How’s it going, everyone? It’s tuesday again and, this week, I want to revisit a concept that I first stumbled upon two months ago: The idea of hot sauce for kids.
Because, as it turns out, Hot Pods’ Mild Beast isn’t the only attempt at such a child-friendly product. Our old friend, Michael, from Price’s Spices, makes something rather similar.
This is his Junior Sensation:
A gentle blend of mango and the oh so mild trinidad perfume pepper.
A pepper that’s commonly used to fill in for the hotter scotch bonnet, which appears to be what it’s doing here, too. Given that the Junior is only a slight tweak on his award winning Haitian Sensation.
A product that’s been part of his line for rather longer.
So, with that being the case, I won’t be trying just one of the pair today. I’ll be giving both a go, starting with the original, to see how they compare. As well as giving my thoughts on each as a stand-alone sauce.
Though I doubt that they’ll be that different in flavour…
The trinidad perfume, in my experience, does taste quite different to the scotch bonnet. It’s not so much savoury and fruity, like the red variety, or tropical, like a good quality yellow, but fresh and carroty, like an ají amarillo. Or maybe like an orange habanero, minus all of its enticing, mango-like fruit qualities.
From a pure flavour perspective, I find the perfume pretty underwhelming, to be honest. Yet its use here intrigues me, nonetheless.
Why? Because it’s still a unique pepper. One with all the heat of a supermarket bell, yet a very different taste. And, while that taste may leave me wanting, everything that it lacks could easily be made up for by the base of Michael’s sauce. His spiced mango pulp.
So, whether it tastes the same as the scotch bonnet version or not, my hopes for his heatless Junior Sensation are high. But let’s set it aside for just a moment, while we give the original a go.
The bulk of the Haitian Sensation is exactly the consistency that you’d expect from seventy percent mango pulp – Thick, yet smooth. Viscous, yet easy to pour. The same warm, vibrant, orangey yellow of the fruit, itself.
But the sauce carries tiny chunks, too. Ones which I can only assume come from the garlic, onion, chilli seeds and ginger, given their pale colouration. While the actual flesh of the chilli is even more finely shredded and well hidden but appears to be red.
A surprise but a good one, for me at least, since I find that the red bonnet’s savoury fruitiness does a lot to add richness and depth to mango sauces. As I discovered way back when I was trying Chilli Pepper Pete’s. Whereas the yellow variety tends to only amp up what’s already there.
And indeed, that’s what I get when it hits my tongue. Rich, full-bodied mango, enhanced by subtle hints of savoury, red fruit that stem from both the chilli and a small amount of tomato but are only further enhanced by the garlic.
From there, I also get a tiny bit of lemon, in the tail, and the sauce’s white wine vinegar brings a lovely, light note of grapes, rounding out the fruit flavour without any extra sweetness.
Michael’s taken the mango in a slightly different direction, with this Haitian Sensation, than what he went for with his Lucknow Chutney, but it’s just as delicious. If not even more so!
He suggests using it with pulled pork and I truly believe that that would taste divine. As it would, too, with chicken, a cheesy greek salad or a whole range of different, indian-style curries.
But, for me, this just has to be the ultimate taco topper.
Let’s imagine, though, that this one isn’t for you. That you can’t handle its strong yet slow building,
in the throat. There’s no shame in that.
But there is a potential answer. A Junior Sensation, for those who want just the flavour of this hot sauce, without the heat.
Is it the solution that it makes itself out to be?
Out of the bottle, today’s second sauce is ever so slightly lighter than its full-heat counterpart, presumably because of the yellower peppers that it’s packing. And, while its appearance is otherwise identical, it feels just a tiny bit smoother on my tongue. Which is an odd detail, given that its chilli content is actually higher.
Both of those are very minor details, though, and the difference in taste isn’t too much greater.
The Junior Sensation offers a slightly brighter, fresher flavour, with a little less layering to its fruit. It lacks the red chilli component that really tipped its Haitian version over the edge into astounding, for me, but it’s still an excellent sauce with a clear mango focus and everything else that the other had to offer. As well as that extra brightness of its own.
If I were to pick one of the two to try over ice-cream, apple crumble or cake, this would be it. And I might also look to it first for something like a vegetable tagine, where those red notes are already abundant in the dish and the added brightness will help to balance them.
Both will work for any of the dishes that I’ve mentioned, though, since they both fill the same role and taste very similar. Even if they don’t taste quite identical. And even if Michael, himself, has made a few more child-oriented suggestions for the Junior, in particular.
The Haitian will still work just as well in cheese toasties, over bangers and mash or atop a rack of ribs. He’s just used those as examples that might appeal more to the junior audience.
As for its burn, though, his description of it as that of a korma is spot on. I can taste where it should be – Possibly the most bizarre feature of the trinidad perfume – but I can’t feel it, at all. And it’s just barely enough for the rest of my family to pick up on, in a full spoonful, while the Haitian would be pushing the upper limits of what they could handle on food. If not surpassing them.
The Junior Sensation is an incredibly mild
sauce, the miniscule firepower of which might even be more from its extra white peppercorns than from the actual peppers that it uses. Yet, either way, it still brings a distinctly chilli flavour to the table, along with its tropical fruit, and comes very close to replicating the award winning great taste of the company’s scotch bonnet sauce.
I won’t be using it much, if I’m honest, because that scotch bonnet sauce exists. But I’m still very happy that the trinidad perfume version does, too, because it means that I can share the fantastic flavour with friends and family, for whom the original would prove too spicy.
So I wouldn’t recommend getting both of these for yourself but I would recommend either. And, if you know someone who likes their food a good deal hotter or milder than yourself, the option’s there. A fact that I really do appreciate.
Here’s What goes into the Haitian Sensation:
Mango Pulp (Mango, Sugar, Water, Citric Acid) (71.4%), White Wine Vinegar, Tomato, Onion, Scotch Bonnet Chilli (4.2%), Garlic, Lemon Juice, Ginger, Black Pepper, Salt
And here’s the Junior’s slight variation:
Mango Pulp (Mango, Sugar, Water, Citric Acid) (70.1%), White Wine Vinegar, Tomato, Onion, Trinidad Perfume Chilli (6%), Garlic, Lemon Juice, Ginger, Black Pepper, White Pepper, Salt