Thursday, March 24, 2016

Aji BURN

I was introduced to Aji Gourmet Products at a YVR Foodies event at Trattoria Burnaby where they spoke briefly about their sauces. Their products are:
  • gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free
  • low in calories
  • fat free
  • free of preservatives and MSG
  • made with fresh and natural ingredients
By using natural ingredients, when you use Aji you are "putting real food on your food".
Each bottle is around $8-$10, a price that would have basically doubled if they had committed to going certified organic.

I got two bottles, including "BURN", rated at 10,000-15,000 Scovilles in spicy heat. It was my choice to go for something on the spicier side since I'm good with spicy foods and sriracha chili sauce is pretty tame for me.
BURN smells like salsa and when consumed straight has a sharp sour-salty taste that whets the appetite and is so powerful I really couldn't make out the tomatoes (maybe a little bit), onions, or cilantro. The ingredients are listed as:
  • tomatoes, onions, cilantro
  • vinegar, water, sea salt, lemon juice
  • hot red peppers
  • native cornstarch
  • capsicum extract, which is what gives the spicy heat in chilies and added here to increase the heat level
The heat is quite strong and lingers for a long time with a bitter-tasting burn. I asked to try one of their sauces that was higher up in the spicy heat scale, and this definitely qualified. If you don't care for long-lingering heat on your mouth, go for something tamer.
The spicy heat doesn't kill other flavours, though. It's mostly a sensation in the mouth rather than, say, a bitter flavour that competes with the dish you used it on.

If you are looking for a no-preservative condiment, this is worth a try (and at around $8 either online or in stores (most easily found at Save-on-Foods), it's certainly an affordable experiment). Just a little (even a fraction of a teaspoon) goes a very long way, so you can expect your dollar to stretch with one bottle. Despite the lack of preservatives, it keeps for a long time.

I've only sampled it straight, and also used it on a bit of plain roti (I was anxious to just try it). I'll update this post when I try it on various other foods.

UPDATE (Mar-24): Tried it with their Pasta sauce. I thought I was going easy by adding just a bit, but apparently it's really powerful (the sour flavour, not the spicy heat) and if you're not careful you can all but obliterate the flavours. Go really easy on the portion with Aji BURN.

UPDATE (Mar-30): Totally brilliant move by my mom to add it to sweet chili sauce -- the type sold for spring rolls and that is typically just sweet with no heat. Aji BURN adds a bit of chili bite while still preserving the sweetness in the sauce and not changing the taste.

2016-Mar-23 - Aji Burn

2016-Mar-23 - Aji Burn

2016-Mar-23 - Aji Burn

2016-Mar-23 - Aji Burn

2016-Mar-23 - Aji Gourmet Products

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