Creamy Caribbean

Happy tuesday, fiery food fans! Last week was fiesta time with Saucey Lady and yesterday was a nice, relaxed birthday celebration for one of my relatives but today, we’re back to work in the Pepper Kitchen.

Yes, this week, we’re trying sauce from Pepper Kitchen – A three-man company from east london who put their own spin on a trinidadian family recipe. Or should I say spins?

After all, I don’t just have the one bottle from them:

PKSauces

Sat together on my plate, Pepper Kitchen’s “Very Hot Sauce” and “Dangerously Hot Sauce” look a lot alike but there’s rather more to their labelling than comes across on camera.

In addition to the warning and change of name for their Dangerously Hot, the faint, wavy lines that break up the Very Hot’s background have turned into concentric circles. And, while it’s easy to chalk it up to lighting, the Dangerously really is both darker and redder than its counterpart. In terms of its label and also the sauce inside.

I feel like more effort has gone into distinguishing this pair than either of my last two features but, even then, they’re definitely the two most visually similar of PK’s range. The full four Pepper Kitchen sauces, when all lined up, provide something of a mini rainbow for us:

PK-hot-sauces_01
Image taken from the Pepper Kitchen Website

They look simple yet professional, are full of colour and instantly signal what sets them apart. They don’t say “trinidad”, “mustard” or even “hot sauce” with their appearance but they do tell us everything else. And I’m here to tell you about the flavour, anyway.

Though, before I do, I’d like to talk about their consistency. Once I’ve got enough out to show you.

PKSpoons

They are, after all, very thick sauces, which pose quite the challenge when I first attempt to get them out. And, as you can see, the Dangerously Hot on the right put up slightly more of a fight than its tamer companion.

It came out in small dollops but the appearance of both is still silky smooth.

Why? Because Pepper Kitchen’s base recipe isn’t your classic, west indies-style hot pepper sauce. It’s mustard and scotch bonnet-based, yes, but it also blends in olive oil for a delightful, creamy emulsion. Just like back in East Coast Chilli Co.‘s Chance.

It looks good and it feels good but it’s more than that. The creamy texture actually changes the flavour. Because “creaminess”, as we know it, is just the tongue’s reaction to a fine emulsion coating every taste-bud. It’s not, strictly speaking, a taste, despite how much it seems like one.

Taste or not, though, today’s sauces blend that creamy quality with the rest of its ingredients exquisitely, using it to soften out the more aggressive parts of the mustard’s flavour, compliment the lighter, earthier tones and spread the chillies’ warmth to every corner of the tongue. And, in the case of the Dangerously Hot, the base of my nasal passage, too.

It’s a slow onset burn but it’s a nice, hot

3.5/11

Heat

when it gets there, in the Very Hot.

And, while I wouldn’t actually call the suped-up “Dangerously Hot” version dangerous, its added superhots really do give it an extra wallop worthy of a

5.5/11

Heat

It does get just a tad uncomfortable when I overdo it. Which is saying something, given how used to chilli I’ve become over the last few years. If you enjoy both mustard and super hot sauce, you’re unlikely to find a better combination.

But, from a pure flavour perspective, the richness and lightly floral taste of the scotch bonnet pairs noticeably better with Pepper Kitchen’s mustard base when on its own. The reaper definitely doesn’t ruin the Dangerously Hot but it muddles that perfect pairing, just a little, with its own sour/bitter notes. And that’s all it takes for me to prefer the milder version – The Very Hot.

Whichever one works for you, though, both are utterly delicious and will make a gorgeous addition to caribbean curries or patties, as well as the more british beef and onion, a ham sandwhich, just about anything involving mayo or, my personal favourite, a well-salted portion of chip shop fish and chips.

I’d hesitate to call either my favourite sauce but I’ve been getting through them at a rate of knots and, when it comes to mustard-based and caribbean sauces, nothing even compares to how much I’ve enjoyed this pair!

Pepper Kitchen’s Very Hot contains:

Apple Cinder Vinegar, Scotch Bonnet (19%), Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Carrot, Brown Sugar, Garlic, Mustard Seed, Spices, Herbs, Salt, Xanthan Gum.

And their Dangerously Hot has an almost identical list, changing only 1% of the chilli content:

Apple Cinder Vinegar, Scotch Bonnet (18%), Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Carrot, Brown Sugar, Garlic, Mustard Seed, Spices, Herbs, Salt, Trinidad Scorpion Pepper (0.3%), Carolina Reaper (0.3%), Bhut Jolokia / Ghost Pepper (0.3%), Xanthan Gum.

It makes a surprising amount of difference, given how little they’ve actually done to the recipe, but the vast majority of that difference is in the heat.

Much as I prefer the Very Hot, I wouldn’t recommend picking it because of my preference. You’d be better off just grabbing the version that best suits your own chilli tolerance.

Both are equally creamy, peppery and mustard-heavy and the difference in flavour, while noticeable, is actually quite subtle.

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