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Spicy Sauces

Amazing Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

If you think Mexican is the only cuisine with some heat then you have not tried Thai or Indian food for that matter. Many places around the world have a spicy element to their cuisine and it is not just limited to Mexico. Many parts of Asia have dishes that would even make a seasoned Mexican food fan draw a tear to their eye it is a fact of almost any hot climate has some heat in its food and it is not just from the hot sun blaring down.

Spicy food is easier to digest in hot climates I am not totally sure of the medicine behind this but if you follow the suns path and where it is hottest and coldest you will notice a pattern to the local cuisine that mimics the climate. Whatever the reason historically it doesn’t matter as much today with modern luxuries like air conditioning but you will find spicy food fans all over and if you want to try some excellent spicy food you have to try Thai food it is spectacular.

As I have been on a one woman crusade lately to point out call it what you like I don’t care great food is happening everywhere and try and keep an open mind and you will treat yourself to some wonderful cuisine all over the globe. No one country has the market so to speak cornered on great cooking and it happens in some of the least suspecting places so keep your eye open and you will treat yourself to some things you never know existed and will be glad you did. And one of those places is Thailand it is an amazing source of great food. Continue reading

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

This delicious sauce is very easy to make. In fact all you have to do is whisk the ingredients together and the sauce is ready to serve. Alternatively it can be chilled until required. Bottled honey mustard dressing is available everywhere but why use that when it is so quick and easy to prepare your own? You can use any kind of mustard in this recipe, and the finished sauce is lovely with chicken, fish, or as a dipping sauce for crackers or crudités.

Something else you can do is double the recipe and use half as a marinade for chicken and the other half as a sauce for dipping it. Chicken tenders would work great for that but it is very important to keep the marinade and sauce completely separate to avoid cross-contamination from the raw chicken. The reason honey mustard sauce is so delicious is the way it blends the piquant mustard with the sweet honey to offer a harmonious flavor balance.

This sauce is based on mayonnaise to add a nice creaminess, and you can use regular or reduced-fat mayonnaise as you prefer. You can also swap some of the honey for an artificial sweetener if you want, and take your pick from various kinds of paprika. You can also leave the paprika out if you do not have any. The finished sauce keeps for a couple of days in a covered container in the refrigerator. It is delicious served as a sauce or dip, or you can add some to your next chicken or ham sandwich. It is also very good drizzled over salad, or served with chunks of cheese as a dipping sauce. Continue reading

Rich Plum Sauce with Mustard and Ginger

Blending the sweetness of plums with the piquant flavors of mustard and chilies, this plum sauce boasts a rich, satisfying flavor, and a thick, syrupy consistency. You can adapt the amount of heat if you wish, de-seeding the jalapeños or swapping them for poblano, Anaheim or another milder pepper. You can also swap them for habanero or cayenne peppers if you want to increase the spice factor rather than decreasing it.

Leave out the sugar, ginger and mustard seeds for a more authentic taste, or leave them in for a richer, rounder flavor which most Westerners prefer. The recipe makes a lot of plum sauce and we recommend canning it because it keeps for up to a year kept somewhere dark and cool. It is really versatile and you can try it with duck or lamb, use it to glaze grilled meat, add it to your next turkey or lamb sandwich, dip your potstickers or egg rolls in it, or try it tossed with rice and green onions.

These are just a few serving suggestions and you are sure to come up with plenty more. You can even give some of the cans away as gifts. Homemade plum sauce is certainly something to savor and enjoy, so why not share the deliciousness with your nearest and dearest? Some people like to leave out most of the sugar, although if you were to do that the sauce would lack some of the texture and body which makes it rich, so either use some of it or else swap some of the sugar for honey. You can also play around with the balance between white sugar, brown sugar and honey, to get your own preferred type of sweetness. Continue reading

Aromatic Herb Chimichurri

Chimichurri, which can also be spelt chimichurri with 2 M’s, is an Argentinian sauce based on garlic, oil, vinegar, and fresh herbs. You can buy it readymade, dehydrated for mixing with water and oil, or you can make your own for the best taste. It is wonderful served with grilled meat, and is a popular condiment at steakhouses. In Argentina it is served with most meat-based meals because the fragrant flavor is just so delicious.

Miguel Brascó, an Argentinian gourmet, believes the word originated when the British were captured during the Rio de la Plata invasions and combined English, Spanish and Aboriginal words, asking for ‘che mi curry’ which can be translated to ‘give me sauce’ or ‘give me curry’ and the word then became chimichurri. This is not definitive, but it is one interpretation of the origin of this unusual sauce name.

This brightly colored sauce is incredible with steak, lamb or other roasted or grilled meats. The aromatic garlic and fresh herbs are balanced out with tangy vinegar and, in our recipe, a touch of honey for sweetness. Use fresh herbs for chimichurri wherever possible. If you grow your own herbs then you can add those to the sauce for maximum flavor. Try to make it a day before serving too, so the flavors can blend and mellow. Optional additional flavorings like cumin, paprika, basil, or bay leaf can also go into the mixture. Use whatever you have, and if you have your own herbs growing outside, you can really go to town adding a wonderfully aromatic blend of whatever you choose. Continue reading

North African Harissa

Harissa is a garlicky chili paste which adds depth and vibrant appeal to cooked meat or vegetables, livening them up and adding a distinctive taste to your meal. Try it with falafel or burgers, rub it over grilled meats or enjoy it alongside simple vegetable crudités. Harissa is a blend of chilies, garlic, oil, and spices, and there are quite a few different recipes for it, although it is associated mostly with Libya, Algeria and Tunisia. This sauce is also popular in Morocco, France and Germany.

Harissa variations include red peppers, cilantro, cumin, and lemon juice. It might even offer a smoky accent. You can buy it in cans, bottles, tubes, and jars, but for the best and freshest results, make your own. In Tunisia, where harissa is described as the country’s main condiment, it is added to chickpea soup, used to flavor couscous, popular in goat and lamb dishes, and also stars in fish and meat dishes of all descriptions. It goes into soups and stews in Algeria and is sometimes spread over bread rolls in European countries. Tunisia is the largest readymade harissa exporter.

The following recipe blends 2 kinds of chilies with cumin, coriander, caraway, and mint, as well as garlic and lemon juice. The result is an aromatic harissa blending sweet, savory, spicy, and bitter, as well as offering an incredible fresh taste. You are free to adjust the amount of chilies to your liking. The spices are toasted, the chilies are rehydrated, and then all the prepared ingredients can be pureed in the food processor until the harissa is smooth and the ingredients are well-combined. The mixture can be kept in the refrigerator for several weeks. Continue reading

Ají Amarillo Sauce

This spicy, versatile, yellow sauce goes beautifully with fries, roast chicken or vegetables. The main ingredient is the ají Amarillo chili, which is a staple in Peruvian cookery. You can get ají Amarillo paste in a jar in Latin food markets, or you could use fresh or frozen ones instead. Ají comes in red, green, orange, or yellow, depending on the other ingredients used, and tomatoes, cilantro, onions and, of course the ají pepper, are all common ingredients.

Food is traditionally mild in Central and South American countries like Ecuador and Colombia, so ají can be added to nearly anything you want to spice up, and it goes especially well with empanadas. Chile has ají chileno which is a local version of this sauce made with lemon juice. The preparation of ají sauce differs dramatically from place to place depending on what is locally available as well as the chef’s own palate and preferences. Ají has been around since the Incas, and they knew it as ‘uchu’.

Making this sauce is very simple and requires you to sauté the vegetables and then add them to the blender with the remaining ingredients. The sauce should then be pureed until it is creamy, then you can serve it at once, or keep it in the refrigerator. It seems to taste better after 24 hours in the refrigerator, and will keep in there for up to a week. If you cannot get queso fresco, feel free to substitute farmer’s cheese or feta, for a similar flavor. Huacatay is a Peruvian herb with a bold, aromatic flavor. It is also known as Peruvian black mint. The aroma is somewhere between basil, cilantro and mint. If you cannot get it, either omit it or use a couple small sprigs each of mint and cilantro instead. Continue reading

Thai Tom Yum Sauce Paste

This tom yum sauce paste can be used as a sauce or marinade. The recipe makes quite a thick paste, or a slightly thinner one if you add a tablespoon or 2 of coconut milk to the food processer with the other ingredients. It is amazing with chicken, pork, fish or seafood. You can apply this sauce paste to your meat before baking or grilling it.

With fish, shrimp or chicken, simply rub the mixture over it and then cook until done. With steak, you can leave it on for an hour or so, and allow the lime juice to help tenderize it. This is of course unnecessary with poultry or fish. If you are cooking dinner for two people, use half the paste as your marinade and turn the remainder into a tasty sauce by putting it in a pan with 3 or 4 tablespoons of coconut milk or heavy cream. Bring it to a simmer but do not let it boil else you will ruin the fresh flavor. Drizzle it over the cooked meat or fish, or try it over baby potatoes or steamed or boiled white rice.

You can also use this sauce paste to make soup. Bring chicken stock to a boil and add a few tablespoons of this sauce paste at a time until it is tasty and spicy enough, then add fish sauce to taste, as well as tofu or shrimp, and some veggies. Pour in some coconut milk to give your soup a lovely creamy taste. If you like, you can even double or triple this recipe since it keeps in the refrigerator for a while and the amazing sauce it makes for your chicken or fish is surely something you will want to repeat. Continue reading

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Christine Szalay-Kudra

Hello, I'm Christine. Thanks for dropping by and welcome to Amazing Sauces. Food is a very important part of our family's lives, and I find a homemade sauce often finishes a dish perfectly. Whether you are making something with chicken, beef, pork, vegetables, an appetizer, or even a dessert recipe, a sauce is often the ideal finishing touch.

You will find many sauce recipes here, all conveniently in one place, from the classics like tomato sauce, béchamel sauce and cheese sauce, to gravies, marinades, and unusual ideas for sauces too like ginger-plum sauce or gorgonzola sauce.

Some sauces can be drizzled over the meal, while others are best served on the side. Some will work as a dip or sauce, while others are great for basting, marinating or adding a splash of color to a recipe. Try our creamy gravies with your breakfast, one of our international steak marinades for a sophisticated spin on dinner, or learn how to make a classic béarnaise or rich red wine sauce to complement your dish.

Thanks for visiting,


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