Sriracha’s Shadow

So, dear readers, we’ve seen both black garlic and sriracha quite recently but, this week, we’re seeing them together. Looking at an actual black garlic sriracha that just got released.

Which, because it’s such a garlic-forward style of sauce to begin with, should really highlight the difference between the regular root and its own blackened bulbs. Though, I’ll admit, that’s only half of why I’m excited for this one.

The other half is its maker – Daddy Cool’s – who’ve put out at tonne of great products, all throughout the half decade that I’ve been blogging. You can find more on them in my sidebar, to the right, but the short of it is that this is the latest entry into their square bottle line. Which, up until now, has been nothing short of amazing.

So obviously I had to jump on this sriracha the second that it hit metaphorical shelves. Because my expectations are through the roof. But don’t think that I’m going to go easy on it if they aren’t met, either.

Starting out with just the appearance, it doesn’t look all that different to DC’s reaper ketchup.

The sauce, itself, is a good deal darker but Ketch the Reaper already came in a dark and sinister bottle, with the majority of its colour coming from the red chillies in the company logo. The only real difference here is in the fake brushwork, around that logo. Which is now white and black, rather than red and black.

It’s not the most obvious of changes and so I feel like I could easily mix the two up on a shelf, were I not paying proper attention. But it does still look the part of both a Daddy Cool’s product and a Black Garlic one. So it’s certainly not a bad design.

And the heat difference isn’t going as big as you might think, either, if you do end up getting them confused. Because, while sriracha and reaper are normally opposite ends of the spiciness spectrum, Ketch was never the hottest of reaper sauces and this sriracha sports a shocking nine percent scotch bonnet, to amp it up. Not just the normal jalapeños.

Let’s see how that affects the taste, shall we?

When it hits my tongue, I definitely taste those ripe, fermented jalapeños.

Their deep, rich, red chilli flavour is the first thing to come through but it’s a tiny bit more peppery than in most srirachas. Tinged by slight hints of chinense chilli, in the form of those similarly-coloured scotch bonnets. Though they’re barely noticeable at this stage.

What is immediately noticeable, however, is the tang. The vinegar, in this product, not as balanced out by sugar as in supermarket brands, makes its acidity more clearly known. Rather than providing those ketchup-like, sweet and sour notes that the style normally has.

And the usual hit of garlic isn’t there, either.

Instead of the root’s pungent, earthy overtones, we get a rich, dark undertone that blends seamlessly into this sriracha’s fake fish sauce and, alongside that tang, starts to taste almost like worchestershire. With some rather malty elements mixed in.

Perhaps not what I expected but a flavour that’ll add a delightful depth to many a meat dish or tomato sauce. While also letting the sauce be just as at home over welsh rarebit as it is over a chinese stir-fry.

And then, as the fish sauce fades away, the black garlic lingers just a moment longer, reminding us that this is still a sriracha, when it blends with the returning taste of the peppers. Peppers which then leave a

fire atop the roof of my mouth and around the sides of my tongue. The scotch bonnets coming through a good bit more now that I’m sensing their stinging heat.

It isn’t extra, like Ketch the Reaper, but it still holds up to the label’s claims and provides a pleasing contrast to the product’s smooth texture. Alongside that occasional stray seed.

This is a darn good sauce and it definitely deserves its place in Steve Cooley’s square bottle range.

Here’s what’s gone into it:

Red Jalapeno Peppers (38%), Sweet Bell Peppers, Brown Sugar, Vinegar, Black Garlic (9%), Scotch Bonnet Chilli (9%), Water, V Fish Sauce (water, salt, sugar, seaweed extract – SOYABEAN protein, yeast extract, vinegar), Spices, Salt, E415, Citric Acid.

The V in the V Fish Sauce presumably standing for vegan, since there’s no actual fish in it and the bottle confirms that this sauce is both vegetarian and vegan. As well as gluten free.

So, in short, you’ve got no excuse not to give it a go.

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