Strawberry Sriracha?

Happy tuesday again, everyone. Today, there’s one last little freebie that I have to feature, before the year is out. So go ahead and take a look at this crazy concoction, sent to me by Alkemio Kitchen:

Its labelling may look the same as all of the company’s others but this brown sauce is their Strawberry, Roasted Pepper + Tamarind Sriracha. Which is a highly peculiar, yet enticing, jumble of words. Especially given how much I enjoyed the blend of savoury red peppers and sweet strawberry in The FBI’s Ball Breaker.

Have I saved the best for last? Not intentionally but perhaps I have.

Let’s take a closer look.

Upon further inspection, things sadly start to fall apart. Because this sauce’s ingredients list contains absolutely no garlic.

Instead, it claims to use:

Strawberry, red chilli, bell peppers ginger, apple cider vinegar, citric acid, lime, tamarind concentrate salt, rapeseed oil, agar agar, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate

Which still means that it boasts all of the strawberry that I was looking forward to but the “sriracha” name seems highly at odds with a product made with neither the style’s signature root nor its fermented peppers. So, if you came here for a fruit and garlic sauce, may I suggest Dorset Chilli Shop’s instead?

If, however, you’re just as interested in the peppers and strawberries as I am, perhaps we can still share our customary spoonful:

Out of the bottle, this sauce appears sticky, like barbecue, but flows far more freely. And it’s full of little black specks, from its roasted peppers, along with a few lighter ones, from their ground up seeds, but its overall colouration is more of a pinkish brown.

It’s neither thick nor thin and only lightly textured, to the tongue, yet its flavour is far more decisive. A simple, somewhat sweet, red pepper note, for an instant, then a bold hit of rich, savoury umami again, almost mimicking the missing garlic.

It’s clear, to me, that this is Fergus Blair – The company owner and chef – ‘s favourite of the five tastes but where exactly it comes from, in this sauce, is a mystery. Since it’s so much stronger than I could reasonably expect from roasted peppers and comes across almost as if he’s added MSG, like in his Jalapeno, Lime, Mustard, Turmeric.

Whatever the cause, though, it’s eventually tempered by an unexpectedly light acidity – Considering all of the different acids listed – and our flavour journey finally finishes on an equally subtle zesty note. Presumably from the lime but maybe bolstered by the product’s ginger, as well.

As, perhaps, the heat may also be. Since it’s such a deep and warming, throaty burn. Yet, if so, Fergus has used some remarkably mild chillies because their strength is nothing above a high

Enough for me to feel it but not really anything more.

A mild background heat, mirroring the mild background flavour of the dark tamarind. Which is still less subtle than the strawberry.

Alkemio Kitchen’s Strawberry, Roasted Pepper + Tamarind Sriracha is a decent sauce that’ll pair well with meats and stir-frys or add that umami hit to meat substitutes. But it won’t live up to all of the expectations set by its name and it’s certainly not my favourite of the company’s range.

That would have to go to either the Pineapple, Shiso Leaf, Calamansi, Sugar or the Watermelon, Cucumber, Lemongrass, Sugar.

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