Chilli is a key ingredient in Sri Lankan cuisine and over 42,000 metric tonnes of dry chillies are consumed in Sri Lanka every year – that’s more than 2kg per person! Perhaps this is why Sri Lanka is known as the “Nation of Smiling People”.
Karimix are no strangers to us here at the ChileFoundry. In fact they have been making an award-winning range of chutneys, pastes and sauces since 1984. Today I will be reviewing their authentic Sri Lankan Tomato Chutney which won “Best Chutney” at the Great Dorset Chilli Festival in 2011.
I have seen Karimix at several chilli festivals in the past couple of years and have always been impressed with the quality of their packaging. This product is no exception. I particularly like the contrasting colours of black, orange and white which have been chosen for this label – they are bold and very easy to read. My only gripe is that the mild heat rating of this particular product is illustrated by the outlines of 4 chillies. At a quick glance this gives the impression that this chutney is much hotter than it is. It was not until I looked at their Thai Shrimp Relish that I realised the outlines are filled with colour to depict a higher heat rating.
Moving onto the contents of the jar, I am greeted by an almost curry-like aroma. The sweet tomatoes and fragrant spices are very reminiscent of one of my favourite curries – rogan josh.
Tomatoes (63%), Sugar, Vinegar, Onions, Salt, Oil, Tomato Puree, Spices, Ginger, Garlic and Chillies.
Jar kindly provided by Karimix.
The texture of the chutney is quite smooth, but some seeds and spices are evident. I think I can spy cumin, nigella and star anise, but I’m sure this is far from a definitive list of the spices used.
Having read the list of ingredients beforehand, I was a little concerned that the vinegar, onion or salt might dominate the flavour, but I needn’t have worried. At first, I am greeted by the sweetness of the tomatoes and a hint of garlic. Soon after, the sweetness is accompanied by the pleasant savouriness of the spices. There is a faint tingle of chilli on the tongue too, but it is very minimal. This is definitely a mild product.
In day-to-day use, this chutney is a very versatile product. It works brilliantly as a condiment or dipping sauce, but can also be used as a marinade or cooking ingredient. A spoonful has certainly livened up several of my meals during the past week.
Overall, there is a lot to like about this product. At £3.50 for a 180g jar it is a tad expensive, but the flavours more than make up for it. You can purchase Karimix products from their factory shop or from online retailers such as Hot-Headz.
Note: This product is gluten free and suitable for vegetarians.