Yo, what’s up, peeps? We’ve been on the rich and dark for a few weeks now and I think it’s time for something bright and fresh, to shake things up.
So, today, we have a couple of vibrant, yellow sauces from Alkemio Kitchen, down in surrey. A highly experimental dinner club restaurant who are pretty new to the hot sauce scene but sure do seem to have some crazy flavours. Like the Jalapeno, Lime, Mustard, Turmeric and Pineapple, Shiso Leaf, Calamansi, Sugar that you see here.
And, while their names are a mouthful, they’re also pretty informative. If you know what all of those ingredients actually are.
For those of you who don’t, however, I’m more than happy to help. Since I am, after all, very excited to get into these two before the launch of their their crowdfunding campaign, later this month.
So, “Alkemio Kitchen”, alchemic symbols on the cover and a bunch of out there ingredients. I think we all know what drew me to this brand. But, while I appreciate their theming, the labels are still very much a work in progress.
They don’t really highlight what’s going on with each sauce, they damage easily (as seen near the bottom of the right bottle) and, honestly, I have no idea what the Death, Salt, Fire, Creation in their centre is supposed to mean.
Heck, one of them doesn’t even list the full ingredients on the back. I had to get it direct from their creator.
So, sure, I appreciate the aged look of the brown paper and the general aesthetic of alchemy. But what I’m here for is the real magic, inside.
Starting out with the greener of the two – The Jalapeno, Lime, Mustard, Turmeric – it’s creamy smooth, blended to an emulsion with both olive and vegetable oils. What few specks we see are ultra-fine, bordering on invisible, and the overall impression is definitely that of an american mustard sauce.
Yet the colour is wrong and, when it comes to the taste, those specks are far from hidden.
The first flavour that I get from this sauce is a strange one. A green one. One that’s filled with chlorophyllic jalapeño, herbs and citrus, but also umami. A strong, meaty richness, which seems to come from the use of soy sauce.
It’s peculiar. Highly so. Unlike anything else I’ve had. And then the mustard comes through.
The slightly sweet, slightly tangy, creamy, golden mustard, supported by turmeric, makes sense of everything. It brings the sauce together and, while it’s still miles off the US classic that it resembles, its place on hot dogs becomes as clear as day.
This is a rich, meaty, mustard sauce for a rich, trashy meat. Just with a level of green, freshness to add depth and make it feel more sophisticated. Which, honestly, really works.
Outside of hot dogs, chicken nuggets and maybe turkey, I’m not sure where I’d use this particular product. But, for those select few applications, it’s an amazing fit!
A perfect addition to any hot dog lover’s arsenal, with a heat that, while hotter than the average jalapeño sauce, still doesn’t go beyond a medium
on my scale. Coming in slowly, to match the mustard, itself.
Whereas today’s second product is a bit quicker on the burn and lets it linger a fair while longer, yet isn’t actually even that strong.
This pineapple sauce is absolutely littered with shreds of shiso leaf – A cool, refreshing, japanese herb – and I can really taste both that and the tang of its fillipino citrus. The sharp, fragrant and often grapefruit-like calamansi, which blends exquisitely with the tropical fruit base.
It’s not a new idea – Pineapple, mint and lime has been popular for longer than I’ve been alive – but it’s certainly a new twist. One which goes heavier on a slightly less menthol-laden relative of the mint, to capitalise on its herbal top notes, and swaps out the pure lime for a more tropical and, in this setting, slightly orangey, kumquat hybrid. Then adds just a dash of MSG for that familiar, savoury finish.
Not a lot, mind you. Not nearly as much as in the company’s mustard sauce. But I can certainly still tell that it’s there.
And, similarly, I can tell that the chilli’s there, too. But mostly by its heat.
It’s pretty obvious, even at a mere
because it quickly ramps up to the top of that number, prickles the tip of my tongue and stays there.
Mild, yet persistent. Which also works as a description of its flavour.
The slightly fruity, yellow pepper taste of this sauce’s finger chillies is ever-present but it’s also forever subtle. Overshadowed by the product’s far stronger, sweet and sour body. So you have to really look for it to pick it out.
It contributes far more to the feel than the flavour but what it does contribute fits in nicely, complimenting the fruit and herb focus. So I have no complaints and, in fact, I really appreciate how the subtler pepper lets Alkemio’s more obscure ingredients shine.
I was hopeful, when I picked up this bottle, but I wasn’t actually expecting to taste the differences between mint and shiso in this sauce. So for the shiso flavour to be clear enough to tell that it’s a lighter, sharper leaf is super impressive. And the same goes for tasting the kumquat in the calamansi, rather than it just being grapefruit or lime-flavoured.
Alkemio Kitchen knew what they were doing when they threw these sauces together and I love them!
I love this second one a little more, truth be told, but that’s because it better suits my diet. Highlighting the veg and chicken in my curries with its herbs and umami, while adding a touch of fruitiness to their base. Working with almost any such dish, irrespective of its country of origin.
I eat hot dogs rather more rarely than I do indian, japanese and thai but today’s two are both real stunners, if used in the right setting. I would happily recommend either of them.
So, if they’ve caught your attention, do give Alkemio Kitchen a look, on Facebook or Instagram, to purchase their products and stay up to date with their campaign. Or check out my encyclopedia page for more sauces which use the green jalapeño.
Here are the ingredients lists for today’s two:
Jalapeños, lime, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, mustard, ginger, coriander, parsley, mint, salt, black pepper, sugar soy sauce (soybeans, wheat, salt), olive oil vegetable oil, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate.
Pineapple, yellow finger chilli, sugar, calamansi extract, shiso leaf, rice vinegar, citric acid, salt, monosodium glutamine, potassium sorbate, xantham gum.
Where the xanthan and xantham gums are two separate spellings of the same, harmless thickener and the monosodium glutamine is actually monosodium glutamate. More commonly known as MSG.
And yes, the use of MSG has long been the subject of some controversy but, while it can cause dizziness, headaches and other such ailments, it isn’t nearly as dangerous as people might have you believe. Any such side effects of its consumption stem from the exact same sodium ions that are found in common table salt and will be just as inconsequential unless you consume ridiculously high amounts of the stuff.
It is, after all, just a mixture of sodium and naturally ocurring glutamic acid, to give it that meaty, umami flavour.