Recently, TATTGOC has been putting a considerable amount of effort into sourcing free curry-related products. For who better to be a spicy focus group than the Curry Lovers Of The Year 2010? That's the thinking behind Tastin' With The Tramps, a taste test with a difference in that ... in that ... actually, it's pretty much what you would expect from a standard taste test. So what's on the menu this time? It's Mr Singh's Hot Punjabi Chilli Sauce.
What did the Tramps make of it? Check it out, "after the jump", as they say.
The Product: Mr Singh's Hot Punjabi Chilli Sauce, a condiment some 25 years in the making and a real labour of love for the affable Singh clan. Their mightily spicy product received an excellent promotional boost by being featured on the BBC's High Street Dreams show back in May 2010, where none other than Loyd Grossman helped advise them how best to get their characterful sauce out of Popa's shed and onto the supermarket shelves, which led to it being stocked in Asda, and also catching the cultured nose of Tom Parker Bowles in the Mail On Sunday.
(Be advised, though: it's not to be confused with previous Tastin' With The Tramps entry Mr Singh's Bangras, or indeed the venerable Glasgow curryhouse Mr Singh's India.)
The Pitch: "Back in 1985, clattering around in a cluttered East End kitchen, MR SINGH stirred up his first batch of SPECIAL CHILLI SAUCE for his FIERY family. Inspired by the BUSTLE AND BUZZ OF LONDON and the deep flavours of his spiritual home in the PUNJAB, Popa Singh's signature sauce soon became the talk of dinner tables from Manor Park to Mayfair. WHATEVER THE DISH, a drop or two of his CHERISHED CHILLI CREATION is guaranteed to kick-start tastebuds and get people doing what the Singh family loves best ... having fun by bringing people together."
The Packaging: The modern-style clear glass bottle shows off the vivid, potentially potent sauce to great effect, while the electric pink Mr Singh's logo is eyecatching and unstuffy. According to Mr Singh's website, they recently changed bottles but it wasn't entirely clear whether our cherished sample was one of the new ones or the last of the old batch. It did clearly display how spicy the sauce was going to be, though: a mouthwatering four chillies out of five! Oaft!
The Process: Nothing if not versatile, Mr Singh's sauce can be pressed into service as a marinade, dipping sauce or simply as a special secret ingredient in your cooking. There is an awesome series of recipe videos on the official website, where various members of the Singh clan demonstrate some recipe suggestions, ranging from Fiery Flambee Prawns to Cheeky Cheese On Toast.
But the Tramps decided to stick with it as a dipping sauce, picking up a load of mixed pakora from one of Partick's foremost curryhouses, Papa Gill's. Since it was January, the month of Burns Night, The Tramp even dipped into his own pocket to get some haggis pakora too. Helping out with this particular Tastin' were Ravi Peshwari and The Bulldosa. So what did everyone think of this supposedly fiery sauce?
The Bulldosa says: It's not as hot as I thought it would be. I can't really taste the sauce with the pakora, I'm getting more of a pakora taste than a sauce taste. [Tries some Mr Singh's sauce on its own.] Ah. OK. That is pretty hot.
Ravi Peshwari says: I'd say it's got a much more interesting flavour than your usual off-the-shelf sauces ... it's hotter than I though it would be but it's not an unpleasant heat. Two thumbs up from me. The haggis pakora is pretty good too.
Trampy says: I like hot things and usually find supermarket sauces to be too bland to fire up my tastebuds. But you can really taste the Bird's Eye chillies in Mr Singh's sauce. It has a lovely flavour, colour and consistency. What a thoughtful gift it would be if someone got me a bottle or two.
The Tramp says: There is some real fire here. I can see myself adding Mr Singh's to my stock of sauces. I'd particularly like to try cooking with it, I can imagine it really turning up the heat. Well done to the Singh family!
The Verdict: Pretty much a universal thumbs-up from the Tramps and their tasting crew – but they were always going to love a sauce with a bit of a kick to it. If you'd like to track down a bottle for yourself, Mr Singh's sauce is available from Oil And Vinegar in Buchanan Galleries, Glasgow or posh Harvey Nichols over in Edinburgh. You can also order a bottle direct from the Mr Singh's website. And how did our brave currynauts follow up their spicy tea? By watching John Lennon's favourite mindbending western El Topo ...
Do you have a curry-related foodstuff you're launching into the crowded modern marketplace where a recommendation from appropriate enthusiasts might help? If so, drop us an introductory line at firstname.lastname@example.org and see YOUR product featured on ... Tastin' With The Tramps!
PREVIOUSLY DEVOURED ON TASTIN' WITH THE TRAMPS
McCoy's Vs Golden Wonder!
The Nation's Noodle!
Mr Singh's Bangras!