Posted August 30, 2007 by Ethan in Reviews

Review: Ami Hot Pepper Sauce

Ingredients: water, brown sugar (sugar, molasses), habanero mash (water, habanero peppers), vinegar, honey, spices, salt.

Ami Hot Pepper SauceWhen I first saw the bottle of Ami from Rick’s Test Kitchen, I knew I was going to try it on Indian food. The combination of the font and the label’s background just scream vindaloo or curry to me. I hope that was the intent. If it was, then I’d rate this packaging fairly high. The bottle is simple, but its unique shape (I have the 2oz sampler, but I’ve seen the bigger bottle) makes it stand out from the other, standard bottles. Of course, if the consumer isn’t supposed to be reminded of Indian cuisine, then obviously the label misses the mark. I have no idea what Ami means, nor is there any indication on the label. Kind of disappointing, but that’s a minor issue. On a side note, I’m not so sure I like the name Rick’s Test Kitchen. It sounds scary, like a lab. Is this an experiment I’m getting ready to eat?

The ingredients include honey, a fact that’s pretty obvious when looking at the appearance of the sauce. Moving the bottle, the sauce sticks to the sides in a very viscous, honey-like manner. Between that and the brown sugar, this should be a sweet sauce. Ami flows easily, but the honey keeps it from being too runny. It’s on the edge of being too thin for my tastes, but manages to stick to my food well enough. Small flecks are evident in the sauce, but nothing I can immediately recognize. The color is a pleasing shade of brown. It even looks like it should be sweet.

Ami up close

Using a can of off-the-shelf vindaloo sauce, some cubed chicken breast, and some hot rice I had a delicious and easy plate of vindaloo. The vindaloo sauce is sweet, and even has a bit of kick on its own. Not enough though. Never enough. So I doused my plate with Ami, using nearly half of the bottle. Vindaloo has a fairly strong flavor by itself, but the Ami refused to be overshadowed. Ami was every bit as sweet as I had expected. It has a very full-bodied, robust flavor. Most of the sweet sauces I’ve tried tend to pack all their flavor into the first taste, but then they weaken and typically rely on their heat for an aftertaste. This is not the case with Ami. It’s flavor hits strong and then stays just as long as the sauce’s bite. I’m guessing this is a result of the honey.

Between the vindaloo and the Ami, I had a nice burn going by then end of my dinner. My nose had even begin to run, although just barely. Tasting Ami on it’s own, without the extra vindaloo sauce, I’d rate it a solid 5 on the HSB heat scale. A pleasant, sweet burn with a delicious aftertaste.

Ami on chicken coconut curry

A few days later, I easily finished the bottle off on a plate of coconut curry. It was another winning combination. After the meal, I realized I had made a mistake by not trying the sauce on anything but Indian-style dishes. I can’t imagine Ami going as well with anything else, but I also can’t really say for sure without trying it. It might actually make a pretty good burger sauce, who knows? On the other hand, the fact that I was in such a hurry to have more of the sauce says something about it’s flavor. No matter it’s versatility, it tastes darn good. In other words, I am going to keep my eye out for a bigger bottle of Ami. I’ve found my new default sauce for Indian meals, and would love to try it on some other foods.

Rick’s Test Kitchen
1415 South 11th Street
Lincoln, NE 68502