It is very rarely that I will use an "instant meal" sauce, but today was an exception. My wife had bought this gluten-free offering to try, so I thought that I would give it a whirl.
My original plan was to make a chicken and mushroom risotto, so I already had the chicken and onions frying, with a fresh pot of chicken stock on the side, ready to add. Whilst this was not the way in which this particular sauce was designed to be used, I have nevertheless made any number of these "fusion risottos", including goulash-sotto, rogan josh-sotto, etc.
The sauce in question is a Thai Satay Simmer Sauce from the
Yackandandah Preserving Company, but you probably don’t need to bother following the link, as all is showing is a minimal "Website Comming Soon" (sic) page.
Ignoring the absent site, which is actually quite common amongst small businesses, often let down by back-yard developers – but that’s material for another rant – the product seems to be quite reasonable. The jar advises me that vegetables are sourced locally and stocks made on the premises. Good stuff.
What’s In It
Looking through the ingredients, my only quibble is with the use of xanthan gum, which is not a traditional product, to the best of my knowledge. (It is actually made by fermenting starches, like maize, with a bacteria Xanthomonas campestris.) Guar gum comes straight from a plant and is my preferred alternative. Otherwise, we appear to be looking at a fairly pure and good mixture. It should be noted that salt is not on the list of ingredients, as it is in many "ready to go" products and does, therefore, need to be added.
My wife enjoyed it, but a product like this is so hard for me to review; I am used to much greater amounts of spices in my food and find most product for the mass-market totally insipid. I can’t say something like "this was totally yummy!", but I would say that the flavour was pleasant if, for my taste, understated. The chilli made its presence felt but, unfortunately, so did the vinegar. It is good to see a product made from fresh ingredients containing no artificial preservatives, but preservatives it needs; in this case we have vinegar, and the taste is too predominate for the sauce as-is, so some additions to balance this might need to go in the cooking pot.
Would I use it again? Possibly, but as a base. I added salt and chicken stock to this batch (I needed a lot of fluid for the rice), but would probably chuck some garlic and a spot of ginger into a future preparation.
If you want something gluten-free and tasty, but haven’t spent as many years on the heavy spices as Smiffy, this product is available from Sunnybrook, as mentioned in this post. Give it a go and support a small business that actually makes food from – well – food!