Hola, mi amigos! It’s the fifteenth today and, apparently, that means mexican independence day.
So, while I don’t have anything truly mexican to offer you, I am going to be showing off a mexican-styled sauce, in keeping with the occasion. And that product is Angry Goat Pepper Co.’s Hippy Dippy Green:
One which you may well know as the second wing on Hot Ones’ eighth season but which interested me for entirely different reasons.
This is a verde sauce. Not just a green sauce – Despite that being the literal translation – but a tomatillo salsa in a bottle.
An american take on a classic mexican dip, with a few less than classic additions to spice things up a bit.
I’ll show you the ingredients list so that you can see what I mean:
Fire Roasted Jalapeno Peppers, Fire Roasted Serrano Peppers, Water, Lime Juice, Fire Roasted Tomatillos, Kiwi Fruit, Agave Nectar, Avocado, Tequila, Olive Oil, Granulated Garlic, Sea Salt, Onion Powder, Cumin, Black Pepper, Fresh Cilantro.
Where “cilantro” is american for coriander leaf, in case any of you don’t know. A common herb in mexican cooking.
In fact, the cumin, onion, garlic, tomatillos, lime and chillies are all very traditional ingredients and, when it comes to cooking methods, that fire roasting is hardly unusual, either. Angry Goat know what they’re doing with their verde but they still aren’t afraid to do things a little differently.
The first change that I see is the oil. Olive oil. Highly favoured in spanish cuisine.
This ingredient has obviously been added for creaminess, suggesting that they didn’t feel like the tomatillos, alone, were enough. Yet it also seems that they wanted something more vegan-friendly than the usual addition of umami-laden anchovies.
Perhaps because, as their “Hippy Dippy Green”, this sauce has to meet their idea of the hippy consumer.
Whatever the real reason, though, we see a similar choice, further up the list, in the form of agave nectar – A concentrated syrup made from the juice of the blue agave cactus and primary used as a honey substitute. A sweetener with a similar golden taste to the real deal but one which might also pair a bit better with the product’s tequila, given their shared origins.
So those are the ingredients that make sense, to me, but we still have two more unorthodox choices to consider. And those are pretty out there. Though it seems that the company knows as much, since they’re also used as selling points on the front cover.
Yes, I’m talking about the avocado and kiwi. Because I have no idea what they’re going to do for this sauce and I am quite intrigued. In fact, I picked this product up entirely out of the curiosity that those two ingredients evoked.
So I guess I’ll have to give it a go now and talk about the art a little later.
It’s a murky, swamp-green sauce with a pulpy, granular, almost gritty appearance and a thick consistency, yet easy pour.
Its aroma is green, savoury and smooth, with a slight tinge of cactus, but that isn’t what I get on the tongue. At least, not entirely.
The first taste that I get is a little fresher, from the coriander and lime, a little brighter, from that lime and the kiwi, and a tiny bit sweet and sour, from how both of those fruit interact with the honey-like agave nectar. There’s not any obvious cactus at play but, with so much depth to its green flavour already, this sauce hardly needs it.
And, despite all its complexity, the cumin, dried alliums, green chillies and even, interestingly enough, the avocado keep that green flavour grounded firmly by their earthiness. Creating a savoury, serrano-forward body that leads me, with a strong hand, into phase two.
The phase where this product’s sharp and throaty, medium
comes through, alongside a wave of unexpected smoke. Because this isn’t just a jalapeño and serrano sauce. This is a fire roasted jalapeño and serrano sauce and it wants to make that fact known.
The people at Angry Goat Pepper Co. have not skimped on charring their peppers in the slightest and they’ve left that all of that blackened skin in the bottle. As I’m sure you could see from the flecks of black and dark brown in my spoon.
It may taste fresh and vaguely verde-like, upfront, but this sauce is all smoke and char in the tail. Helped along, just a touch, by its dry tequila tang.
And it’s that char, not the avocado or the kiwi, that really makes it unique.
Yet the only reference to smoke that I see anywhere on the label is in the bloodshot eyes of its turtle mascot – A reference to another sort of herb, associated with the hippy crowd, which Sean Evans, himself, mentioned part of, when he briefly criticised the art.
Personally, though, I like the low-res, sketchy nature of its animal mascot. It gives the product a more personal feel, while its green skin and rainbow tie-dye shell perfectly reflect the Hippy Dippy Green name.
Sure, it could say more about the avocado and kiwi or that powerful, smoky aftertaste but it does what it’s intended to and it has its own special charm.
Isn’t that enough?
I enjoy the art of this product just as much as I enjoy the sauce inside and, while I wouldn’t recommend it for verde lovers, I’d definitely suggest it over eggs, fish and tacos, for fans of green chilli. Or as a dip for tortilla chips, falafel and pakoras. Or even atop a hearty shakshuka.