Hey, speaking of wax-topped bottles, do you lot remember Balefire? Because I bought one more product from them than I’ve had chance to show you, so far. And this one’s a doozy!
A white-waxed, black label sauce which instantly says “extreme” with that stark contrast. As well as in big letters on the front of the bottle, below its name.
Made with one of my favourite superhot chillies because, while some like it hot, others, like me, like it naga.
Today’s sauce isn’t made with just any old naga, though. It’s formed from fermented naga vipers. A three way cross between the original scorpion pepper, the naga morich and the infamous ghost, which was once the world’s hottest chilli, until the reaper surpassed it.
Yet, as hot as it’s liable to be, it isn’t that ferocious fire which has me excited for today’s taster. It’s the distinctive flavour of its signature pepper.
The naga viper inherits all of the deep, red, savoury chilli taste present in the ghost pepper and naga morich, then blends it with a touch of scorpion fruitiness and just a hint of something uniquely green. Providing a delightfully fresh counterpoint to its richer base flavour.
As well as to similarly savoury dishes, like the classic con carne.
I enjoy this former record holder a whole lot but I don’t see it anywhere near as often. So I’m always happy to give any company who use it a fair try. Especially when they craft such fantastic sauces as Balefire.
Today’s seems a little conceptually tame, compared to the several other sauces that I’ve had from them. Yet I’m not definitely not going to complain if they’re going to give such a great pepper the spotlight. So let’s get on into it, shall we, and take a look at the sample spoonful:
It’s thick and pulpy, forming a clear mound in the middle of my spoon, which holds its shape at first but does, eventually give in to gravity. Shreds of red chilli and finely blended, pale spices dotting its surface, in contrast to an otherwise vibrant orange. Their earthy aroma paired beautifully with the richness of roasted garlic, a light tang and the undertone of hops from Balefire’s beer.
There’s a lot more going on here than just the peppers, yet they provide the base on which it’s all built. With both a roasted richness of their own and a surprisingly vibrant, fruity quality that matches perfectly with the sauce’s appearance. Only getting more prominent when paired with the initial sweetness in its taste.
Yet the spices are still very much there, especially as we reach the product’s bitter finish and the viper’s
heat. Starting out sharp and prickly in the front of my mouth, while gradually growing to that intense peak at the back. The cumin, caraway and ginger all lingering strongly throughout.
It’s not quite what I expected from the chilli and, as such, I’m not sure it’s as well-suited to con carne as I thought it might be. Yet it’s going to fair far better in italian-style tomato dishes. Adding serious heat and flavour to an arrabiata, pizza sauce or bolognese, as well as working wonders as a marinade for meats or hard cheeses.
Plus, if you really do fancy mexican, it’s makers suggest slathering it over burritos and I can only second that suggestion. Some Like it Naga isn’t a mexican sauce in the slightest but, as with Chilli Scrumptious’ Java Hot before it, I can really see this one’s spice blend fitting the dish.
It’s made from:
Peppers, Naga Chilli (21%), Onion, Garlic, Beer (Contains Gluten), Vinegar, Lemon, Sugar, Ginger, Spices, Salt, Olive Oil, Stabiliser: Xanthian Gum.
And its bitterness is sadly too much for me to use as a pour on in any other setting but I do see it as a delicious sauce to cook with or stir through, all the same.
If you enjoy the taste and supremely high heat of the naga viper as much as I do then I can definitely recommend Balefire’s creation.