Hey folks, how’s it going?
I’ve just got the one product for you, this time, but it’s the long awaited third and final Haskhell’s sauce and I’ve saved their best for last. Or at least their most popular:
This is their pineapple curry and, aside from having a two word name, its label looks identical to Haskhell’s others. Yet that warm, golden, yellowy-brown, around its edges, sets it apart from the rest of the range. As well as almost anything else that I’ve ever had.
It’s a unique, beautiful and enticing shade, when seen through the sides of the bottle. But how is it when it’s not behind glass?
Up close and personal, it reminds me of turmeric – Which is unsurprising, since that root is a rather common curry spice – yet this sauce’s golden brown appears far more natural than the neon yellow of a fresh turmeric sauce. And far more full of depth, too.
Which isn’t to say that Dalston Chillies’ creation wasn’t a goodie. Just that there’s so much more than a single shade to today’s.
I see pulp and juice. Whole seeds and tiny shreds. Light specks of pale spices and dark, black ones of peppercorn. As well as plenty of little pieces of bright, red chilli.
According to its maker, this is a habanero sauce. But you’ll find far more than just that beneath its surface. Including three other kinds of hot pepper:
Pineapple, Pineapple Juice, Vinegar, Onion, Brown Sugar, Habanero Chillies Teja Chillies, Cayenne Pepper, Ginger, sea salt, Turmeric, Cumin, Mustard Powder, Chilli Powder, Coriander, Fenugreek, Ground Black Pepper, Curry Powder (Mustard).
The full list is huge, yet at least half of it could be summarised in a single word. The mysterious “spices”, which we see on almost every other bottle.
So Haskhell’s haven’t been as coy about what goes into their creation as most of the brands that I feature. But, if any of you want a lighter read, here’s how I’d summarise it. Since it’s actually a very straightforward recipe:
Pineapple, Vinegar, Onion, Brown Sugar, Chillies, Spices (Mustard), salt.
It’s just that Haskhell’s have put a tonne of time and effort into balancing the exact ratio of pineapple flesh and juice and the different flavours of their peppers and spices. And it shows in the taste and texture of their product.
Neither thick nor thin, with a slight chunkiness and a touch of bitter, from its indian teja chillies, to offset the sweetness of the fruit.
Its spices match that initial indian vibe, with a deep, earthy, woody flavour. Yet the heavy use of turmeric and mustard, paired with the sharpness of the sauce’s onions and the fruitier habanero peppers reminds me of more bajan-style sauces. And, while I can taste the pineapple in it, it’s far from the main flavour.
This is not the dansak in a bottle that I was expecting but rather an excellent blend of other north indian cuisine with the sharper, yet also fruitier, curries of the caribbean. And, as unorthodox as that might be, I can see exactly why it’s so popular.
It isn’t my personal favourite, from Haskhell’s range, but it is delicious and it is the one that I’ll finish first. Because, unlike their clearly mexican, chocolate orange chipotle sauce, this one has no set style to pair with.
It’ll go with most indian curries and all caribbean ones, yes, but it’s also just as great with a japanese curry, some thai varieties or even a chip shop one. And, if cheap, chip shop sauce doesn’t suit you, you can always just throw this over your battered fish or sausages directly.
Plus, it goes with other caribbean food of just about any sort, it’s great with chicken and I love it in an onion-heavy stir-fry.
I have maybe a quarter of the bottle left, as I’m writing this, and it won’t last much longer. Because it goes so well on so many things, with a strong
tongue tingle that’s hot but not too hot for the mainstream market. And nowhere near enough to put a damper on my use of it.
So, if a tangy, earthy and fruity fusion of curry flavours sounds appealing, I’d strongly recommend giving Haskhell’s Pineapple Curry a go. It’s less sweet and less strongly centred on its namesake fruit than I’d expected, yet all the better for it. And it’s the first sauce that I’ve seen use the teja chilli.
I’m told that it’s a relative of the common thai cayenne but its drier, more bitter taste is both distinctive and surprisingly welcome, in today’s feature. With the regular variety presumably just bulking it out a tad, while the habanero contrasts it with bright fruitiness and supports the sauce’s pineapple.
They really knew what they were doing when they made this blend.