the term “fresh” is used to differentiate it from cured pork, or ham), take care not to overcook it. Chops and loins are quite lean, and will be dry and lacking in flavor if cooked too long. Trichinae are destroyed at 138 degrees, but to be on the safe side, most professional chefs serve pork between 145 and 150 degrees. The USDA recommends that pork prepared at home be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 to 165 degrees. Remember, however, that even after cooked pork is removed from the oven, it will continue to cook about 10 degrees as it rests. To avoid overcooking, we suggest that you remove the pork from the oven when a meat thermometer reaches 145 degrees in the thickest part. Then cover the pork loosely for 5 to 10 minutes. As it rests at room temperature, it will cook another 10 degrees, to 155 degrees. (For pork,155 to 160 degrees is considered medium 170 to 180 degrees is considered well-done.)

Horseradish Sauce Recipe

  1. First prepare your bechamel sauce. Melt half of the butter (7 tbsp) in a pot and add the flour. Also heat up the milk with the heavy cream in another saucepan.

For further details about bechamel sauce, please click here.

By doing so, it’s almost impossible to end up with lumps. But if there’s still a few lumps, grab an immersion blender and it’ll smooth your cream out in no time.

You can also use black pepper, but then you’ll en up with tiny black dots in your horseradish sauce. But there’s no flavor difference between them.

The amount of horseradish you want to use is a matter of taste. 5 ounces (150 g) of horseradish gives it a pleasant horseradish taste. But if you prefer a stronger taste, you can always add more.

If you use it to make ham rolls, this recipe makes enough horseradish sauce to fill 15-20 slices of ham.

What is cocktail sauce?

Cocktail sauce is a cool or room temperature sauce that is made to enhance the flavors of seafood, most particularly shrimp. It is made of a tomato base and seasoned with horseradish and citrus.

How Long Can You Keep Homemade Cocktail Sauce?

Kept it in an airtight container, in a refrigerator, this sauce will stay fresh for up to 6 months. You can also freeze cocktail sauce for at least 6-12 months.

Is cocktail sauce healthy?

It depends on your definition of healthy. Cocktail sauce is relatively low in calories and fat. Yet depending on how much you eat, can be high in sodium and carbohydrates. If pairing with shrimp or other high-protein seafoods, the carbs are definitely balanced out.

Does making homemade cocktail sauce, rather than store-bought, really make a difference?

I 100% believe that making shrimp cocktail sauce at home results in the most flavorful and fresh tasting sauce. There is no comparison. Store bought cocktail sauce also has more preservatives to keep on room temperature shelves for longer. Whereas the homemade version will keep in the fridge and taste fresh for a good amount of time.

Horseradish Cocktail Sauce

While sometimes the bottled stuff may be just as good as homemade, that’s certainly not the case for this Horseradish Cocktail Sauce!

      It adds umami to many dishes and helps to enhance the taste of this homemade cocktail sauce. While soy sauce is often recommended as a good substitute, the flavor is definitely different, with Worcestershire sauce being tangier and sweeter with a lot more depth.

      We would love to know if you tried this recipe, tag us on Instagram or Facebook so we can see your beautiful dish.

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      Recipe Summary

      • 1 pound horseradish root - peeled, ends trimmed, cut into 1/4-inch dice
      • ¾ cup water, or as needed - divided
      • ⅓ cup distilled white vinegar
      • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

      Place diced horseradish in a food processor add a splash of cold water. Pulse on and off until mixture begins to blend. Scrape down sides of food processor container (the fumes are very strong, so keep your face away from the bowl and the room well ventilated).

      Continue blending, adding a bit more water if mixture seems too dry. Process until horseradish is finely ground. Wait 2 minutes before adding the vinegar and salt supposedly this makes the horseradish hotter. After 2 or 3 minutes, add vinegar and salt. Continue processing until mixture is smooth and creamy or to your desired consistency, adding more water if necessary. Transfer to airtight storage containers. Refrigerate.

      Reviews (163)

      Most helpful positive review

      Most helpful critical review

      UPDATED Feb. 2010: I&aposve made this numerous times since, but with fresh dill, extra raw garlic & extra horseradish. It received rave reviews from everyone at the Super Bowl party. The women especially loved the healthy vegs & whole grain crackers with it. I also tried it as a spread for a prime rib sandwich

      LOWER FAT : Altho&apos perfect as is, I made it with 1/3-1/2 whole milk yogurt & the usual fresh dill, extra raw garlic & extra horseradish - it was as creamy

      delicious as always, so that&aposs how I&aposll make it from now on. Read More

      Spicy or Not Horseradish Cocktail Sauce

      To me, the essential ingredient in classic cocktail sauce is the fresh horseradish. I love it in almost equal proportions to the ketchup. But I realize that many people prefer it sweeter and less spicy. This is a cocktail sauce made to order for everyone, since the horseradish is served on the side and quickly whisked in by each diner. If everyone in your party likes it spicy, mix ¼ cup fresh horseradish into the base recipe.

      Notes Good for Seasoning: Shrimp, calamari, grilled oysters

      Total Time under 15 minutes

      Dietary Consideration egg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, low calorie, low cholesterol, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian

      Five Ingredients or Less Yes

      Taste and Texture hot & spicy, light, savory, sharp, spiced, tangy

      Type of Dish seafood sauce


      • 1 cup ketchup
      • 1 cup Heinz Chili Sauce
      • Juice and zest of 2 lemons
      • 8 shakes Tabasco sauce
      • ½ teaspoon sea salt
      • Freshly ground pepper , optional
      • 2 to 4 heaping tablespoons prepared white horseradish (not cream-style)


      In a medium nonreactive bowl, mix the ketchup, chili sauce, lemon juice, zest, Tabasco, and salt until well combined. Add the pepper, if desired. Serve immediately, or store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

      Just before serving, divide the horseradish between 4 small saucers and divide the sauce into 4 bowls. Serve a bowl of sauce with the horseradish on the side for diners to customize as they desire.

      Watch the video: Καυτερή σάλτσα ατσίκα (August 2022).