Just a quick hit today, really. Take a look at the new Trader Joe's Ajika Georgian Seasoning Blend. It's all orangey and reddish and dusty looking, right? Looks spicy. Now, if you could, open it up and take a waft - smells spicy too, right? But that's not it - got some garlic in there, a little fenugreek, some coriander, heck, maybe if I'd stop to smell the flowers I'd pick up a little marigold too. Smells goood with more than just spice going for it. Shake out a little in your hand now and look - little dusty clumps. Good, good. And wet a fingertip and take a small taste...bam! Spice, spice, baby. Chile spice, garlic, coriander, that fenugreek again...lots going on here interplaying with one another. There's a lot going on when taken on by itself...
Which makes it so weird it all disappears when placed on, like, actual food.
My first encounter with the TJ's ajika was not the encounter discussed up top. Nah, i just went for sprinkling some on some leftover chicken for lunch. Didn't know how to take it, so I proceeded with caution...and tasted nothing. Put on more, and there still wasn't much flavor. A little more and there was the beginning of something, but by then my meal looked nearly encrusted in spice, and still all I got was a little subtle spicy savory taste. Subsequent tastings with food - veggies, on eggs - were much the same. Just nah.
Which made my most recent encounter, prior to writing this, that much more surprising given my first impression, and gives me a little future hope for further implementation. Maybe I'm using this wrong and you can help me out here? I'm thinking that perhaps using it in the cooking process - perhaps on some meat before smoking or veggies before grilling or some stew before, well, stewing - rather than a last minute add on. Good things take time, right?
For now, it's a not bad mix, with some potential, and to be clear, is of Georgia of the former Soviet bloc and not the Georgia that's in the southeastern US. Just be clear...though maybe it'd work on peaches? Hrmmm. Will give a seven for now.
Bottom line: Trader Joe's Ajika Georgian Seasoning Blend: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons.
I belive you can mix it in tomatoe souceReplyDelete
I fear that using spices before cooking would only further mute the flavor. They should be strongest as a last-minute sprinkle, no? Oh wait, I have seen instructions to dry toast or bloom spices in oil before cooking. Maybe that would help but that seems like too much effort.ReplyDelete
Effort? Its a matter of seconds.Delete
Buy a variety of dry hit mexican chiles and grind them into a paste with some water. Then mix in adjika spices. EnjoyReplyDelete
I'm so glad I'm not the only one who thought this was weak! I'm a big fan of Ajika, where I come from it is a very popular condiment, usually sold as a thick reddish paste, that is very flavourful and spicy. A small chunk on the tip of a spreader knife can often be enough. Naturally I was very excited when I saw it in seasoning form at my local TJ's and blind bought a couple of bottles. I tried it same day with TJ's Fiery Chicken Curry: I took off the cap - that familiar distinct aroma I remember from my childhood! Sprinkled a dash across Fiery Chicken Curry - nothing, no taste. Sprinkled more - still nothing. I ended up shaking down the bottle vigorously (my friends commented when I sent them a photo - would you like some rice with all that ajika?) - the taste was very faint. I was baffled and decided that it's not working with meals that are already spicy and aromatic. But next day I tried it on a simple ham and cheese sandwich with no other condiments and I still got no flavour whatsoever! This is NOT how ajika is supposed to be, I can't believe it's from Georgia and someone there thought it was alright. I'll stick to my local eastern european food store for the time being.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for sharing this. I will attempt to make my own ajika. Pity, though that they sell it.Delete
I have been using Adjika in my cooking for years. It took a while to find the Adjika product (Adjika source) that I liked in my local ethnic fruit market. I use in all the dishes I cook, including soups and stews. As fa as the TJ Adjika goes, it is too timid and underwhelming for my taste. As others have noted, you have to sprinkle quite a bit to achieve any trace of proper seasoning. The amount of salt is not sufficient. I had to add extra to satisfy my taste. Bottom Line: It is a miss.ReplyDelete
It's definitely not that spicy, but adds really nice flavor when used at the beginning of a dish, Like curry. The seasoning blooms at the beginning and then seasons the entire dish. I made a Poached Cod in Tomato Curry using this as the base. It was delicious.ReplyDelete
It's really svanuri marili / Svaneti salt and not actual adjika, which you can get in its proper paste form from eastern European groceries and kicks like a mule. (TJ's version is made in Georgia, so it's not some kind of fabrication.) I like it for the chile + fenugreek combination: there's a little heat but it's mostly aromatic.ReplyDelete
Some Georgian native chefs told me to buy this at TJ and dilute with sunflower oil. I first ate it at their restaurant and went crazy for the slow heat and complexity of the flavor it imparted to pita bread.ReplyDelete