Add a tasty little kick to your tacos, burritos, nachos or fajitas. A dash of Chipotle and Morita chillis brings an authentic, smoky flavour to any Mexican meal.
We decided to have a Mexican fiesta night during lockdown, complete with an array of Mexican dishes, Mariachi music, sombreros and of course Mexican beer. We served fish burritos, chicken enchiladas and cheesy nachos. Everyone had something new to try, something they loved and an opinion to share.
We have a range of taste preferences in our home with my two boys not keen on too hot and spicy, although always willing to have a taste, husband likes to taste the flavour and a medium kick and I love it it hot and spicy, the spicier the better!
The Tio Pablo Salsa Sabroso Taco Sauce, medium heat with chilpotle and Morita chillis was used on the enchiladas (on top under melted cheese) and used in the burritos as a condiment. It comes in a 250g bottle and is a very rich, dark looking salsa - not chunky but thick. Upon opening it you get a hit of smoked chipotle and a very rich tomato scent - it wasn't quite what I was expecting. The flavour crosses a number of levels and ends with a light heat, it certainly isn't too spicy and my children and husband both tried it.
I admit I tried it in a few variations with the chimichurri, with sour cream and as it was served on the enchiladas. There was something that made it more Italian like than Mexican like for me. I would like to try this in a bolognese sauce with pasta or a lasagne, or as a base for a spinach and feta pizza. I think there are many other options, rather than just Mexican food, for this sauce. I loved the smokey flavour but the children thought it was too strong and my husband thought it was a bit too tomatoe paste like. So although not a big winner we enjoyed trying something new.
The highlights for me is that this is a New Zealand made product! We are fans of supporting NZ made. This sauce is gluten and dairy free and all of the ingredients are natural (no numbers). Certainly a brand that I am going to support and seek out to see what else is in their range.
It's funny pre-lock up we would have Mexican meals religiously every week, as they are so quick to make and are extremely yummy. Since lock up last night has been our first Mexican dish as we have been spending longer in the kitchen preparing meals (not sure our waist is approving). So this review has taken way longer than I expected to write up.
Upon receiving the box of goodies, we did have a cheesy lunch using The Tio Pablo Fiesta Tortillas. They were a hit, making our own Quesadillas. With the stronger of flavour wraps we used Tomato Paste and with the mild plain flavours we used the Tio Pablo Salsa Taco Sauce - it does state medium heat but I was still not prepared for the kick I received taking my first bite. After a few coughs I grabbed the sour cream and continued to eat along with the sour cream and enjoyed immensely.
Last night we made Nachos, I tried to keep as plain as possible so could really experience the taco sauce. Using Cheese Corn Chips, mince, onions, beans and corn and a can of tomato in garlic sauce and then covered in grated cheese and sour cream it was ready in no time. Sprinkling the sauce over top of the dish and also putting a blob on the side of the plate.
My first bite had me coughing again as I got a rather large blob of the sauce and left me reaching for the water. The girls both commented on how spicy they were finding it, whereas my husband loved it. It is rather deceiving as looking at it, it looks like a chunky tomato pasta sauce. I don't actually taste much flavour from it instead I am just met with a rather intense heat from it. No particular ingredient stood out, more a medley of spices and obvious Chillis but nothing of significance.
I am not a huge fan of extreme heat or spice and if they say this is medium I would hate to imagine what hot would taste like. My girls and I were not a fan of it and in all honesty, I don't think I would be having again. Whereas my husband loved it and will continue to use the bottle to his own devices. The other issue I have is the price it is rather a lot for such a small bottle. We have only used twice - and in all honesty, the first time was hardly any really at all just spread over the Tortillas and the second time was just a splash over the plate and we have used just under a quarter of a bottle already.
I usually love to eat my food with a bit of a spicy kick to it but when it takes all the flavour away from the meal and numbs my taste buds I'm not so keen on it so I when I saw the Tio Pablo salsa Sabrosa Taco sauce I just had to try it as it stated on the bottle that it was only medium heat.
It came in a large clear glass bottle with a convenient twist-off cap decorated with what I had assumed to be a Mexican pattern covering the whole label. Upon opening the bottle I was hit with a very strong tomatoey smell that reminded me of an Italian dried tomato and olive pasta dish. The tastes itself was very delicate with a little bit of smokiness and surprisingly it was not as spicy as I thought it would have been which is great because I could actually taste the flavours of the sauce without having my tongue numbed by the spice. I tried some on the tortilla and it just worked so well with the vegetables and meat as it gave it a bit of a kick and overall improved the taste of my meal.
Overall I would definitely purchase this taco sauce again. The amount given was sold at a great price and the quality was very high, the taste was phenomenal and it didn't numb my tongue so I could taste all of the flavours which was why I originally got this sauce to review. I would recommend to someone who wants a bit of spice to their food but doesn't want to take away the flavour of the food. Overall this was an amazing product.
I love my spicy foods, but the flavour is also very important to me, and I am very picky when it comes to flavours. I love chillis, but I do not enjoy the flavour of bell peppers, and jalapenos generally get mixed results from me. Birdseye chilli is currently my go-to as it adds heat without affecting the flavour.
Marked as Medium to Hot, I was curious to see what this sauce was like. Oftentimes products are described as "Hot" but would be better described as "European Hot", or a product that will only seem hot to those that are unfamiliar with a spicy heat. Placing a dollop of this Taco Sauce on the tip of my tongue, I can sense some heat, but I would personally consider this a "Mild to Medium" sauce. There is a presence of spice, but the smokey flavour is what steals the spotlight.
The sauce has a nice viscosity and thickness to it. It makes it very easy to spoon onto a flour tortilla to form a base that will hold the ingredients in place. It also sticks well to meat and adds great flavour to a tomato-based sauce. With a consistency that sits between tomato paste and tomato puree, this Taco Sauce would also work well as a base for pizzas, to add that little extra heat or a great addition to the sauce of a spaghetti bolognese.
Personally I would prefer something with a bit more of a kick to it, but as it stands, this Taco Sauce will appeal to a wide audience and the mellower spice level does give it a greater quantity of applications. From table sauce to marinades, there are many uses for a sauce with a flavour like this. This is not cajun in flavour, this is a nice simple chipotle sauce.
Apart from the lack of a strong spicy kick, the only real negative to the sauce would be the price. Considering the size of the bottle, it is almost double the price of other sauces. If I could get a bigger bottle, or a reduction in price, I'd be much more likely to make this a staple in my grocery shopping.
On seeing that the strength of this sauce was Medium Hot, I tasted it with caution in case it burned my tongue. You can never be sure from one brand to the next whether the capsaicin component is high or not; usually manufacturers just guess so results can be quite variable. I have had Tio Pablo products in the past, so expected that the heat description should be fairly accurate. It was, maybe even slightly milder that medium hot. That meant it was a little too hot to eat on its own but would be perfect with the right food. And the smell that hit me when I first opened the bottle was wonderful; a combination of barbecue smoke, spices and summer vegetables. I was starting to feel hungry and was almost ready to forego the trimmings and just drink some of the sauce straight from the bottle. Luckily, I did not.
We tried it with several different dishes. There was plenty of product in the bottle, and even after eight meals (most with two people) there is still three-quarters left which makes it good value for money. We found it was great to use with tacos or tortillas, and also as a dip with hors d'oeuvres like chicken nuggets or mini spring rolls. I added some gherkin dip alongside the sauce so that anyone who found it too hot could combine the two for a milder mixture. Not only did we like it this way, but we ended up mixing the two sauces on the plate when we had it with the nuggets!
I was making curry a couple of days later but the commercial curry powder which was the only one I had in the house was too mild and slightly sickly. I think it had too much turmeric and not enough chilpotle. I added a tablespoon of taco sauce and the balance was restored. The over rich, uninteresting taste of the curry was sharpened and became much tastier after this simple addition. I also added a dash to some cheesy scrambled eggs and that was superb. No need for salt or pepper; the sauce imparted plenty of full flavour and the eggs took on an interesting shade of pale pink!
The last item we have tried it with so far was a burrito. I had some tuna in the freezer, a fish I always find quite boring unless it is served with another, stronger flavour. This time the taco sauce supplied the little extra; the burrito was stuffed with the tuna poached in the sauce, and then I added half a can of refried beans, some chopped fresh tomatoes and spring onions, and fresh corn cooked and then removed from the cob. The burritos were then shallow fried on both sides and topped with cream cheese and sliced avocado. I am starting to think tuna is not such a bad food after all. I have already started referring to the Taco Sauce as Tuna Sabrosa (Yummy Tuna)!
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