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spicefreak

Member Since 08 Nov 2015
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Topics I've Started

The Chilli Pepper Company's NEW Dragon's Breath sauce and dried chillies

20 December 2017 - 08:52 PM

So it's been a while since I've copied a post over from my blog for you guys (sorry) and even longer since I've done it on the day of release but I thought you might like to see this:

 

Happy thursday folks, we're getting close to christmas and this is a bit later than I'd originally hoped to have it but here's the dragon's breath:

 

dbart.jpg?w=705

 

And yes, it's in a sauce.

 

In fact, it's a sauce you've already seen. It's an updated version of The Chilli Pepper Company's earlier, less grammatically correct “Dragons Breath”.

 

Whether this change is just to avoid confusion or because they seriously believe in the strain, I couldn't say but I appreciate it. It keeps the sauce from having the name of a chilli it doesn't contain and, more excitingly, it gives me a way to check the pepper out.

 

I never did manage to get a sample from either of the two people who claimed to have developed it but, while I'm still very sceptical of the dragon's breath chilli, I'm definitely curious. I'm definitely happy to have my hands on it.

 

And, as the first superhot said to be literally inedible, I feel I have a duty to prove its growers wrong.

 

Before I try the actual chillies, though, perhaps we should take a look at the two sauces side by side.

 

2017-12-16-10-54-38.jpg?w=681

 

Not only are the labels different but the sauces inside are visibly so, too. With the addition of its extra red chilli, the new, properly appostrophed version has taken on a highly inviting, warm, orangey-golden hue, quite unlike the mustard-yellow of the original.

 

To my nose, however, the two are practically identical and, while the ingredients lists may look a tad more different, that's the result of mislabelling.

 

The reason that I found the original Dragons Breath so mild for a ghost pepper sauce is simple: It wasn't one. I have had confirmation from the company owner that it never contained any chilli but scotch bonnet before and, even then, it was quite mild for that.

 

Plus, the smooth, mango-like fruity undertones were actually from unlisted mango.

 

The only difference between these two are that the new version has added record-candidate chilli, while the old one contains apple juice.

 

Here's the new one's list:

 

Tomatoes, Mangoes, Scotch Bonnet Chilli, Dragon's Breath Chilli, Onions, Lemon Juice, Vinegar, Mustard, Garlic, Thyme, Basil, Turmeric, Nutmeg.

 

Yet the packaging does still refer to it as a “powerful, uncompromising sauce” “powered up [with] the deadly hot and be[a]utifully fragrant Bhut Jolokia Chilli”. Which is a little concerning when I specifically bought something hotter.

 

There is no ghost in here when I taste it, though.

 

2017-12-16-10-57-43.jpg?w=300

 

This product's signature chilli isn't even as mild as the 7-pot/pod infinity that some have claimed it to be. Whatever it actually is, the Dragon's Breath is clearly not the strain that Mike Smith and Chilli Bob first thought that they were growing but it does bear some resemblance to the one Infinity cross that I've tried. The InfiNaga that I recommended using in mince pies last year.

 

Like that pepper and, presumably, others related to 2011's two-week record holder, the chilli in this sauce has a heat that warms all the way down.

Unlike that one, though, it also has a serious sting upfront to warn you. A whopping

8/10

Heat

in the mouth that, while a fair bit lower than I'd hoped for, is still pretty impressive when we know it's less than 25% the new chilli.

 

And, while the slow grow of the pepper and ability to sense its journey down makes it seem like a throatier burn at first, the two ways in which the fire lingers most are actually as a strong gullet warmth and as an almost throbbing, numbing sting on the tip of the tongue.

Very little is left behind in the throat at all and, while it's not quite the feel of a habanero, the tongue tingle does have some striking similarities to it.

 

Flavourwise, this sauce is the same smooth and fruity mustard one it was before, with subtle undertones of its herbs and a definite citrus tartness from the lemon juice. The mango is there but not prominent and the tomato is entirely unapparent to me. Which is odd for a main ingredient.

 

Last time, I was quite wrong when I asserted that the chilli contributed to that citrus element of the sauce. My less experienced taste buds of the time were led astray by the mislabelled ingredients list.

 

This time, however, I will reiterate that statement because, when consumed in quantity, this version has a distinctive chilli sourness alongside its heat that I would normally associate with the carolina reaper. One that makes a full spoonful of this sauce as unbearable in flavour as it is in strength but also one that accentuates the lemon's tartness most pleasantly when you have just a few drops.

 

On your sausages, your lamb or your shepherd's pie, to name but a few uses, that pleasant level is what you're going to be getting and this is going to be an excellent, tasty, near record level sauce with a winter warmth that's going to really satisfy those who can handle the upfront mouth burn.

 

And you will taste just a touch more fruity red chilli in this one, too.

 

Like its predecessor, Dragon's Breath is a very well made sauce and, while it certainly does fall into a mustard lover's niche, I may have been a little too harsh on it in my previous review.

I will be leaving that review up, of course, for posterity but, since it no-longer reflects the current product and was, if I'm honest, not the best at describing the old one either, this post will be taking its place on my side bar from now on.

 

Regarding the complete artwork overhaul that we've seen with this product, the Dragon's Breath is no-longer a part of The Chilli Pepper Company's main line.

Instead, it's now one of their sauces made to showcase a world record pepper, alongside the former records of the butch t seen in their “Scorpion King” and their own naga viper, featured in its self-titled wing sauce which I'll hopefully find time to feature in the new year.

 

These sauces have kept the company's old labelling style since, while the more recent cracked earth and bold name look is a good one, it doesn't get the pepper content across nearly as well as an oval filled with an image of the chilli's namesake.

 

In this case, the sheer force of that pepper is made apparent by the way in which their cute, green, almost dorky looking dragon is breaking the zigzag border of the very oval that contains it with its breath. Perhaps symbolic of how the dragon's breath chilli isn't actually the current record but is instead breaking it with a 2.48 million scoville average or 2.7 million peak heat, if reports are to be believed.

It's a cool design and one that manages to get its point across without instantly seeming scary like some sauces. This is, after all, a product designed with flavour in mind and heat only added later.

 

Plus, it stands out wonderfully against the dark, grey-blue, almost black background that they've given it, with a definite sense of traditional culture from its upper and lower borders that, while not actual celtic knotwork, are somewhat reminiscent of insular art.

 

The only two things I would change about this product's labelling are that poorly written blurb about the sauce's (nonexistant) bhut content and the text used for the name.

It could really do with being bolder and having a white drop shadow to be more in line with the company's current style and pop out more.

 

Now, onto the chillies they sold me:

 

2017-12-20-15-40-37.jpg?w=1024

 

The packaging on these is very basic, with nothing more than their web address and a red product name on a medium-sized white sticker to identify the clear pot's contents.

I won't be spending much time talking about it but I would like to quickly point out that they got the apostrophe right on the sauce this time so it's quite the disappointment to see it absent again on the chillies themselves.

 

Opening it up, their smell is pretty stunning. Part berry-like 7-pot/pod (brainstrain, perhaps), part extra fruity scorpion (think butch t), it's definitely a strong chinense type chilli but that's not the first thing I notice about them. Before I begin assessing the subtlety and meaning of their aroma, I'm already finding that these chillies are making me hungry.

 

Fruitier strains do tend to be my favourites and, while there is a definite generic dried red superhot element to them, the vast majority of these dragon's breath peppers' scent is just that. A blend of red berries with a touch of not-quite-oranges that I find almost irresistible.

 

Even if I weren't doing so to inform you all, it would be pretty much inevitable that I'd taste them. Yet, before I do, we should probably have a good look at their cross-section:

 

2017-12-20-15-43-27.jpg?w=1024

 

They're good looking peppers with a small, yet chunky tail on them and the placenta that they contain is quite substantial. They're very thinly walled and the inside is a decent amount paler than the out.

Combined with the wrinkled surface, that definitely would suggest a layer of placental tissue over the whole interior of the peppers but here's the thing: None of that is unusual for a new super. Aside from their more elongated, slightly more scorpion-like shape, these might as well be the 7-pot/pod brainstrains that I likened their smell to.

 

There is one tiny thing about them that does strike me as novel, though, and that's the presence of irregularly placed tiny shiny globules on that inner surface.

 

I'm sure you know the deal by now. Every time a potential new record comes along, it's oozing with oils and droplets adorn its inner walls like raindrops after a short-lived storm.

That's nothing new, either. I've seen it to a lesser degree in scotch bonnets, even, but here's the thing: Peppers don't dry like that.

 

The oils evaporate off and leave their fiery residue behind or get absorbed into the dehydrated flesh of the pepper. I've never seen them form shiny, solid, glue-like globs like this before.

And, while there aren't many, the fact that they're there at all scares me.

 

Thank god these aren't fresh!

 

The tip of the pepper I've cut open, as with any other, is most definitely its mildest part, allowing me to appreciate its berry-like 7-pot/pod taste without too much distraction. The more orangey elements from its possible scorpion side (and I've heard that there may have been some butch t in the infinity to begin with) are far milder than they smelled and it practically turns to dust between my teeth. It's just so thin that it has no strength left in it after dehydration.

 

Yet, even without that scorpion side or any real substance to it, this chilli is one of the fruitiest I've ever had, tasting, in places, almost like freeze-dried raspberry.

 

It doesn't have the sweetness of similarly fruity peppers, though, resembling the tarter side of those berries and starting to get a little reaper-like with the same sourness I found in the sauce as I approach the bulk of the placenta.

 

The main flesh of this pepper is by no means that of a world record. It's unmistakably that of a superhot but not quite one that I would expect to make an eight out of ten item like the sauce I just had, even if it were the main pepper therein.

 

Less than a quarter of its overall content and it couldn't possibly be enough to heat The Chilli Pepper Company's new Dragon's Breath sauce. There has to be something else at work here.

 

And, indeed, there is. Once I get about a third of the way up the pepper, the flesh suddenly seems to get thicker.

 

Yet, guess what, that isn't flesh. That's placenta!

 

Or maybe it's straight up murder, a contender for the second hottest pepper I've ever eaten dried.

 

And you might be thinking that second hottest would mean that it's not a record but you'd be wrong.

Remember, I've tried a few other candidates for top spot and, while this hasn't wrecked me like the sliver of jigsaw and moruga scorpion hybrid that I had backstage at the Yorkshire Food and Drink Festival, it most certainly does seem to surpass the dried reapers I've picked at in the past.

 

The real question, in my opinion, is how it compares to the chocolate bhutlah but, since I've not got any of those to hand to compare, I think it's a little too close to call.

 

I would, however, say that the sauce we've seen is probably on the mild side for what these peppers are capable of, with a possible

13/10

Heat

not too unlikely a couple of years from now if this pepper really takes off.

 

Of course, this is just a part of one pepper that I've tried so nothing's certain but I'm not going to try any more right now. I need milk and I need it as soon as possible to quench this seemingly unending front of the mouth fire.

 

Catch you next time everyone, have a happy solstice.


Sugar Rush Vanilla

04 November 2017 - 07:10 PM

A month ago to the day, UK chilli farm Edible Ornamentals came out with a brand new line they called "Pod Packs" - Simple packs of around ten chillies aimed at growers looking to try before planting.

The varieties on offer, however, were a little less usual. You can the specifics here but, basically, they're growing a wide array of peppers, including some potential record challenger sorts that I've never seen outside the US before.

 

I was pretty impressed but their numbers were all over the place. Peppers that straight up murdered me were rated below a million and their hottest was a Sugar Rush. A 2-3 million SHU Sugar Rush, if their claims were to be believed.

 

7Bfl2DV.png

 

They called it "Vanilla" because it wasn't the Cream they had expected. Apparently it was a complete surprise when it popped up but the strain is consistently as pictured.

 

I got in touch because everything they had said seemed ridiculous. I wanted confirmation that there was some vague method to this madness.

They invited me to tour their farm as a free guest and be one of the many tasters who's opinion gives rise to their estimates.

 

It took a lot of organising and a LOT of travel time. I'm honestly barely even awake as I'm writing this but here goes:

 

My first bite of the pepper was heatless. Not mild, heatless. Like "oh man that hits the spot and soothes that still burning Fatalii" levels of heatless.

It was the second shred where things got interesting.

 

The second shred had placenta on it and it was hot. Super hot. Hotter than their Dorset Nagas but not quite Naga Viper or Brain Strain hot. Roughly 1.3 million, at a guess.

 

But here's the thing: That was a mid-section sliver with just a bit of placenta. The top, where the bulk of it was, would obviously be far hotter.

 

Considering that, I certainly think its possible that part of this chilli rates as hot as they say. It's also quite obvious, however, that the overall pepper won't. Heatless pod walls will drag its SHU way down and it would need a lot more than a 3 million placenta to beat the Reaper without the superhot mutation. Which it definitely seemed to lack.

 

And, while they claim that it's a Chinense, its heat felt different to that of Fataliis, Habs or Nagas, too. And its flavour had the same baccatum vegetable elements as fresh Lemondrop.

 

I never saw the plant or got a good look at the calyx, so I can't say much for sure, but nothing about it screamed chinense to me.

 

Aside from that, its taste was similar to a Jay's Peach Ghost Scorpion in that it had white pepper elements to it but also something else - A suggestion of another colour, aswell.

 

It was an interesting flavour. Not as revolutionary as they said but certainly novel and still pretty pleasant. I'd certainly think about using it in a white sauce. Perhaps over fish.

 

So there you go. That's my take on the mysterious Sugar Rush Vanilla. Hope you lot found it as interesting as I did.


Hazing my Friend with Pimento Gingembre (Video)

20 October 2017 - 10:09 AM

Here's another silly video where I intentionally overhype a nice, medium heat product to scare a newcomer to my channel. Enjoy:

 

 

The only extract in here is unconcentrated and flavourful, not the usual pure heat and chemical sort.


Puckerbutt Pepper Co & Hot Ones' The Last Dab (Video)

18 October 2017 - 07:12 PM

Hey folks, I recently uploaded this to my youtube channel and though you might be interested, what with it being the one Pepper X sauce and all:

 

 

Now, I talked about it being bitter a few times. That's not extract bitterness. Cold pressed pepper oils don't taste like other extracts.

What it was was the same sort you get with some raw, underripe peppers. It was bearable, though, given that it was only really there when the sauce was overdone.

 

But, speaking of overdoing it, the capsaicin cramps 3 hours later were tough and day two was worse than the time I ate 6.4 million extract on pizza.


Chocolate Madras

15 October 2017 - 08:37 AM

Hey all, my recipe's a little early this month due to a couple of UK national food weeks popping up at the same time and making for an opportunity that I just couldn't turn down.

Here's the post, copied over from my blog as always:

 

Hello again everyone, I'm bringing my recipe forward a couple weeks this time to celebrate national curry week. Or is it national chocolate week?

God knows why we're having both at once this year but I've had vague plans for chocolate curry for a long while so it's about time that they saw metaphorical print.

 

It's time I made a chocolate madras.

 

Now, you could make this dish with beef or chicken but I'm not going to be using actual meat for the meat of my dish. I'm using fennel. The plant, not the seeds.

 

2017-10-13-12-13-55.jpg?w=725

 

And I'll be bulking it out with a couple of other vegetables but this one was the reason I chose to make this month's dish vegetarian. I wanted those subtle aniseed-like notes throughout.

 

Aside from this, I'll be using:

 

2017-10-13-12-34-34.jpg?w=1024

 

For the substance of the dish, that's:

400g tinned tomatoes

400g potatoes

300g carrots

1 onion (or, in my case, two tiny ones)

2 garlic cloves

1 fennel heart

and the juice of half a large orange.

 

While my spice mix consists of:

2 teaspoons cayenne powder

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon cumin

4 cloves

and the seeds of 4 cardamom pods.

 

But, of course, there's one more ingredient that fits into neither category:

 

2017-10-13-12-36-28.jpg?w=168

 

20g the darkest chocolate you can find

 

In my case, that's Montezuma's 100% Absolute Black. Completely unsweetened and nothing but cocoa, making it awful to eat but utterly perfect for cooking with.

It's going to be a little while before that goes in, though.

 

First, it's time to chop the vegetables, getting rid of any too leafy fennel stems. Not that I think it's mandatory to do so but the foliage generally isn't eaten and I can imagine it wouldn't be the nicest texture cooked into curry. Too fuzzy.

 

2017-10-13-13-36-06.jpg?w=263

 

Bear in mind that I'm counting garlic as a vegetable here. I don't know what it's officially classified as but that's what it seems most like to me.

 

Then, once those are nice and diced, get a pan of water up to boil and part cook your potatoes. Just until they start to show signs of softening. About ten minutes, by my estimation.

Which should be just long enough to get all the spices ground and mixed.

 

There are a few things I want to mention there: The choice of chilli, the lack of fresh ginger and my special ceylon cinnamon. These were all active decisions I made to fit the dish.

 

Ceylon cinnamon, talked about a bit in my past crumble recipe, is a little brighter flavoured and less woody than the common chinese strain. Not to mention better for you. It's here for a little contrast against the dish's dark flavours but, while I personally prefer the ceylon stuff, the difference is not so large that standard cinnamon won't work. Just use what you can.

 

The ginger, on the other hand, isn't anything special. In fact, it's less special than what I normally use.

 

Unlike fresh ginger, though, its powdered form has had time to oxidise. This stops it tasting so sharp and raw and makes its heat a little drier. The earthier tones it brings out are perfect for this meal, when the fresh root probably wouldn't be.

 

And, as for the chilli, it's pretty common to use powder as the main heat source in indian restaurants. A bog standard sort at that.

 

This is not that chilli but it's also not bird's eye, kashmiri or any of the other more specific types that fit the nationality of a madras.

No, I've picked cayenne as a sort of middle ground between that and the kinds that aztecs would have used in their spiced chocolate drinks - The other influence for this recipe. It doesn't quite fit either culture but it compliments the flavours of both and, when we get right down to it, isn't that what's important?

 

Anyway, when you're done with those spices, drain your potatoes and set them aside. It's time to fry the onions and garlic.

 

Warm up some oil in a pan and get them sizzling away at a high medium heat for a few minutes. Or until the onions start to soften up in both texture and colour:

 

2017-10-13-13-55-47.jpg?w=1024

 

Add the spice mix you prepared and carry on frying for a minute or two, stirring constantly to ensure an even coating and lack of burnt patches.

 

Next, pop in the remaining veg, potatoes included, and mix them with the rest of the pan's contents, before quickly tossing in our liquid. That is, the tin of tomatoes, the juice of your half orange and 300ml of water.

 

In a normal madras, we'd be using lime or lemon but this is a chocolate version so I opted for a more complimentary fruit.

 

Bring the result to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the veg is suitably soft.

 

Finally, melt in your twenty grams of dark chocolate and make sure it's thoroughly mixed in before serving.

 

2017-10-13-14-27-34.jpg?w=1024

 

It adds a nice level of richness without turning the dish sweet or detracting from the spice mix at all, giving us a quite unique curry. Albeit one that's definitely still a madras.

 

And, with all that ginger and cinnamon supporting its chilli, it's a hotter madras than I had initially expected. It's not the high medium many are but full blown hot, reaching the very top of my scale's

3/10

Heat

 

It's no vindaloo but it's potent all the same, with a very dry, inner cheek burn that lingers for quite a while.

 

For me, that's great but I understand that won't be for everyone so do feel free to drop the chilli down to a single spoonful in this dish should you want milder. It has plenty of other flavour to support it anyway.

 

Personally, though, I think the only change I'd make would be to use some sweet potato next time I make this. It'd fit perfectly with all these warming flavours.