For the hopeful home-chefs out there, I wanted to share some of the core staple sauces I keep in my kitchen. If you’re starting out, this is a great opportunity to setup a base of sauces that you can intermingle and experience new flavours and cuisines.
- Low-sodium soy: for pretty much anything Chinese, or goes really well with honey and balsamic in salad dressings
- Oyster: I use it over blanched bok-choy or gai-lan Chinese vegetables; great mixing with the other Asian sauces for stir-frys and fried noodles as well
- Black bean (preferably the paste) – I use this over a family recipe of tofu and ground pork (tofu never tasted this good)
- Teriyaki – standard fare for wings or stir-frys
- Tabasco – morning hangover Caesars or for a punch over scrambled eggs
- Sriracha (thai hot sauce) – you see a variation of this sauce at pretty much every Vietnamese Pho restaurant; try it with eggs, it’s unbelievable
- Vinegars: if you like fruity vegetable dressings, then the world is your oyster here – you can find various fruit vinegars, but I primarily just get a good bottle of balsamic.
- Oil: I have 3 different oils I keep handy for different purposes: 1) extra virgin olive oil – for salad dressings and flavour over finished dishes; 2) regular olive oil – for medium heat and the majority of my cooking; and 3) Canola oil – for browning/searing meats and fish. This has to do with the different smoking points of oil where it becomes unhealthy. Canola can withstand higher temperatures which makes it ideal for searing.
- Worcestershire: in your Caesar, meat marinades or salad dressings
- Sesame oil: a great finishing oil for chicken-cashew or other asian dishes
- Dijon mustard: a must-have for salad dressings and as a substitute for mayo
- Salsa: I love salsa…the dancing part and the condiment. #1 condiment in North America for a reason.
- Others: olives, capers, sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes (for anything Mediterranean, I like to always replenish this list of ingredients)
There you go. With this stash of sauces in your fridge, you’re on your way to a ton of healthy and flavourful meals.