A Late Start

Happy new year everyone! I know that I’m a whole month late but, well, twenty-twenty wasn’t exactly the best of years and the post hasn’t exactly been the best. Though I certainly can’t blame everything on Royal Mail, either.

As it turns out, the company that I’d hoped to feature in january is very new and still getting used to the workings of their online store. To the point where my purchase went to the wrong email address and only got noticed when I asked them what had happened.

So, if you plan on buying from Ignis, I’d suggest sending a polite “hello” with your order, just to make sure that it’s been seen. But they’ve been very attentive ever since and clearly care about their products, so I’m not going to let that slip up colour my opinion of their sauce.

I am, however, going to use it as a bit of an excuse to turn this post into a comparison. To show their JGA7 off alongside a second, less clinically named green sauce that I found while I was waiting.

Two sauces which look quite different, yet still both put a thai twist on a classic green chilli.

First up, Ignis’ JGA7 stands for Jalapeño Green Apple and is a fermented jalapeño sauce, reinforced with fruit and thai-style spices. Here’s its full ingredients list:

Jalapenos, Cider Vinegar, Green Apple, Lime Pulp, Onion, Sugar, Garlic, Salt, Spring Onion, Ginger, Lemon Grass, Kefir Lime.

And here’s the one for today’s other product – The Somerset Chilli Co.’s Narco:

Coconut, lime, Padron pepper, coconut milk, green pepper, white wine vinegar, lemon, garlic, onion, salt, pepper

A completely different list, clearly more focussed on the lime and coconut pairing but hopefully still with enough of that wonderful, spanish padron coming through to fit today’s theme and make it something special.

After all, as much of a spanish classic as they are, padrons aren’t the kind of pepper that you see every day and I’ve only ever found them in a sauce once before. So my hopes are pretty high.

The packaging does temper my expectations a tad, though, since it shows only generic, red hab or bonnet mutts behind the company name and no other peppers. The only actual ingredients that it cares to highlight are the far smaller coconut and lime.

Yet even that is better than the nothing which Ignis gives us.

Ignis gives us really bold, strong branding, with the green and red of their logo repeated across every other aspect of their label. All set on a black background with a good level of gloss, for maximum impact.

Their packaging looks great – The more impactful of the two, by far – but its visuals say absolutely nothing of what’s inside. Plus, the text on the front doesn’t mention anything beyond the pepper and heat level, either.

The Somerset Chilli Co.’s Narco does a far better job of conveying its key flavours. And yes, the coconut and lime are the key ones.

The pepper definitely colours my spoonful but its thick, chunky texture and smooth, creamy undertones are all coconut. Whereas the sharp lime very much dominates the top notes of the product and leaves a lingering sense of sourness, around the edges of my mouth, after eating.

There’s a touch of fruitiness, from the white wine vinegar, and I am getting subtle undertones of onion, garlic and green pepper but the lime and coconut really do dominate the experience. To the point where, not only can I not taste the specific type of chilli, I also can barely even make out its

kick beneath that of the acid.

So perhaps not the sauce for padron-lovers which I had hoped for but a great addition to thai curries, nonetheless, and certainly not a bad product, by any means.

Whereas Ignis’ JGA7 is anything but subtle about its chilli.

Its green-brown colouration, when I pour myself a spoonful, is exactly what I’ve come to expect of aged jalapeño products and, while it isn’t as thick as the green srirachas that I’ve had in the past, it has the exact same graininess.

As well as, for that matter, the same deep, earthy, chlorophyllic green taste. Just without the garlic or the vast amount of sugar.

The JGA7 does have some sweetness to it but it’s subtle, all from the apples and doesn’t really replace the natural sugars that the peppers lost during fermentation.

It’s honestly quite cloyingly “dry”, on its own, and the bitter chlorophyll, from the green chillies, isn’t helping. It’s not really the most pleasant of sauces, on a spoon, but things change over food.

That earthy green is absolutely gorgeous over samosas or pepperoni pizza and the subtle undertones of citrus, zingy spices and kefir lime leaf make it an equally great fit for noodle dishes and other thai food. Or, to put a twist on the company’s own suggestion, why not try it, with toasted pine nuts, as a dressing for tuna pasta salad?

Used properly, this sauce is stunning. Though more with it’s bold, earthy flavour – Brought forth by the company’s three month ferment – than with its slowly building

throat burn.

From what I understand, this is Ignis’ mildest product and, while it certainly has heat, it’s a gentle, low medium that shouldn’t challenge most people. Just provide a pleasant warmth to match its spices.

So, while today’s sauces are very different, both seem pretty close on the heat scale and fit the same thai cuisine. Though the JGA7 has rather broader uses, outside of that genre, which make it my favourite of the two. The one which I’d recommend, if I could pick only one.

Yet, as I’ve said, they’re very different sauces and I know that there will be fans of the coconut and citrus Narco out there.

7 thoughts on “A Late Start

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