Another Mahi Fine Foods sauce this month, everyone, and it isn’t really listed as mild, medium or hot. Instead, this one gets a number for its heat, a rather hard to interpret “2”.
Yet its name implies it’ll at least put a little more focus on its peppers.
Jalapeños that have ripened fully to red. Could the “Red Jala” really use anything else?
Well, I wasn’t one-hundred percent sure. I had to double check on this one and another item of theirs before placing my order and that’s when the company decided to just up and send me them for free. What lovely people.
And, at the same time as asking for my address, they did, indeed, confirm the chilli content. It is, indeed, nothing but jalapeño.
But the jalapeño isn’t all that hot, as chillies go, and there are no obvious signs on the label to suggest that it puts focus on the fire.
In fact, most of what we see is nothing but block colour. Albeit a strangely informative one.
The deep, rich red, maybe even maroon, of the Red Jala’s packaging hints at an equally rich and red flavour, with mild earthy and fruity hints. It’s a hell of a descriptive shade and it definitely suits the pepper.
Before we find out if it fits the sauce, though, there’re still a couple of art details that I’d like to address. And one lacking detail I’d like to talk about as well.
You see, this background colour is a good deal darker than that of Mahi’s Peri Peri Garlic Sauce. The same dark text and hollow logo just wouldn’t be visible enough at a distance. To stand out, they had to really lighten up.
And so they did. The majority of this bottle’s text is bright white and, while the only change to the company’s logo has been an equally white underlay, it looks completely transformed.
Where once there were soft, airbrushed edges, now there is only bold, hard silver.
The two give their respective sauces a very different feel but there’s more to visually set them apart than just that.
There’s also the complete lack of any side boarders on this one. Gone along with the old-worldy icons that were embedded into them.
The Red Jala keeps touch of the traditional in its sandy-coloured strip along the bottom but most of it has gone, in favour of a bold yet simple approach that speaks volumes about its taste.
A taste that I can’t put off trying for any longer. Let’s dig in.
It flows easily, having none of the starch or xanthan gum that made Mahi’s last one so thick. And, speaking of recent sauces we’ve seen, this strikes me, to my surprise and amusement, as more ketchupy in flavour than last week’s actual ketchup.
It’s not a lot but a hint of that blend of tomato, sugar and vinegar comes through in the Red Jala in a way that it simply didn’t in that slow roast tomato sauce.
What I’m getting most, though, is something even less expected. The last ingredient on its list:
Water. Tomato. Sugar. Red Chilli. Vinegar. Salt. SOYA SAUCE (CONTAINS SOYA).
The dark taste of soy sauce, blending in with some of the earthier notes from the peppers to produce a rather savoury upfront flavour with an almost herbal, dry finish.
Mahi refer to this sauce’s use as a barbecue marinade on the label and I can’t help but see that in it. That soy element just begs to be paired with smoke or an equally dark meat, so combining the two in such a way seems perfect.
But I do see a few other uses for it, too.
It certainly won’t hurt a bolognese or con carne but chinese food such as egg fried rice or a garlic and black bean dish would be equally fitting. As would using it to flavour tofu.
The company even suggest pairing it with pizza or garlic bread and, while I’m a little uncertain on the second of those, cheese and pepperoni sounds like a good call to me.
I’m not getting a lot of the tomato from this product but the bit that I do and the redder, less earthy side of the jalapeños will certainly help it go with cheese.
In terms of its strength, this sauce provides a low
that warms mostly the front of the mouth but does, if only just, warrant being called a medium.
It’s nothing stunning heatwise but it’s a little more than Mahi’s last sauce and it definitely puts more focus on its pepper.
Yet, for me personally, I’d still like to see its flavour a little more centre stage. Less secondary to the soy.
It’s a decent sauce and I’d certainly be happy to pick it up in a supermarket but it’s not really as special as most of what I’m used to reviewing. Sorry guys.