Some thoughts on Chili

I spent a long time looking for the ultimate Chili and Chili Sauce. On various trips around the world, I would collect the local brands. I also asked friends to do the same when they were on their travels. Instead of just collecting them like some people do (Why?), I tried them out.

There was quite a varience between them. Some were salty, others were sweet and others were just too hot. They would just give me the hickups, temporarily cauterise my taste buds and reduce everything to a burning sensation. Not what I was always looking for.

The commercial ones that I like the best are of course the Mc Ilhenny Tabasco sauces, both the Standard Tabasco and the Habinero Sauce. I also found a really good one in an asian market. It is a Thai sauce called Sriracha Chili Sauce "Strong". It is fairly cheap, but just the job.

There is also a range called Encona Caribean Sauces, which is pretty good and very firey. The West Indian Original Hot Pepper Sauce is made with Scotch Bonnet Peppers is one of my favourates.

After trying a large number of different sauces, I decided to develop one for myself.

It is based on many years making Chili con Carne. I wanted something that would press all the buttons of the taste buds. These are Salt, Sweet, Sour, Hot and Umami.

The general ingredients are Toamatoes (Sweet and Sour), Salt, Chili and other hot ingredients, Chocolate and Beer. It covers the broad spectrum of different taste senses.

I also went on a trek to find the best chilies. I tried the different varieties that are available in Dublin, Ireland. The real problem is that often, the suppliers of chilies are not aware enough to choose chilies for flavour. Sometimes chilies are hot and other times they are just crap. Sometimes you get those Little Red Indian Devils and they are great, other times they couldn't even blow a bubble. The same is true with Jalapenos. If you can get a good consistant supply of chilies, you are lucky.

I met the owner of a chinese restaurant in the pub one night and he said that he gets the consistant chili ingredient by only using Chili Powder. That ended my search for the ultimate chili. I still use fresh chilies but mainly rely on chili powder, usually from an asian market.

I like the combination of Chili and Garlic. This is shown in the two recipes for Chili con Carne and Suicide Chili Sauce on the previous page.