Sweet and Sour

Alright, everyone, we’ve just seen a whole bunch of fruity flavours and I was planning to bring you another one. But then Brighton Hot Stuff went and shipped an unexpected extra in with my order and it felt like a far better fit for today.

So, this week, I’m putting that flurry of fruit-based products on hold, real quick, in order to add a little more variety to my line-up and show off their Extra Hot Sweet Chilli:

A brand new addition to the company’s range, which combines their delicious red habaneros with a mixed superhot blend, for a far fiercer take on the thai classic.

This is the very first batch of the sauce – Labelled “Batch #001” – and its packaged a tad unceremoniously. Without any artwork, heat shrink or even the three Xs and sideways text that I’m used to, from BHS.

Their brown paper remains, however, and it looks surprisingly good against the thick, seed-filled, orangey-red sauce within. Contents which we can see pretty clearly, through the two-fifty mil bottle, but I still think that we should take a closer look.

On my spoon, it’s just as thick and viscous as I was expecting but a little less sticky than your average sweet chilli. And there are a lot of red shreds and even a few black ones, mixed in with the abundant seeds. Implying not only a high chilli content but also the addition of something charred.

The real surprise, though, is just how tangy it is, in both aroma and taste. Slightly sweet, yet far more sour. And heavy enough on the vinegar that I can taste the rice wine, from which it was made, not just its acidity.

This sauce is undoubtedly asian but it’s not entirely thai. Even if it does have elements of the usual sweet chilli.

The familiar undertones of ginger and garlic are definitely at play but so, too, is the richness of roasted red habaneros and an almost herbaceous note that blends seamlessly with the rice. Above all of which rests the ever-present blend of sweetness and sour vinegar.

So, to me at least, this “sweet chilli” has its home chinese cuisine. Where its pepper-heavy flavour will work wonders in a stir-fry, its sour tendencies will balance out any overly sweet takeaway sweet and sours and that herbaceous quality will complement rich meats.

Which isn’t to say that it won’t work over my enchiladas, like any other sweet chilli. Just that it has better uses elsewhere.

As for its heat, well, those superhots don’t really make themselves known. It isn’t a super hot sauce. Or even an extra hot one. It’s merely habanero hot, with a

burn to the back of my mouth and throat. Highlighted just a little by its acidity.

It is, however, far hotter than most of the sweet chilli style, on which it was based. So, in that sense at least, its “extra hot” name holds true.

But I have had even hotter sweet chilli on here before, as well as more traditional. So I’d recommend getting this one for its uniquely chilli-forward and sour taste, more than for its heat or its sweet.

Here’s what went into it:

Habaneros, Dutch red chillies, rice wine vinegar, sugar, ginger, garlic,super hot chillies agar, sea salt and xanthan gum.

And you can find more about its red habaneros and dutch red chillies in my pepper encyclopedia.

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