Dips and Sauces

Be A Sauce Boss

Sonal Ved

Just as Indian food is incomplete without its bevvy of spices, oriental food relies heavily on a plethora of sauces to amplify the simple and fresh flavours of the dishes, from soups, stews and stir-fries to other varieties of mains.

Here, we take a look at a few of these staple sauces and show you how to incorporate them in your cooking…

Fish sauce

Also known as nampla, fish sauce is at the heart of Thai cooking. This sauce is extracted by fermenting fish. While most fish sauce is extracted from fresh fish, sometimes it is made using dry fish as well. The sauce has a high salty taste and can be used to jazz up salads, glass noodles and soups in a jiffy! In addition to being a popular cooking sauce, sometimes fish sauce is also used as a dipping sauce served with fresh Asian wraps.

Oyster sauce

Made from oysters, this thick brown sauce is commonly used in Cantonese, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. It has a rather sweet taste which works well with crab meat and noodle-based dishes. The most interesting thing about this sauce is that even though it is extracted from sea creatures, vegetarian oyster sauce is also commonly available – this sauce is made of oyster and shiitake mushrooms and imparts a similar sweet flavour to dishes.

Tamari

Tamari is a type of soy sauce produced mainly in the Chubu region of Japan. The sauce is brown and has a salty taste which is obtained by fermenting soybeans. It has ancient culinary uses, tracing its roots back to Chinese cultures during 3rd and 5th century BC.

Tamari works best with rice and chicken. It gives food an overall umami flavour and a beautiful brown colour.

Sriracha

This hot sauce from Thailand gets its name after the coastal city of Si Racha. It has a strong and spicy flavour considering it is made using chilli peppers, vinegar and garlic. This red sauce works well as a dipping sauce, particularly with Thai seafood. Of late, the sriracha has become all the rage in the West too and is used to flavour anything and everything from burgers, hot dogs, meats to lollypops and sorbets!