My regular reader will know that last Friday the Thirteenth I went on an expedition to get some chili relish from my friend Kerwin. In that blog post I promised a review of the product. Well, here it is.
I purchased three separate varieties of relish. Today I will be telling you about the 400 gram (almost 1 pound) bottle of Chisa Mnandi ‘Hot Zingr’ Chili Relish. The bottle cost a competitive R45 (about US$3.50). My spouse and daughters are not exactly fans of spicy food, so I have been waiting for just the right time to try the relish and this Saturday I got my chance.
We had decided to have hotdogs for lunch and what could be a better test of a new chili relish than a chili-dog? As the South Africans out there will no doubt know, South Africa was recently gripped by a listeriosis outbreak. The outbreak was traced to meat processing factories, which have subsequently been closed, and thus processed meat has been rather hard to find of late. There has thus been something of a shortage of hotdog sausages in our local shops. I was however able to find Russian sausages made by an unaffected company. I am not sure if other countries have ‘Russian’ sausages, but for those of you who do not know, in South Africa, Russian sausages are a slightly spicy pork sausage made with garlic and other spices. It is in my opinion quite a lot like a very mild chorizo sausage. Why it is called a ‘Russian’ is beyond me, but possibly because they are like a traditional Russian dish? In South Africa, Russians are often deep fried in oil and served with ‘chips’ (French Fries). I however quite enjoy eating them as a hotdog and as there were no other hotdog sausages available my preference was rather fortuitous.
The recipe for the hotdog was as simple as can be. Heat the sausages in water. Slice the hotdog roll in half (length ways) and butter it. Place about two teaspoons of chili relish on one half of the roll and a similar amount of tomato sauce (ketchup) on the other half of the roll. Spread the sauce and the relish evenly. Place one sausage between the two halves. Eat.
I found the chili relish to be very good. It is marketed as ‘Hot Zingr’ and whilst you can taste the heat of the chili it is far from ‘too hot’. In fact, I think it has a very good flavour profile and gives a good balance between the heat and the flavours of the chili. The relish also has a very pleasant, but again not over powering, smokiness to it. The smokiness added considerably to the flavours of the Russian sausage and complimented the hotdog very nicely.
After having my hotdog, I got inspired and the next day I decided to make omelettes for breakfast. I thought that the chili relish would make an excellent accompaniment to an omelette. An omelette is always a good way of using up bits and bobs that are in the fridge, so no two will ever be exactly alike, but here is what I had on hand and thus how I made the omelette (serves two):
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon butter
2 Russian sausages (sliced)
1 tomato (diced)
3 peppadews (sliced)
2 gherkins (sliced)
1 tablespoon chili relish (adjust to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan and Cheddar cheese (grated)
Beat the eggs, milk and butter. Add the tomato, peppadew, gherkin, sausages, and chili relish. Stir. Pour this into a greased cast iron frying pan and fry over a high heat. Do not stir this mixture once it is in the pan. Once the egg has cooked through and looks firm on top add the cheese and place the pan under a hot grill until the cheese has melted.
The flavours compliment each other wonderfully. The chili relish adds a lovely smoky quality to the omelette which makes it feel very rustic. Of course, there is a lot of leeway for taste here and you can adjust things as you wish.
My next project is to use the chili relish in a Mexican dish I think. It should make a good salsa and will go well with mincemeat and or beans.
The chili relish is very yummy. It has a great flavour profile and is well balanced. It is not too hot, but it does have enough of a ‘kick’ to let you know you are eating something made with chili. Often people simply make chili sauces hot and only hot. This makes the uninteresting and I believe that this relish has managed to hit just the right note. My only criticism is that the relish is a little brown. This however probably has more to do with our expectations rather than anything intrinsically wrong with the relish. Manufacturers often add red food colouring to chili products because they think that it makes it look more appetising and we tend to associate the colour red with heat. Green chilis are just as authentic as red and a browner relish is almost certainly simply proof of a more authentic and less adulterated product. The brown colour is thus a virtue. Do not let it put you off, especially when compared to the more violent reds of some commercial products I have seen. I am happy to recommend this product to you. There are no storage instructions on the jar, but I have stored mine in the fridge for safety’s sake.
Why not order your own jar of relish today? You can contact Kerwin on 081-395-4518. Here is a price list (as at 1 May 2018) for the relishes (if you are interested).
Kerwin’s family also make a range of baked goods (in addition to the preserves), marketed under the Ouma Rina se Pens label, and I think we will be sampling these in the near future! Keep an eye on this space for a review of these yummy goodies.