Happy thursday, fiery food fans. Today I have for you something quite interesting but decidedly not special. A very standard sauce from a company called Sood’s Fine Foods.
This, their Amazon brand chipotle sauce, is an item I wanted to talk about quite some time ago but, when ownership of the company changed hands, they stopped producing it as a stand alone product.
I couldn’t talk about it alone and, by the time that I was doing multi-product reviews regularly, I’d pretty much forgotten about it.
Yet, to my surprise, my local chilli shop’s owner hadn’t. He remembered that I wanted this sauce and so, when one of his gift packs got caught in the rain, I was given a free bottle with a slightly water-damaged label.
And I do mean slightly, since it’s barely even changed the colours.
The greens of their parrot have faded slightly to turquoise but it still sits pleasingly atop their Amazon brand in stark, vibrant contrast with the sauce’s otherwise rather muted label. The only other colours we see are a rich brown text and the creamy off-white of the background on which it sits.
But that background isn’t plain. It’s brought to life by faint silhouettes depicting the rainforest’s varied plant life. A perfect fit with their tropical theme.
It is, however, that rich brown of the text and it alone that speak of the sauce’s chipotle content.
And it’s “hot” rating? Well, I’ve been metaphorically burnt by such things too many times in the past. I don’t trust it one bit.
To truly get a sense of what this sauce is like, I’m going to have to crack it open but there I hit a snag:
This gift pack bottle comes with a built in flow restrictor – A Tabasco-like nozzle that can’t be popped out like most other companies’ ones. Great for splashing just a little bit on your eggs, chips or enchiladas, say, but a real problem when I’m trying to fill a spoon.
Still, I more or less manage and it ends up looking like this:
A real rich and inviting brown, fading through red to almost golden at its edges. Clearly a sauce that’s seen some thinning but also one that has a pretty decent red chipotle content. One that’s also evident in its blacker little chilli flecks.
It looks good and smells even better. And, despite its high vinegar content, it’s still got a decent thickness thanks to its xanthan gum. Enough to blob on like a thin ketchup.
Heat-wise, it’s far from what it claims. A high
that lingers but still within my “mild” range, all the same.
Yet, flavour-wise, it far exceeds what I expected when I first tried it. It’s tangy but rich, with a good hit of smoke and just a little touch of sweetness at the end, despite being a predominantly savoury sauce.
It’s a simple one, high on the vinegar to cheapen its production and lacking in anything particularly out there, as I said at the start. But there is one thing that’s unique about it. Its type of vinegar.
Sood’s, unlike anyone else selling in the UK but Dr. Burnorium, use cane vinegar. A variety made from fermented sugar cane that gives a distinctive, savoury molasses undertone. One that goes fantastically with chipotle and with more garlic-heavy sauces, making this and their sriracha the two standouts of Sood’s Fine Foods’ Amazon range.
And, because it’s so simple, there’s very little that this rich, tangy chipotle sauce won’t go with. Barbecues, burgers, burritos, breakfast egg dishes, chicken, fish, darker meats, con carne, bolognese, chips, falafel, sweet potato and so many more things that aren’t coming to mind right now.
For what it is, this sauce is fantastic but, sadly, it’s entirely so by accident. They use the same vinegar across their entire range because it’s readily available in columbia, with zero regard as to how it affects their other sauces.
It’s mere coincidence that it found such a good home here but it really is a perfect home for that rich, dark undertone and I really wish I could buy this sauce separately, rather than having to grab two others that I don’t particularly care for at the same time.
So, if anything, today’s take away message is less of a product recommendation and more of an ingredient one for any budding sauce-smiths among you. Always think about what your vinegar is doing for your sauce’s taste and do consider this cane variety when working with rich, smoky and/or garlicky flavours.
And, for completion’s sake, Sood’s sauce’s own ingredients are:
Cane Vinegar, Chipotle Pepper (23%), Sugar, Salt, Spices and Thickner E415 (Xanthan Gum).