Review: Deshidratados – Dry Aji Pepper Seasonings
Dry Aji Pepper Seasonings
First impression: Okay, this was the one item that upon removing from my box of HSB goodies to review, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The packaging I felt was quite unassuming on its own. In a plastic type netting, 8 small doses of some Aji Pepper seasonings. Given the products are covered in sea faring creatures; I’d assume that these are only to be used for fish. Although reading the back of that little tag you see above, reveals otherwise. Out of the 8 small vials, there are two each of 4 different seasoning blends. I removed them from the plastic netting and looked at each one in this order: Pirana Pique, Barracuda Pique, Tucunare Pique, and Tiburon Limon Pique. The suggested uses of the Pirana Pique: fish, fruits, meats, and soups. While the Barracuda Pique lists: meats, pastas, soups, and salads. The Tucunare Pique lists: meats, pastas, soups, and salads. And finally the Tiburon Limon Pique: meats, chips, soups, fruits, and pastas. Now I’m not too certain if the peppers used in these products are in fact the Peruvian Hot Pepper. My Spanish isn’t all that great, so I had to use Babel Fish (gotta love the Hitchhiker’s reference) to translate. This review has a good number of pictures. There were 4 versions to rate, so here goes”¦
Pirana Pique ““ Aji picante y sal. (sharp aji and salt)
Barracuda Pique ““ Aji, pimiento, cilantro y sla. (aji, pepper, coriander, and salt.)
Tucunare Pique ““ Aji, oregano, ajo y sal. (aji, oregano, garlic, and salt.)
Tiburon Limon Pique ““ Aji picante, limon y sal. (sharp aji, lemon, and salt.)
Here is each product with a close-up of the spice mixture
Appearance/Smell/Taste: I crack open all 4 containers and give them a little sniff. Every single one of them has a very light fruity scent. The cumin slightly stands out a bit in the Barracuda, while I’m getting a hint of the lemon in the Tiburon Limon Pique. All of them are very dry, as they are dry spices. Yet they tended to be somewhat clumped together after being packed away in these little cylinders for a while. Breaking them all apart, it appears that there is a good deal of salt in each one. I’m going to wait and see after cooking. It’s also nice to see a lack of silicon dioxide! Silicon dioxide is another one of those questionably safe additives. I personally try and stay away from products containing silicon dioxide. The product is packed and manufactured in Colombia. So this product has traveled a bit for a taste testing.
Prepared meal: Steamed Orange Roughy with Rocoto Rice
I was walking past the fish counter at my local store, when I noticed that they had a few really nice Orange Roughy fillets. So I picked out one that weighed about Â½ lb, and decided that it would be used to test out these spice mixtures.
I cut the fillet into 4 equal sized pieces, and dredged each quarter in a plate of extra virgin olive oil. Then I coated them well, each with a different spice mixture.
To steam the fillets, I sealed each separately into foil pouches and threw them into my toaster over. Baking at 400 degrees for about 16-17 minutes, produced very flaky and well steamed Orange Roughy, as you can very well see from these adjacent photos”¦!
To accompany this meal, I also prepared a very plain rice dish. I call it Rocoto Rice, because it’s just finely chopped Rocoto chilies cooked in with the rice. Very basic and plain, yet the Rocoto gives the rice an almost fruity flavor and a hint of heat, depending on how much Rocoto chile you use! I used 1 large Rocoto chile for 1 cup of rice, which produced a very mildly spicy side dish.
Light with a hint of citrus tends to go well with this type of fish. So the light citrus scent I was getting up my nostrils when I smelled each of the spices made me think how great these would go with Orange Roughy.
Complement to meal: The fish was perfectly steamed, so it flaked well part, I first try the Pirana Pique coated fish”¦. HOLY SALT!!! Salt is definitely the first flavor to hit my tongue! That and a light fruity peppery flavor with a nice burst of heat that dies very quickly. Almost reminiscent of cayenne, but not quite. There is something different about it. But damn! Is this stuff salty! Either that, or I used too much for the fish. Whewww”¦ looking at this stuff dry, I could see lots of salt. But I didn’t think that it was going to be THIS salty.. Keep in mind, that I am very sensitive to salt, I never salt my foods and cook with small amounts in my kitchen. I then clear my palette with a forkful of rice and move on to the next fillet”¦
The Barracuda Pique was even saltier than the Pirana! WOW! The heat is much lower in this one for sure. Definitely a 2-3 on the HSB heat scale. Now I’m not sure if I used way too much of this stuff, or perhaps this stuff is just THAT salty and it’s just me. I can’t really taste anything else over the salt in this one. Way too overpowering for me. Eating another forkful of rice and moving right along”¦
I then try the Tucunare Pique, again the first taste that hits my tongue is SALT! I get a little tease of the oregano in the backround, but the salt here is totally overpowering to me. The heat is slightly higher than in the Barracuda, but still below the Pirana heat level. I’m banking that the Pirana is supposed to be the hottest one in the bunch.
The last in the group is the Tiburon Limon Pique. Again, this one is as salty as the Barracuda, which means it’s saltier than the other two, yet still over powering to my palette. There is a stronger citrus flavor in this one, definitely from the dried lemon. The heat is just below the Pirana yet above the Tucunare heat level. I’m thinking that I used way too much of this stuff on my fish. Either that, or Colombians like to really salt their fish before eating!
Well, all the fish is just way too salty for me to finish. So I ended up eating mostly Rocoto Rice as my meal.. Oh well. I suppose that it might be better adding a dab or two into a cup or bowl of soup. Or even slightly coating a nice steak or even some fruit, like the tag so suggests! I suppose that this might not have been an ultimately ‘fair’ review since it’s possible that I over-spiced my meal. Take it as you may. Give them a try if you feel so inclined. -Lars-
Initial impression: 6/10
Ingredient quality/content: 5/10