Honest Chutney

Hey there everybody. Last week, we looked at what was supposed to be a smoky mango sauce and, while it was pretty tasty, it most certainly wasn’t what it said on the label. So, in order to get our fix of the fruit and celebrate national curry week correctly, I’m going to spend today’s post looking at a pair of chutneys:

MChutneys

A pair that promise the same product type, yet take it in completely different directions, with completely different chillies.

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Summer Fruit

Hey folks, I hope that you’re all enjoying the summer sun.

Today, I have for you some rather summery sauces that I picked up a little over two summers ago. A pair of highly fruity products that I tried all the way back at Reading Chilli Fest and have been just waiting to post my review of.

But, between freebies, newer items and the fact that I wanted to spread such fruity sauces out, it’s only now that you’re finally seeing this pair. The final pair, in fact, of Mango sauces from that event:

BurningChillees

Both from companies that we’ve seen before and both from companies who’s fruitier items have impressed me in the past.

How will these two, in particular, compare, though, to the oodles of other mango sauces on the market?

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Curry in a Bottle

Welcome to june, everyone. To kick this month off in a rather special way, I’m looking at a pair of imported hot sauces that harken back to the dreams of my youth.

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Byron Bay’s Fiery Coconut Chilli Sauce, imported from australia by my good friend Matt Tangent, of Aussie Hot Sauces. And Hell’s Kitchen’s Rockin’ Rasta from the US, first imported by Russel of Grim Reaper Foods but, more recently, picked up by the UK’s largest importers, Hot-Headz.

And, if you’re one of my UK readers, you might recognise the coconut sauce on the left. It may be made in australia now but, until about a year ago, Byron Bay had a partner company producing it over here, as well. Matt actually brought this one over at my request, since I really wanted to talk about it. Thanks dude!

Yet, as excited as I am for the return of the Byron Bay range, theirs isn’t the only sauce on display today. Or even the only coconut one.

Neither of today’s items are quite the korma in a bottle that young me wished for but both are delicious, creamy, rich and sweet, coconut-based, curry sauces, all the same. Ones that my ten-year-old self would have been overjoyed to own.

So the question is: Do they still hold up to the more refined tastes of my mid-twenties?

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Vin D’ Blue

Greetings, hot things. This week, I’m back for another fiery twist on a traditional recipe but, this time, the traditional recipe is my own. My vin d’ aloo. I’m returning to that recipe, and to Exban’s place, to put a newer, bluer twist on it, using this sauce:

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Bravado Spice Co’s Ghost Pepper and Blueberry.

Why? Because the two are a perfect match. A sauce that’s full of dark berry tanins and pepper but has a tad too much vinegar tang, and a curry that wants more fire and a wine-like flavour but previously wasn’t the most religiously appropriate of dishes.

The sauce gives the curry all the depth and slight fruitiness that it needs without actual alcohol, while the curry gives the sauce a highly spiced base to tone down its unpleasant acidity.

All that’s left is to swap from pork to a more halal meat in lamb.

I will mention, though, just to be completely upfront and clear with you all, that this dish will still be only debatably halal. The vinegar in our sauce comes from white wine and, while it has been fermented to a point where it no longer has any chance of affecting one’s sobriety, some muslims may still be upset by the idea of alcohol byproducts in their food.

I’m sorry to say that makers and eaters of this recipe will have to assess the situation themselves and make their own decision as to whether my recipe matches their beliefs. All I can say for sure is that making vin d’ aloo with wine vinegar, rather than wine, has a historic and religious precedent behind it and that the added berries in this sauce make for a far more accurate flavour substitution than simply using such a vinegar alone.

It’s not going to be the same as our previous dish, of course, since this vinegary sauce adds rather more heat and tang, but it’s still going to be a fiery-flavoured, garlic and ginger-heavy, goan delight full of red meat, rich berry undertones and soothing spuds. A proper vindaloo, despite the extra acid.

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Spy and the Spice

Konnichiwa yet again, my chilli friends. It’s thursday and, while I’ve been providing seasonal blog updates as always, it’s been some time since I’ve given you a real “inedible” post.

From my greeting alone, I’m sure that you can all guess what this one’s going to be about. But, before I go right into it, I just want to say that I don’t hate my own language’s media.

I loved Lord of the Rings (both the film and books), eagerly await the appearance of the Great Lakes Avengers in Marvel’s cinematic universe and never fail to catch a christmas Doctor Who with my relatives. Heck, I even played for my local quidditch team for a few years, before they decided to reject the Harry Potter franchise and call themselves a “real sport”.

I’m a well-rounded nerd, with a particular interest in food, culture and mythology, yet most of the shows that I’ve recommended have been japanese. Not because I necessarily prefer them, but because they tend to be more relevant to my ever-hungry audience.

Outside of iZombie, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a british or american series that combined a focus on food with the dramatic stakes of something like Food Wars, Ben-To or Yakitatte Japan. Or the cute, homely feel of any of the four shows that I mentioned last time.

Japan just seems to make more out of their food shows but that’s not actually what today’s anime is.

No, this time I want to show you a spy drama called “Release the Spyce”.

rtspyce

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Mano a Mango

Hello and welcome back to another Reading review. I honestly can’t believe I’m still doing these but there’re still plenty more to be uploaded.

It was a very fruitful festival and today, we have two very fruit-full sauces. If you’ll pardon the pun.

What I’m about to show you is a pair of products that share a single genre but take it in completely different directions. They’re both rather unique twists on the classic mango and habanero blend:

mangoes

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Passion Fruit Dansak

It’s that time again, everyone. Time for my recipe of the month. And this month, I’m going to be using one of the peppers that I picked up in challock.

Cereja

The cereja roxa*.

Why? Well, two reasons really. One, they’re starting to look a little old and wrinkly so I really do need to use up the last of them. And two, I was wanting to revisit this dish anyway and I thought that it would be the perfect fit for such a fruity chilli.

If, however, you don’t have access to the cereja roxa or its relatives, today’s curry will still work great with the scotch bonnet’s more savoury, earthy fruitiness. Just don’t expect it to have the same light and refreshing top notes.

Because, despite being a rather gentle flavour, this rare pepper really pulls its weight when cooked into my passion fruit dansak.

And yes, this is a dish that I’m rehashing but it’s one that you’ve never seen before. One that I first made for a shokugeki, prior to ever writing this blog.

It was formulated to showcase lentils as an ingredient, without sitting heavily on the stomach like a full on daal, and it was created to capture the hearts of vegetarian chilli lovers, without relying on overly rich additions like soy or black garlic.

It was a winner at the time but, with the light and refreshing quality of its new chilli and a few years worth of refined cooking techniques, today’s version is greater than it ever was before. I just know that you’ll love it.

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The True Vindaloo

Hey there spice lovers, this month I’m hanging out at my buddy Exban’s place for a nice romantic wine and dine.

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Why? Partially because his girlfriend dumped him but mostly because I felt like making a proper vindaloo and needed someone to finish off the booze with. An explanation that, if anything, only raises more questions.

Since when did a vindaloo have wine in it? Why is there alcohol in an indian dish when the nation’s religions are so against it? And why can’t I drink it all myself?

Well, for starters, the vindaloo, or vin d’ aloo, isn’t an indian dish. It comes from goa and uses indian spices, certainly, but goa wasn’t a part of india at the time. Goa was officially portuguese and portuguese cooking had no such anti-alcohol restrictions. They were more than happy to be working with wine.

Their earlier dish, the “carne de vinha d’alhos” from which the vindaloo was derived, got its name from its three key ingredients: Pork, wine and garlic. Three ingredients to which the goan people added coriander, turmeric, chilli and a whole host of other spices, along with potatoes to bulk it out and keep the heat from getting too high.

Because, unlike today’s vindaloo, their vin d’ aloo wasn’t meant to be the hottest dish on any menu. All they wanted was a full-on fiery flavour to their marinated meat.

And, while even most “traditional” recipes pull from a later date, once the wine had been swapped for vinegar, I’m going to be taking it right back to its origins, today, with a rich and fruity red wine.

So, let’s get started, shall we?

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Tikka Time

Happy tuesday again people. Last month I took a look at Mahi Fine Foods’ Lime & Coriander Rub & Marinade, only to find it absolutely heatless.

It wasn’t bad but it did leave me scrambling for something else to feature. It was a mistake that I won’t be making twice.

As I sit down to write about their Tikka Marinade, I can assure you that I’ve already read through the ingredients at least five times:

Water, Tomato Paste, Onions, Red Chilli Paste, Garlic Paste, Rapeseed Oil, Salt, Ginger Paste, Citric Acid, Ground Paprika, Yoghurt, Mixed Spices, Beetroot and Stabilizer: Xanthan Gum.

This one has chilli in it and, if the taste is anything to go by, it’s got a fair bit at that.

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Cooking With Vanilla

Hey folks, it’s the last weekend of the month so it’s time for another recipe. This one, however, is a little different to most.

It’s an adaptation of something I found in Janet Sawyer’s vanilla cookbook, kept mild and made vegetarian (vegan even) to suit the relatives I’m eating with. Yet, for those who do want it, I’ll be giving instructions on how to sub the meat back in.

The tofu may add texture to the dish and it’s an unusual but lovely vanilla curry either way but, for those who do eat it, chicken would most definitely help to bring the flavours together and give them a base on which to build.

Regardless of which version you choose to make, though, I’ve made a few other tweaks to ensure that you get the best possible flavour from the curry, while also highlighting a more interesting chilli.

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