Happy tuesday again, folks! Would you believe that I’ve got another set of review samples, this week?
Today’s pair come to us from Brighton Hot Stuff, who, as I’m sure you know by now, are a very collaborative bunch. Be it working with me, to show off their products, with the Lazy Scientist, for a fermented halloween special, or with the Chilli Children Project, to support a thematically appropriate charity with their Bird’s Eye sauce, these guys are always up to something. And, this time around, it’s a partnership with the famous Jaz Coleman, of Killing Joke, so that he can have his own hot sauce, to go with his recent pie line:
Yet I said samples, plural, so you know it’s not just his sauce on display today. No, I’m also featuring BHS’ other new addition to their line-up – Their Kimchi hot sauce:
Two products that, at first glance, have little in common beyond their producer. But both feature a key ingredient that’s completely changed otherwise awful vegan cooking, for me. So, in my mind, at least, they definitely belong side by side.
For Jaz Coleman’s sauce, the labelling seems to be more his work than that of the brighton crew and shows no indication of its special something. Instead opting to show off its namesake singer, clad in a black jester suit, inside of a playing card that reminds me of Batman’s own Joker. Perhaps in reference to how Jaz’s band shares its name with one of the series’ most famous story arcs.
I’m a little torn on this imagery, truth be told.
It shows Jaz screaming in a way that could be from pain but could also just as easily be his singing face – A fun blend of sauce marketing and his main work. But the spikes of his jest cap are too close to the background, in colour, to stand out when they extend past the card and the card, itself, looks rather cheaply made.
The whole of the labelling looks a little too clip art or stock photo-like for my tastes. Though I’m sure that fans of Killing Joke or Jaz’ classical solo work will appreciate it rather more than I do.
Yet, whatever your opinion on the art is, it’s hard to deny that it says nothing at all about the ingredients. So here’s the list, to clue you in:
Dutch red chillies, habaneros, cider vinegar, onion, fennel, pomegranate juice, maple syrup, sea salt, pomegranate, pomegranate molasses, garlic, Ghost peppers, agar and xanthan gum.
A blend of red chilli, fennel and three different forms of pomegranate. Meaning that it probably tastes of pomegranate, right? Well, not as much as you might expect.
While I’ve had pomegranate in my hot sauce once before, it was in the form of fresh seeds, stirred through a buffalo sauce to cover seitan “chicken” strips. An application where the fruit’s fresh tang and crunch worked wonders to liven up the bland taste and texture of the rest of the meal.
This sauce, when I pour my spoonful, has neither of those things.
Its taste, while definitely tart, is only slightly more so than BHS’ usual, vinegar-based sauces and carries none of that fresh flavour. And the texture, while one of the company’s thickest and easily their gloopiest, is not too far from buffalo sauce, itself. There are shreds of chilli and seeds but nothing too far beyond what you might get in a fermented cayenne mash.
This sauce does have pomegranate in it and I can definitely tell as much but its more of an undertone that complements the red chilli flavour, while the subtle licorice and anise-like hints from the fennel complement its lingering low
in the throat from the ghosts.
And sure, that heat is quite satisfying because the blend of peppers offers an upfront mouth burn, too, but this sauce still comes off as far less special than I was expecting. In fact, it could almost just be a vinegary red habanero sauce, until I try it on chicken and fish.
There is where the tartness and deep, rich, fruit hints really come into their own atop the equally rich, light meat. Gorgeous, either as is or made into its own special buffalo sauce, with just a touch of melted butter.
But what about the Kimchi?
The Kimchi sauce comes wrapped in a far more standard, Brighton Hot Stuff design of circles, crosses and black text on brown paper. No real imagery to speak of, yet an almost unmissable indication of the product’s key ingredient in the giant, vertical name.
There’s a whole host of other ingredients, listed on the back:
Cider vinegar, red habanero, Dutch red chillies, napa cabbage, onion, garlic, spring onions, carrot, sea salt, apple, rice flour, maple syrup, Ghost peppers, agar, seaweed and xanthan gum.
But don’t let them fool you. There are only two main flavours in this sauce: Bright, tangy and almost gingery, fermented cabbage and dry, fruity, red chilli. And you can see them both in the colour of this product:
A wickedly vibrant orange that matches the intensity of its flavour, comprised of the red from the chillies and the pale, yellowy green of the cabbage.
This is a seriously bold sauce, in both taste and appearance, with the thickest, chunkiest texture that I’ve ever seen from Brighton Hot Sauce. Which makes sense, because its tang is that of fresh spring onions and the almost citrussy lactic acid produced during fermentation, not that of the vinegar.
It’s just as tart as BHS’ others but in a far brighter way and the cabbage-forward taste that goes with it would be perfect for any stir-fry. Or any cauliflower dish, for that matter but the application that I’m most looking forward to, with this sauce, is burgers.
Why? Because I already know that kimchi provides the exact juiciness, freshness, tang and red chilli flavour needed to fix the dullest and driest of vegan meat substitutes. So just imaging how much better it could taste over an actually enjoyable burger – With or without real meat – has my mouth watering in anticipation.
This a fantastic, sharp,
sauce that I’m super excited to do more with.
My only slight issue with it is that it tends to clump, making pouring it a pain. But I’m not sure what could be done about that, since the usual flow restrictors wouldn’t let it out at all. So it’s nice to see them missing from today’s features.
Ultimately, I’d recommend this one heavily, though, and Jaz Coleman’s sauce is great, too, if you eat a lot of chicken and strong fish. So go check Brighton Hot Stuff out – Either in my overview or via the link in my sidebar.
Thanks for reading, everyone!