I’d been aware of Hot-Headz, an online hot sauce vendor, for a while but had never ordered hot sauces online, preferring instead to pick up a bottle here and there when I was at markets or on my travels. I think I was of the impression that they only sold those crazy hot sauces but they’ve actually also got a good range of Mexican classics that I’ve been looking for.

I need to say this upfront but I wasn’t fond of their press release they sent out for Christmas: it was geared towards men, suggesting that men might enjoy receiving hot sauces in their stockings (wait, that’s not how it should sound…). Well, I will stand up for everyone, male or female, and say that anybody of any gender will enjoy hot sauces and do enjoy hot sauces! Anyway, Hot-Headz sent me five bottles to try and from first impressions, they ranged from very mild to incredibly terrifying.

Tasting

With five bottles, I thought a little tasting was in order. This was set up in my office and well….here are the results. Comments from my colleagues are in bullet points.

Brother Bru-Bru’s Mild African Pepper Sauce
This was the mildest of the bunch and one of the tastiest too. Family friendly.

  • More about taste rather than being hot – good.
  • Tasty!
  • Nice flavour.

Tapatío
Ah, a classic that I thought was made in Mexico but is actually American (and they export to Mexico). I slathered some on my burrito today.

  • Very tasty.
  • I can’t determine the taste. A bit sour? Not hot.

Pyromania!
Looks scarier than it is. I mean, a she-devil? Its name even sports an exclamation mark. Texturally, it’s lumpy, like one of those posh ketchups.

  • Nice smoky flavour.
  • Like barbecue sauce with a hint of spice.

Who Dares Burns Crushed Naga Bhut Jolokia Chilli Sauce
I originally thought this was going to be the hottest sauce as I’d read about the naga bhut jolokia – supposedly the hottest chilli in the world.

  • Good amount of spice.
  • It’s very hot!
  • Still has flavour. It is hot but manageable.

Mad Dog 357 Hot Sauce
Oh geez, this hot sauce is not actually meant to be eaten, is it? Our tongues BURNED for a good long while after tasting it. It is stupidly hot and it incapacitated some of my colleagues. I picture it more as a sauce to add a bit of to a chilli con carne to give it heat or one just to buy if you feel you need to prove something.

  • Owwww! My tongue! It delivers the desired effect.
  • OMG! Crazy spicy.
  • Well eating a healthy dose of this certainly changed the course of my morning for the worse.
  • It has no flavour – it’s just hot.
  • I thought the flavour was fire.

The five sent turned out to be a great range with four definitely usable sauces and one um… jokey one? I know it’s the Christmas season and you’d probably expect to hear that hot sauces are great as stocking fillers (each bottle is about £4 with the exception of the 357 which is about £7) and all that jazz but you know what, if I received a selection like this for my birthday (in the summer), I’d be quite thrilled!

Do you like hot sauces? What’s your favourite and what do you put it on or in?

Food products aren’t really something I’ve blogged much about but lately there have been a few things I’ve been totally obsessed with and want to share with everyone. For that reason, I’ve scanned through my old posts and placed them in a new category you can see to the right of this page – Products. Needless to say, if I ever decide to write about something that a company has given me to try, it will be very clearly stated. However, today’s was not given to me; it’s something that I could have sworn I saw on Umami‘s blog a while ago but I can’t seem to find her post anymore.

Crispy Prawn Chilli

In a nutshell, this stuff is like crack. Seriously. Tean’s Gourmet Crispy Prawn Chilli. As you would expect, there’s chili and dried prawns in there, all chopped up, and also shallots, garlic, dried anchovies, sugar, salt and MSG all mixed up and fried in oil. I’m not sure how they cook it or how they bottle it but it remains so so crispy. You can just about pick out the ingredients too – dark red chili, golden bits of garlic. It’s not very spicy but very savoury and incredibly addictive – I can eat it plain out of the jar but it really peps up plain rice and noodles and mediocre takeaway fried rice too. I bought mine at Wing Yip and I’m due for a new one: I can already see the bottom of the jar.

Recently, I was craving something on rice for dinner and Spam and eggs came up again as a suitable topping (I have a whole other post on my love of Spam). Now, you’re probably thinking – gosh, how could I better that? (Or I suppose you could be turning up your nose now and moving on from my blog…) Well, bring out a jar of this. Honestly, I could have skipped that egg and just gone all Spam and crispy prawn chili and rice (that should be considered one of the new classic culinary trios).

I reckon this condiment would also work in stir fries and other dishes. The first thing I did try to add it to was konlo mee – a dry noodle dish seasoned with various sauces (I think konlo is dry in Cantonese but please correct me if I’m wrong) – but I found that mixing it in with the moist noodles and wet sauces caused it to lose all its crispiness and hence, half its charm. I would suggest putting the crispy prawn chili at the very end and on top. Yum.

Ready for the Boiled Noodles

Konlo Mee

If you do want to make konlo mee at home, boil some fresh egg noodles (like the kind for wonton mee – or any dried egg noodle, even instant noodles), drain then toss them with your choice of sauces and oils to taste. May I suggest some combination of soy sauce, oyster sauce, dark sweet sauce, kecap manis, black vinegar, shallot oil, garlic oil, sesame oil, lard (!) to taste? It’s all just practice practice practice to find that combination that you like – I’m not suggesting you put all those ingredients in there, just try a few and add and subtract as you see fit. As a general guideline, you definitely want least one of the dark sauces and one of the oils in there by default. This is quite nice with some wonton or choy sum soup on the side and some sliced char siu on top. So delicious and it really reminds me of what I ate growing up.

Put a spoonful of crispy prawn chilli on top though and it’s just divine!