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Guest Rodney

Base Ingredients for Sauces

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Guest Rodney

Cut and pasted from a culinary website:

 

"The saucier chef is responsible for the mainstay ingredient of most dishes --- the sauces."

 

Sauces can be very helpful for making healthy but otherwise dull foods we eat tastier than they would be without them.  However, the most fundamental ingredients of the standard (french) sauces are items most of us would not want to eat on a regular basis - white wheat flour and butter, and sometimes other wonderful sources of empty calories as well.  Whole grains simply do not work in sauces.  Fats, of course, are very tasty.  But they are also full of calories.  [indeed, the reason we like them is that those of our human ancestors who did not like them did not eat them and ran out of calories first during famines and died without progeny.  We are the descendants of those that liked sugar and fat, thereby survived and came to dominate the gene pool.]

 

So over the years I have experimented with alternatives to the regular base ingredients of sauces.  At the current stage of recipe evolution I have concluded that the two healthiest ingredients I know of from which sauces of excellent texture can be made are:  chickpea flour and onion powder.  Onion powder is obvious enough.  Chickpea flour is often called 'besan' (pronounced the same way 'basin' is in english) and is readily available at an astonishingly good price from grocery stores in the south asian part of town.

 

Curiously, a sauce made from these two ingredients does not come out - according to my palate - as dominated by the taste of onion.

 

Two tablespoons of each will generally produce enough sauce for two people.  To these I add the flavorings best suited to the food the sauce is accompanying, and in addition this also provides the opportunity to add other items I like to eat regularly in *small* quantities for their suspected health benefits (turmeric might be an example).

 

Water or stock is also necessary, of course.  Two hundred to three hundred mls is generally sufficient, depending on how viscous the sauce is intended to be.  Sometimes I include a small amount of pickle water for increased taste complexity.  A lump-free, scorch-free result can be obtained by mixing of the dry ingredients first, use of a wire whisk, regular stirring, low heat and removing the pan from the heat a few minutes prior to serving.

 

Works for me, FWIW.

 

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A chickpea flour and onion powder sauce...sounds good enough but what food would you suggest for this sauce?  Sounds most suited for a meat.  Have you tried refridgerating this sauce for use as a possible salad dressing?

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Hi Bob:

 

Thanks for asking.  This is intended to be a 'basic white sauce' with good texture, that is healthier than the standard french white sauce made from white flour and butter.  This basic sauce can then be adapted - as is done with the standard flour/butter sauce - to match with whatever it is intended to 'go with'.  One way to do that is to use (vegetable, chicken, beef or fish) *stock* in place of the water, to match with different foods.  And also, if you are good at this (I am learning slowly), with the right herbs/spices that go well with the selected food.  When trying something new I check the internet for recipes of sauces to go with the food, and use the flavorings the recipe suggests in my chickpea/onion powder sauce.

 

As an example of something I enjoy about three (!) times a year: I use up left-over turkey meat in a chickpea/onion powder sauce with turkey stock in place of water and curry powder (curcumin!) to make turkey curry.  I usually eat this with white rice or boiled potato - some may prefer alternate accompaniments.  Or, another example: parsley, salt and pepper can be added, with vegetable stock for the liquid, and served over cauliflower. 

 

The principal purpose of this is that whatever it is you regularly eat because you believe it to be healthy, and would like to spruce up with a bit more flavor, qualifies for this treatment, imo.

   

Rodney.

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I apologize that I seem to have failed to address your question about using this 'white sauce' as a salad dressing.  Interesting question.  No, I had not thought of that.  I will try it sometime and see how it works out.  Containing no preservatives it would need to be used more promptly than store-bought dressings.

 

Rodney. 

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Cut and pasted from a culinary website:

 

"The saucier chef is responsible for the mainstay ingredient of most dishes --- the sauces."

 

Sauces can be very helpful for making healthy but otherwise dull foods we eat tastier than they would be without them.  However, the most fundamental ingredients of the standard (french) sauces are items most of us would not want to eat on a regular basis - white wheat flour and butter, and sometimes other wonderful sources of empty calories as well.  Whole grains simply do not work in sauces.  Fats, of course, are very tasty.  But they are also full of calories.  [indeed, the reason we like them is that those of our human ancestors who did not like them did not eat them and ran out of calories first during famines and died without progeny.  We are the descendants of those that liked sugar and fat, thereby survived and came to dominate the gene pool.]

 

So over the years I have experimented with alternatives to the regular base ingredients of sauces.  At the current stage of recipe evolution I have concluded that the two healthiest Spices

 I know of from which sauces of excellent texture can be made are:  chickpea flour and onion powder.  Onion powder is obvious enough.  Chickpea flour is often called 'besan' (pronounced the same way 'basin' is in english) and is readily available at an astonishingly good price from grocery stores in the south asian part of town.

 

Curiously, a sauce made from these two ingredients does not come out - according to my palate - as dominated by the taste of onion.

 

Two tablespoons of each will generally produce enough sauce for two people.  To these I add the flavorings best suited to the food the sauce is accompanying, and in addition this also provides the opportunity to add other items I like to eat regularly in *small* quantities for their suspected health benefits (turmeric might be an example).

 

Water or stock is also necessary, of course.  Two hundred to three hundred mls is generally sufficient, depending on how viscous the sauce is intended to be.  Sometimes I include a small amount of pickle water for increased taste complexity.  A lump-free, scorch-free result can be obtained by mixing of the dry ingredients first, use of a wire whisk, regular stirring, low heat and removing the pan from the heat a few minutes prior to serving.

 

Works for me, FWIW.

Hello,

 

I want to give my sauce an Indian taste.So for that purpose could you tell me what spices I need to make it???

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Cut and pasted from a culinary website:

 

"The saucier chef is responsible for the mainstay ingredient of most dishes --- the sauces."

 

Sauces can be very helpful for making healthy but otherwise dull foods we eat tastier than they would be without them.  However, the most fundamental ingredients of the standard (french) sauces are items most of us would not want to eat on a regular basis - white wheat flour and butter, and sometimes other wonderful sources of empty calories as well.  Whole grains simply do not work in sauces.  Fats, of course, are very tasty.  But they are also full of calories.  [indeed, the reason we like them is that those of our human ancestors who did not like them did not eat them and ran out of calories first during famines and died without progeny.  We are the descendants of those that liked sugar and fat, thereby survived and came to dominate the gene pool.]

 

So over the years I have experimented with alternatives to the regular base ingredients of sauces.  At the current stage of recipe evolution I have concluded that the two healthiest Spices

 I know of from which sauces of excellent texture can be made are:  chickpea flour and onion powder.  Onion powder is obvious enough.  Chickpea flour is often called 'besan' (pronounced the same way 'basin' is in english) and is readily available at an astonishingly good price from grocery stores in the south asian part of town.

 

Curiously, a sauce made from these two ingredients does not come out - according to my palate - as dominated by the taste of onion.

 

Two tablespoons of each will generally produce enough sauce for two people.  To these I add the flavorings best suited to the food the sauce is accompanying, and in addition this also provides the opportunity to add other items I like to eat regularly in *small* quantities for their suspected health benefits (turmeric might be an example).

 

Water or stock is also necessary, of course.  Two hundred to three hundred mls is generally sufficient, depending on how viscous the sauce is intended to be.  Sometimes I include a small amount of pickle water for increased taste complexity.  A lump-free, scorch-free result can be obtained by mixing of the dry ingredients first, use of a wire whisk, regular stirring, low heat and removing the pan from the heat a few minutes prior to serving.

 

Works for me, FWIW.

Hello,

 

I want to give my sauce an Indian taste.So for that purpose could you tell me what spices I need to make it???

 

 

An essential list: http://www.thekitchn.com/11-essential-spices-for-indian-cooking-223152

 

What I tried and liked, in order of 'Indianess':

 

  • coriander seeds
  • Cloves
  • Cumin
  • Cardamom
  • turmeric powder
  • Indian curry powder mix
  • hot chili
  • Black pepper 

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