From the creative trio of minds that are the Mad Ass Chilli Sauce Company comes their twist on ketchup. Now to many, the word ‘ketchup’ is synonymous with the tomato based sauce from Heinz but ketchup actually dates back to the 16th century, when the Chinese made a sauce from pickled fish and spices called “kôe-chiap” meaning ‘brine of pickled fish’. This sauce gradually spread to other Asian countries and was discovered by British explorers visiting Singapore and Malaysia during the early part of the 17th century, with “kôe-chiap” evolving into the Anglicised word “ketchup”.
The tomato variant of the sauce didn’t become a prominent recipe until mid 19th century when its popularity in the United States grew as a way of eating tomatoes which, at the time, were thought to unsafe to eat raw. Later during the 20th century it became ubiquitous with the Heinz brand.
Labelling the ketchup is a variant on the designed used for the Mad Ass sample sized jars – this time the chilli character is bright red and the background flames are purple. Some of the wording is difficult to read with the small font sized used in parts, although I suspect this is due to a poor batch of printed labels as many letters are blurred & not sharp on areas of the label.
Bramley apples, golden gran sugar, raisins, onions, tomatoes, ‘The Garlic Farm’ garlic, cider vinegar, lime juice & zest, scotch bonnet, star anisee, ginger powder, cinnamon powder, cracked black pepper, rock salt, rice bran oil
Jar kindly supplied by Mad Ass Chilli Sauce Company
Looking at the ingredients list, the sweet / tanginess of this ketchup isn’t going to come from tomatoes, which are further down the ingredients list. The base ingredient for this sauce is apples supplemented with tomatoes, which gives the sauce an amber pink hue rather than the rich red colour that people would normally associate with ketchup.
As I open the jar and inhale the aroma of cooked apples & cinnamon is released with underlying hints of lime and ginger also coming through. Although not a completely smooth sauce, it comes out readily from the jar and I can see small bits of apple pulp and flecks of black pepper & red chilli within it as it sits on my spoon.
When tasting the sauce, the sweetness of apples & cinnamon are at the fore followed by an underlying taste of lime & raisin flavours with hints of pepper. The aniseed flavour also comes through in the aftertaste. Heat from the Scotch Bonnets used therein is disappointingly low. The sauce is rated as a 5.5 out of 10 on the Mad Ass website but with my sample there’s only the merest brief hint of warmth. It gives a slight tingle on the tongue before rapidly disappearing without a trace. It can be hard getting consistency in heat strength from batch to batch so perhaps that’s what has happened in this instance. Nonetheless it’s such a nicely balanced sauce, being neither overly sweet nor sharp, with a range of flavours that the lack of heat doesn’t trouble me too much.
For usage I think this sauce would work well as an accompaniments to cold meats, ham in particular given the apple base. Indeed I think it would work as a nice alternative to tomato ketchup on a bacon sarnie, with the sweetness of the apples helping to cut through the salted bacon. Equally it would work well as an addition to a cheese board being complementary to a Wensleydale or creamy Lancashire and contrasting with the saltiness of a blue veined cheese.
Available in either 30ml jars for £2.00 or 150ml bottle for £5.00 from the Mad Ass website.