The Garlic Farm Thai Red Curry Paste Review & Recipe

The Garlic Farm have been growing garlic on the Isle of Wight for over 50 years and currently are the UK’s largest specialist garlic grower.   The Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight not only sell wonderful garlic, but they also have a broad range of snacks, sauces, chutneys, and cooking ingredients.  

Here we have a jar of  Thai Red Curry Paste which I will review, and then follow up with my own basic recipe for Thai Red Chicken Curry.

Tasted by itself before cooking, The Garlic Farm Thai Red Curry Paste certainly packs a fresh, vibrant punch which hints you could be in for a real treat once cooked.  You can immediately taste the fresh red chilli and Lemongrass, loads of body from garlic and spices, and then you are left with a salty and tangy coconut finish.

Once the paste was cooked, and my Thai Red Chicken curry was made, the smells in the kitchen were utterly divine.  The pungent lemongrass fills the air, but the coconut and lime also shine through.

The heat of The Garlic Farm Thai Red Curry Paste is medium,  I didn’t find it particularly hot but I could really taste the fresh red chilli in the paste.  Personally I don’t ever think cooking pastes should be too hot since you have more control of the heat if so, and you can comfortably cook for others without worrying about blowing their heads off.  Plus, you can always add more chilli to either the dish before or after cooking.

The final curry sauce was a thing of beauty – you could taste every ingredient that went into the paste individually and everything flavour was well balanced.  High notes of citrus and lemon grass, middle notes of garlic, ginger and coconut, and low notes of deep red chilli and red peppers.  It’s an amazing paste that my other half described as ‘lush’ and thought the heat was just right, and demanded I make this curry again in a few weeks.

The Garlic Farm Thai Red Curry Paste is so far the best Thai curry paste I’ve ever cooked with, and I can fully recommend this if you want to make a incredibly tasty Thai curry!

Rating: 3.5/5


Recipe for Thai Red Chicken Curry using The Garlic Farm Thai Red Curry Paste


  • 2 tablespoons of The Garlic Farm Thai Red Curry Paste
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch slices or cubes
  • A tin of coconut milk or coconut cream
  • A splash of Fish sauce
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 2 chopped peppers or any other vegetables you fancy
  • Fresh coriander, stalks included.
  • Tablespoon of oil


  1. Fry the onion in the oil until slightly browned.  Add the peppers and fry until softened.
  2. Chop the stalks of the fresh coriander, and add to the pot. Fry for 1 minute.
  3. Add a splash of fish sauce and stir until the fishy smell has gone (30 seconds or so).
  4. Add your chicken pieces and fry until they’ve all got some colour.  Add you paste and continue to stir.
  5. Add you coconut milk or cream – I used just over half a tin but this is up to how much sauce you want, and how much chicken and vegetables you have in your pan.
  6. Simmer without a lid for 5-10 minutes until the sauce has thickened a little and the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
  7. Serve with fresh coriander, lime edges, and plain rice.  I made a quick cucumber, spring-onion, lime, & coriander salad to go with (pictured).


Pain Is Good Jalapeno Harissa

I’ve had a couple of Pain Is Good sauces in the past and always remember that they tasted really fresh and almost homemade, so I was really looking forward to this Jalapeno Harissa.

Pain Is Good Jalapeno Harissa comes in a hip-flask shaped bottle, with a pleasingly textured paper label.  The sauce is quite thick, and a deep brown in colour.  All of the harissas I’ve tried in the past have been a bright red colour, so there is obviously something different going on with this sauce.

Wow, this sauce does taste fresh – like it was made yesterday!  A sharp zing of jalapeno hits the taste buds, which is then mellowed with garlic and strong herbs.  An earthy flavour brings depth and body to the sauce, followed by a fresh mint flavour, and then finishes with a lingering heat and coriander flavour.  The heat of the sauce is tame at first, but builds to a tongue-dancing burn as you eat more.  Mild, but interesting heat.  Sounds great eh?!  Hmm I’m not sure.

Pain Is Good Jalapeno Harissa has a very dominating mint flavour, and I think the sauce is a little confused overall.  The acidic jalapeno goes great with the garlic and coriander flavour, but the mint just seems to hold this sauce back and stops it from being something you want to go back to.  Don’t get me wrong, the sauce is nice, but it’s not one that urges you to eat more or add to your food.  I’ve tried this sauce with plenty of foods, and there wasn’t much that it went well with, however if anything it’s best paired with white chicken meat.

What really gets my goat here is that is called ‘Harissa’.  Nope sorry, this is not harissa by any means and I think it’s been badly thought through as a whole.

It’s such as shame that Pain Is Good Jalapeno Harissa is flawed since you can tell it’s a well crafted product, and contains great quality ingredients.  Perhaps if the mint was toned down, some citrus added, and then called something less misleading, this could be a a really great sauce.

Rating: 2/5

Spontaneous Combustion Chicken Wing Sauce

Spontaneous Combustion Chicken Wing Sauce is made by Southwest Specialty Food, Inc  (the company sometimes goes under the Ass Kickin’ brand), and this sauce comes all the way from Arizona USA.  I picked this up from my local Hot Headz online shop since I love trying different wing sauces, and really liked the packaging this sauce comes in.

Spontaneous Combustion Chicken Wing Sauce is your typical glossy and runny wing sauce constancy, and is a muted orange colour.  There is vinegar on the aroma, as well as raw chilli extract will clear out any cold.

So as I’ve mentioned in previous posts about Wing Sauce, it’s only fair to review these sauces when cooked with chicken wings rather than trying the sauce in isolation.  That said, when you do try the sauce alone it’s full of instant searing, burning heat that makes my eyes water every time. This sauce has not got a deep or complex flavour, and the heat seems to get in the way of any subtle balance between pepper and vinegar.

Spontaneous Combustion Chicken Wing Sauce is a seriously hot sauce that makes tangy and fresh tasting super-hot wings,  but it doesn’t have the full flavour that I like from sauces such as Louisiana Wing Sauce or Frank’s RedHot Xtra Hot Sauce. The sauce  seems to be heat over taste, and although this is disappointing it does have its uses such as ‘Roulette Wings’, or adding to other wing sauces to beef up the heat.

I haven’t got much to say about Spontaneous Combustion Chicken Wing Sauce since it’s a fairly one-dimensional sauce, but it does make exceptionally very hot and tasty wings. Personally I’d rather a more full flavoured sauce and add extra heat.

Rating: 2.5/5

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Creole Honey Mustard Sauce

I wouldn’t normally buy mustard based sauces since I’m not a fan of the hot yellow seed, but this one caught my eye and I’m ever so pleased I did a couple of reasons. First of all, this sauce is bloody delicious. Secondly, I’ve opened up to mustard in general, and I’m really starting to like it with more and more foods.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Creole Honey Mustard Sauce has a glossy, thick consistency with lots of small bits which give the sauce a natural appearance.  The aroma is sharp mustard, not far away from ‘French’s’, and gives off a good hit of black pepper.  It smells divine, and this aroma from this sauce intensifies when the sauce is cooked.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Creole Honey Mustard Sauce has such a great balance when it comes to taste, this is one of my favourite sauces since four flavour sensations gets delivered separately when tasted.  First you get sweet mellow mustard, which then gets kicked out by a super-tangy mustard-vinegar tang, which is then calmed by a very earthy and warming black pepper spread of heat, finishing off with a tiny bit of chilli heat that rounds the sauce off.

The bits in the sauce seem to be black pepper which gives a prolonged warm pepper flavour in the mouth as you eat more of the sauce, and the sharp, vinegary mustard tang stays present also.

What makes this sauce exceptional is that it’s different with every bite – sometimes you get more black pepper, sometimes you get more chilli heat, but it’s always balanced well with the acidity from the mustard.  It leaves a moreish, slightly acidic after-taste, and a cool chilli and black pepper burn that makes you want to down the entire bottle.

I’ve mainly eaten this sauce with pork and beef steaks, it goes so well with a little charred fat on the edge of steak, the acidity of the sauce is perfect.  Also, this sauce goes great with veggies, it’s excellent on broccoli and cabbage.

This is not a hot sauce, the heat is barley noticeable but it’s so well delivered it doesn’t need to be any hotter.  What this sauce leaves you with after eating is truly delicious.

Certainly a runner for my favourite sauce of 2014, even though it’s not hot! 🙂

Rating: 5/5

Louisiana Wing Sauce – The Original

Buffalo Wings.  Man, I love Buffalo Wings.  My friend got me this sauce from Texas, saying that it’s very popular over there.  I know that Frank’s hot sauce is the most popular sauce for making Buffalo wings, but I wondered what the next big ‘go-to sauce’ is for wings, and apparently it is Louisiana Wing Sauce by Bruce Foods Corporation.

Well, Louisiana Wing Sauce certainly doesn’t disappoint, this is a wing sauce that is really worth seeking out if you like your Buffalo Wings.

The sauce is slightly thicker than original Frank’s, but very similar to Frank’s Wings sauce (surprisingly!).  A glossy, dark looking sauce, that smells quite acidic and almost punches you up the nose with it’s sharp tang.

I’m actually not so keen on this sauce when tasted by itself, it has a slightly odd flavour which I can’t put my finger on, a slightly artificial flavour, and tastes slightly too acidic. But this is a wing sauce after all, and so far I’ve found that most wing sauces aren’t great by themselves or served directly onto food…. Wing sauces are for WINGS.

I’ve cooked three batches of wings on separate occasions with Louisiana Wing Sauce, and I’ll say now those were the best wings I’ve ever eaten, and this is the best wing sauce I’ve ever had.  The high acidity goes perfect on the crisp, fatty chicken skin, and the full pepper flavour really compliments the white meat.  As the sauce caramelises on the meat, it goes a little ‘Marmitey’, a strong umami hit for the tastebuds.  It’s not  a complex sauce, and it’s made for one objective alone, to make f*cking A.M.A.Z.I.N.G tasting wings.

It would be only fair to compare it to Franks, and I’d say it’s more acidic, has much more heat, and has an overall fuller flavour than Franks.  Plus it came in a decent size bottle (354ml), something I wish Frank’s would.

So if you like making Buffalo wings, get yourself some of this sauce and let me know what think.

What’s your favourite wing sauce?

Rating: 4/5

Smack My Ass & Call Me Sally

Comedy-named novelty sauces – love them or hate them?  Personally I love them (‘Professor Payne Indeass Sphincter Shrinker’ is one of my favorites), but I’ll rarely buy them since I can’t help but think that a sauce should be sold on its description and ingredients alone, but perhaps I’m just being a bit stuffy?  They are just a load of fun afterall.

So, Smack My Ass & Call Me Sally is a comedy-named Habanero hot sauce which comes from Florida, US.  As you can see, some poor lad has had his bare bottom smacked hard, and crying.  Fine.  What I haven’t figured out is whether he is crying due to a sore derrière or whether he has had the displeasure to try this sauce.

This comedy sauce doesn’t offer much other than the humorous packaging; what we have here is a bland, artificial, watery hot sauce which just burns your tongue and doesn’t offer much else.  Not much aroma to mention, and the colour of the sauce is quite pale and almost anaemic.   The ingredients list (image below) promises so much, but it feels like those ingredients have had the soul slapped out of them, and if I was going to call this sauce something, it certainly wouldn’t be Sally.

Rating: 1/5

Tabasco Sweet Chipotle and Cola Sauce & Marinade

Tabasco have got to be one of the biggest hot sauce brands out there right?  I’ve always been surprised by how little they’ve expanded their product range, so I was not surprised to see this Tabasco Sweet Chipotle and Cola Sauce & Marinade in my local Sainsbury’s.

Say the words Tabasco, Chipotle, and Cola in the same sentence to me and I’ll always get very excited, until now.  Yep I’m not impressed with this effort from Tabasco and it’s been hanging out in my cupboard for months now, I keep trying with it different foods either as a sauce or marinade but I just can’t get on with it.

The sauce is very thick and comes out of the bottle quite clumpy, great for a marinade but not great for a table sauce.  The taste is very sweet with a tame cola-ish flavour, which then gets backed up by a slightly smoky heat which is actually quite pokey if you eat enough of it.  Strangely the heat doesn’t hang around when applied to food which is then later cooked (ribs, chicken thighs etc), which is disappointing.

Overall this sauce is overly sweet, quite bland, and doesn’t have any depth.  It could do with some more acidity and perhaps more seasoning.  When you look at the long ingredients list (see image below), it’s not surprising that this sauce just tastes a bit generic and sugary.  It’s such a shame since Tabasco’s core product has only THREE ingredients, all natural, which is a world away from Tabasco Sweet Chipotle and Cola Sauce & Marinade.

Not impressed Tabasco, you need to try much harder than this.

Rating: 1.5/5

Mrs Renfro’s Habanero Salsa

I’m not a salsa guy, mainly since I try not to buy crisps for consumption at home, but when I do actually get the chance to eat salsa, then forget the opening of this sentence.  I was bought this salsa as a present from a local Whole Foods store, and I’m delighted I got to try it.

Mrs Renfro’s Habanero Salsa is clearly quite an artisan product; the packaging is classy, ingredients natural, and comes with a nice back-story.  It feels homemade, far away from glass jars that Doritos have been pushing on us for years.

The first thing that hit me when I tried the sauce was how fresh and zingy it tasted, considering the jar must have been at least a few months old and shipped from the US I thought that was quite impressive.  A strong tomato base is complimented by fruity high note which is continued with a hit of sweet and sharp vinegar.  The heat from the Habanero kicks in and stays with you…for quite a while!  Mrs Renfro’s Habanero Salsa has a long lingering heat which works really well since it can only be stifled by eating more crisps – quite clever really.

Really worth getting some and sharing with others, tastes amazing and the heat is fierce but pleasing thanks to the fresh chilli peppers.

Rating: 4.5/5

Encona Brazilian BBQ Sauce

A short review today since I doubt you’ll able to buy this sauce anymore because Encona released this limited edition to coincide with the World Cup 2014 in Brazil (England fans have already forgotten this ever happened).

This is a very brave sauce to call BBQ in my opinion, and I must applaud Encona for doing so since it’s really something quite different to other barbecue sauces.

The colour is a rich mahogany, consistency is oily and smooth, but not sticky and gloopy like a lot of US style barbecue sauces. Encona Brazilian BBQ Sauce has a nice sweet smokey taste which is livened up by a strong woody herb flavour, think thyme or marjoram.  A slight hint of citrus brings the smoke and herbs together.

There isn’t really much heat to it, but it’s got a pleasant warmth. This sauce isn’t mind-blowing by any means, especially when tried by itself alone, but add this to a burger or any kind of grilled meat or vegetables and this sauce really offers something very tasty and unique, which is more than can be send for a lot of barbecue sauces out there.

Rating: 3/5

Sainsbury’s Hot Pepper Sauce

I like to keep an eye on what supermarkets are doing with their own brand sauces, and it’s great when you come across an attempt that is actually quite good.  Well Sainsbury’s, this one is a blinder.

Sainsbury’s Hot Pepper Sauce is very much in the style of a Caribbean Scotch Bonnet sauce such as Windward West Indian sauce, or the Encona Hot Pepper sauce.  The sauce has a great colour and large visible pieces of Habanero within it, and has a loose and chunky consistency.

The flavour is fresh and fruity (what you’d expect from a Habanero sauce), and has short punchy heat followed by a longer burn which is actually quite devastating if you have a lot of it, we’re talking tears over a tablespoon.

A really good own-brand sauce.  Although it’s a great sauce for the price (£1.25), I personally wouldn’t buy it again since there are better examples of this style of sauce out there, however it’s worth a punt if your Sainsbury’s stocks it.

Rating: 3.5/5


After a few more tastes and chats with friends, I think I would perhaps buy this again over brands like Encona or Windward (which share shelf space) .  This sauce by Sainsbury’s has an very special individuality; for an own-brand sauce I can do nothing but tip one’s cap.