Kitchen Essentials: Sauces and Condiments

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.

  1. Low-sodium soy: for pretty much anything Chinese, or goes really well with honey and balsamic in salad dressings
  2. 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
  3. Black bean (preferably the paste) – I use this over a family recipe of tofu and ground pork (tofu never tasted this good)
  4. Teriyaki – standard fare for wings or stir-frys
  5. Tabasco – morning hangover Caesars or for a punch over scrambled eggs
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Worcestershire: in your Caesar, meat marinades or salad dressings
  10. Sesame oil: a great finishing oil for chicken-cashew or other asian dishes
  11. Dijon mustard: a must-have for salad dressings and as a substitute for mayo
  12. Salsa: I love salsa…the dancing part and the condiment.  #1 condiment in North America for a reason.
  13. 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.

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