ABC Sambal Extra Pedas

1 02 2011

A friend from work came back from Holland this week and knowing that I am a sucker for all things hot and spicy grabbed a bottle of hot sauce for me on her way back.

The sauce in question is from ABC, an Indonesian company who manufacture a range of different sauces;  this particular offering is their Sambal Extra Pedas which simply means extra hot.

Sambal being a Southern Asian sauce is often lumped in alongside Thai sauces such as Sriracha, now I cannot stand Sriracha and not just because of all the hype surrounding it at the moment, there is just a flavour to most store bought varieties that doesn’t appeal to me. Luckily for me though I have always quite enjoyed Sambal and I am keen to see how this particular brand measures up.

Ingredients: chile, sugar, water, salt, garlic, starch, acetic acid, sodium benzoate

Smell:

Upon opening the bottle I was hit straight away with a good big hit of chillies and garlic with just the slightest hint of sugary sweetness and vinegar coming through in the background.

Appearance:

This sambal looks an awful look like an orange slightly translucent tomato ketchup, it is completely smooth with not the slightest shred of seed or skin and has a medium viscosity that means you might have to give the bottle a bit of a whack to get things moving initially.

Taste:

I had a sneaking suspicion that I might like this sauce; it looked good it smelt good and I am known to enjoy sambal, even so I was really really pleasantly surprised by just how good this sauce was.

The main flavours that come through straight away are the chillies and the garlic, the vinegar is there but you really have to be looking for it to find it and the sweetness seems just right. There is enough to offset the chillies and the garlic but not so much that it seems overly sweet or cloying.

Since opening the bottle I have tried this sauce on a whole bunch of different foods; sausages, prawns, cod, egg fried rice, wanton rolls…. the list is really quite exhaustive.

The foods have all been really quite different but one thing has been static across the board – the sambal has worked well with pretty much all of them!

Obviously it has faired best with the more Asian items like the fried rice and the wanton rolls but that delicious mix of chillies, garlic and sweetness also worked brillantly with the seafood. The prawns were lifted to another dimension and it really worked well with the big meaty cod steaks.

Heat:

There is a decent bit of heat to this sauce, whilst it wont be breaking any records it is certainly hotter than a lot of other “sweet chilli sauces” that you would typically find in a supermarket which often are just sickly sweet concoctions with just enough chilli for you to notice it.

The burn, such as it is, stays very forward in your mouth and builds nicely whilst never really threatening to overwhelm.  If you think that tap water has a kick to it then I would steer clear but otherwise you shouldn’t be in for any shocks.

Heat 2/5

Overall 3.5/5





Mad Dog Inferno Hot Sauce 1999 reserve edition

10 01 2011

Mad Dog Inferno Hot Sauce 1999 reserve edition

 

“One drop and you’ll wonder what hit you. Raging with fire, this sauce will blow your mind!  Watch out, it bites back. This sauce is very hot, use it at your own risk!”

I have heard good things about this hot sauce from Ashley Food Company for a number of years and have been very impressed by some of their other hotter sauces but I had never gotten  around to actually sampling this for myself,  well that all changed recently; I found the sauce on sale over at scorchio.co.uk and decided to pop it into my cart along with my other purchases.

This sauce was initially produced by Ashley Food Company in 1999 as an extract enhanced version of their Mad Dog Inferno hot sauce, the original sauce had clocked in at around  80,000 Scoville and the new edition took a hefty leap to 150,000 – not too shabby but certainly not up to the ridiculous levels of heat they are hitting in some of their newer sauces –  Mad Dog’s Revenge stands out as one particular example.

Ingredients: Red Wine Vinegar, Unsulphured Molasses, Peppers Extract, Garlic, Jalapeno Peppers, Onion, Habanero Chile Extract, Clove, Herbs and Spices.

Smell:

On opening the bottle up the first thing I did was have a good old sniff to see what we had going on, I could pickup the sweetness from the molasses, a slightly burnt chemical smell from the extract and a whiff of the jalapeno chillies coming through in the background.

Appearance:

The first thing I thought of on looking at the sauce was that it really strongly resembled a thick “brown sauce” (steak sauce for my colonial cousins) with a very smooth consistency. It wasn’t untill I poured the sauce that I realised just how thick this is, I had shaken the sauce quite vigorously before opening it and still had to give the base of the bottle a couple of hefty whacks before I saw any movement.

Taste:

I tried the sauce straight up off of a spoon and was pleasantly surprised, the extract flavour that was quite prominent in the aroma was well hidden in the background and instead the taste of the peppers, spices and molasses came to the fore along with a general richness and a bit of fruitiness, it was actually not dissimilar to a hot Worchestershire sauce and straight away I was considering what foods to try this with.

Seeing as the post had arrived early this particular day I decided to add a good dousing of the sauce to a bacon sandwich for a bit of breakfast

Well I will go out on a limb here and say that this was one of the best bacon sandwiches of my life, I love hot sauce on my butties at the best of times but the Mad Dog Inferno took it to another level, not only was there a nice bit of heat but the fruity spiciness couple with the sweetness of the molasses really cut through the fattiness of the bacon and gave it an extra dimension.

Later on in the day I had a reasonable dollop of sauce on top of some mashed potatoes and ended up with the same grin I had worn that morning, the flavour of the sauce is excellent but at no point was it overwhelming, it accented the food rather than stealing the show all together.

Heat:

There is a nice level of heat to this particular sauce and if I didn’t know that the sauce is supposed to be around the 150,000 SHU mark I would possibly have said it was quite a bit hotter, maybe closer to the 250K mark.

The heat builds up slowly with this sauce, so much so that initially you could be mistaken for thinking you were not eating a hot sauce at all!

When the heat does finally arrive though there is a nice burn at the back of the mouth which continues to intensify for around 30 seconds or so before dropping away to a lingering warmth.

I would say that this had a nice middle of the road level of heat to it,  hardcore chilli fans will be able to handle it with ease whilst still getting a nice bit of warmth but tabasco lovers beware, this will have you reaching for the milk in no time.

Whilst this wont be going down in history as one of my favourite sauces I did like the flavour and would recommend it as a fiery alternative to using brown sauce.

Heat 3/5

Overall 4/5

You can purchase Mad Dog Inferno Hot Sauce 1999 Reserve Edition from www.scorchio.co.uk




Slow Cooked Pulled Pork

29 09 2010

 So this morning I had a little bit of surprise, I decided to go and visit my favourite little hole in the wall cafe; the food there has always been crap to sum it up politely but they serve tea that looks exactly like wood varnish and is exactly how I like it.

The problem is it’s gone, now where am I going to get tea that the spoon can stand up in?

The simple answer is I will just have to stop being lazy and bring a flask from home. The silver lining to the closing of this grease encrusted grot hole is that it has been replaced by what is to my knowledge the only BBQ joint in West Cork.

It has been opened up by a chap from Arizona by the name of Mike and his Irish wife, he has bought a smoker over from the states with him and is burning applewood that he is obtaining from a local orchard, so far so good.

The menu looks pretty appetizing featuring such BBQ staples as baby back ribs, brisket, home made beans, coleslaw and one of my personal favourites pulled pork.

I fancy myself as a bit of a BBQ aficionado and on seeing that Mike makes and sells his own sauces I got chatting to him, before long the topic turned to the pulled pork (which looked and smelt delicious )

Try as hard as I might I couldn’t get Mike to disclose any of his secrets to me, much like those pesky magicians in that sense, but I can vouch for the pulled pork being delicious, so much so that I bought a pound of it to take home and eat later.

The problem with 1lb of pulled pork is that there is only 1lb of it and try as I might to ration it out it just doesnt last.

The only logical option was to crack out MY recipe for homemade pulled pork and hit the kitchen.

As I don’t possess a smoker of my owner and the weather in Ireland isn’t often the best for having the BBQ out I have devised a different but equally tasty method for preparing my pulled pork.

Ingredients:

4 kg pork shoulder / collar
3 large red onions
3 cloves of garlic
2 red or yellow bell peppers
1 habanero chilli (you can substitute jalapenos or just use less/no chilli if you wish)
smokey paprika
coarse sea salt
black pepper
zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 bottle of bbq sauce of your choosing

For this recipe I get roughly 4 kg of pork collar from my local butcher, I get the skin left on and the bone left in and trim everything up at home, if you don’t have the time and inclination ask the butcher to do this for you and just make sure that you remove any tendon/gristle that is left when you get home.

Mix the brown sugar together with enough sea salt, black pepper and paprika to give the meat a good rub, pop it in a bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge for at least an hour ideally longer.

De-seed the bell peppers and cut into thin strips, you can use green bell peppers if that is all you have to hand but red or yellow work best and look better in the finished dish.

Peel the red onions and chop into quarters, if the onions are particularly large then you can chop them into eighths.

Crush the garlic cloves with the flat of a knife and combine with the chopped habanero and the lemon zest

Take your slow cooker and put roughly half of the chopped peppers and onions on the base of the pot, now place the pork on top and add the remaining peppers and onions around the sides. Add your garlic, chilli and lemon zest and try to make sure that it doesnt all end up in one clump.

Now pour over your bbq sauce; which bbq sauce you use really is down to you and your personal tastes. I normally use a mixture of half a bottle of Levi Roots Reggae Reggae sauce for its rich fruity flavour and warming scotch bonnet kick and half a bottle of something with a bit of a smokey taste to it.

Top the pot up with warm water until the pork is covered, pop on the lid and set the slow cooker onto it’s lowest setting. If you aren’t using a slow cooker then I would pop everything into a mid size casserole dish and set it in the oven at about 100c.

At this point you can just forget all about it for a good long while, I tend to leave mine in the slow cooker for about 12 / 13 hours if I can but you can get away with less time. I certainly wouldn’t leave it for anything less then 6/7 hours though as you want the meat to be really succulent and juicy.

When you are ready to eat take the pork out of the slow cooker and grab yourself a couple of forks, the meat should be so tender that it just shreds up without any effort whatsoever.

Pile the pulled pork onto a platter, add the onions and peppers from the pot and pour over a ladle full of the cooking liquid to help keep everything nice and moist.

Serve with nice fresh rolls or flatbreads, a nice crunchy coleslaw and bbq sauce of your choice to finish it all off nicely.








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