This week in my Kitchen…Store Cupboard Basics…Part 7…Vinegars, Sauces and Condiments…

This week in store cupboard basics I will be covering items which are perfect for serving with dishes at the table but also great for adding flavour and bite to our cooking…

It takes time (and) money to build up a store cupboard so I am breaking it down into easy stages…Just for those of you who are not sure just where to start…

Whether you call it a cupboard or a pantry a savvy cook knows it helps them create delicious, economical dishes without using expensive ingredients also it seems at the moment from the different news articles I have read and from your comments that there are and there may be more food shortages so it makes sense to be prepared either by batch cooking or cooking just and extra portion and freezing it or buying and extra jar or packet when you do your weekly shop…

I will be posting some recipes soon that you can make from virtually nothing but which are nutritious and filling…

Vinegar…

vinegars bottle-589_640

As a child, I only recall ever having malt vinegar with our fish and chips on our winkles and cockles and used for my mum’s homemade pickles... it was only as we started to travel and taste other cuisines that it opened up the world of vinegar and now I don’t just have malt vinegar but white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, white or red wine vinegar even fruit vinegar…

On the subject of vinegar, it is worth buying a good quality vinegar as it has a longer shelf life. Here in Thailand, there are many kinds of vinegar and most of the labels are in Thai, however, the one word which stood out in my search for the kinds of vinegar I use was artificial…That sent me scuttling home for a chat with Mr Google…I mean those of you who know me expect no less…

What did I discover?…

Artificial vinegar” is acetic acid that is made by a chemical process.

Natural vinegar” is acetic acid that is made in a biological process using the Acetobacter aceti bacteria. If the “natural vinegar” is distilled, it is very difficult to tell the difference between it and the “artificial vinegar.”

No great shakes then it seems but suspicious Annie here believes…Not much…lol… So I will not be buying it…You get what you pay for…

Sauces…

Since living here the world of sauces has opened up for me…I always buy the best I can and read the labels…

Soy Sauce... Often used as a dipping sauce for sushi…

sushi soy-933550_640

It is made from fermented soybeans, soy sauce is salty and adds a rich rounded flavour to Asian style stir-fries, glazes and sauces. One of the best-known soy products it originated in China and has been used in cooking for over 1,000 years.

Traditional soy sauce is made by soaking soybeans in water and roasting and crushing the wheat. Then the soybeans and wheat are mixed with a culturing mould, most commonly Aspergillus, and left for two to three days to develop.

Next, water and salt are added, and the entire mixture is left in a fermenting tank for five to eight months, though some types may age longer.

High-quality soy sauce uses only natural fermentation. These varieties are often labelled “naturally brewed.” The ingredients list will usually only contain water, wheat, soy and salt.

Like the vinegar, we now get to the chemically produced soy sauces …Chemical production is a much faster and cheaper method of making soy sauce. This method is known as acid hydrolysis, and it can produce soy sauce in a few days instead of many months. The taste is also inferior and in Japan soy produced this way cannot be labelled as soy.

In my cooking here I use either soy, light soy, black soy or mushroom soy…I always spend more and buy naturally fermented soy sauces a little goes a long way particularly with the black soy as you use just a tiny dash not even half a tsp per dish.

Tomato Ketchup…

If you see and add for burger or fries it will invariably have ketchup in the picture and I know many people who have tomato ketchup with everything…

jacket potato and ketchup

I keep a small bottle in the fridge ...as it is not something even the grandkids eat now we live here…maligned for the amount of added sugars it contains all I will say is moderate your intake or make your own…Not something I do often as I only use it if I make a seafood sauce or sweet and sour sauce which isn’t often…

Ready-Made Pata Sauces…

Whether you’re serving Bolognese, lasagne, or macaroni cheese, our convenient readymade sauces mean it’s never been easier to create your favourite dish…as a quick fix, they come in handy, especially if you love food that’s full of flavour, you may find yourself adding condiments or sauces to give meals an extra kick. But ready-made sauces can contain a surprising amount of fat, sugar and salt. Over time, consuming too much of these can damage your health.

It’s always worth making your own as you control the sugar, salt and fat..it freezes well and can be cheaper especially if you grow your own tomatoes or you can get a bargain when they are at the end of their season…one batch cook can see you set up for a few months…

Worcestershire Sauce…

A thin brown some say very spicy sauce which brings a piquant flavour to casseroles, stews and soups…

Oyster Sauce…

Oyster sauce describes a number of sauces made by cooking oysters. The most common in modern use is a viscous dark brown condiment made from oyster extracts, sugar, salt and water thickened with corn starch. Some versions may be darkened with caramel, though the high-quality oyster sauce is naturally dark. It is commonly used in Cantonese, Thai, Malay, Vietnamese and Khmer cuisines.

On my daughter-in-law’s advice, I buy a premium Oyster sauce made here in Thailand…It has no added colours, or artificial flavours and is gluten-free.

Fish Sauce…

Is a liquid condiment made from fish or krill that has been coated in salt and fermented for up to two years…It is also a sauce I have come to love…Due to its ability to impart a savoury umami flavour to dishes, it has been embraced globally by chefs and home cooks. The umami flavour in fish sauce is due to its glutamate content. Soy sauce is regarded by some in the West as a vegetarian alternative to fish sauce though they are very different in flavour.

Fish sauce is not only added to dishes as a seasoning but also used as a base in dipping sauces. for both fish, meat, vegetables and fruit…Our little Lily puts it on her passionfruit…

Curry pastes …

As all the curry pastes I have come across where I live are made locally…For example, Massaman Curry paste is more of a Southern Thai dish so not so many available pastes here…Because I can buy fresh pastes I buy as I need them and also ship them around the world as my friends and family love them so much and are always requesting more…for anyone in the western world if you don’t make your own buy from the Asian stores or online as they are less inclined to use additives…I used to buy Mae Ploy which can be found in most major stores now…

Mustard…

I grew up eating Coleman’s English mustard  …in a ham sandwich, with cold meats, added to a cheese sauce or cheese scones now, of course, there are so many different varieties of mustard…

I generally except for Dijon mustard make my own as mustard if available here is very expensive and for the smallest of pots…

wholegrain mustard 1

I did not realise how easy it was to make and the difference in the taste…How does that look not bad for a beginner…It took a few goes until I got it just right for our tastes but it pretty good and so easy to do just 5 ingredients one of which is water…Homemade Mustard…

Tomato Puree…

Tomato purée is a thick liquid made by cooking and straining tomatoes. The difference between tomato paste, tomato purée, and tomato sauce is consistency; tomato puree has a thicker consistency and a deeper flavour than sauce.

I use it when I am making meat sauces, spag bol, chilli or pizza bases…although I always blitz my own tomatoes for sauces and never buy tinned I always keep a spare tin of puree to get that intensity of flavour to me it is not worth making due to the amount and frequency that I use…Once the can is opened it freezes well.

By now you should have a pretty well-stocked cupboard of store cupboard basics…

I hope you are finding these posts on store cupboard basics helpful…It does take time (and) money to build up a store cupboard which is why I am breaking it down into easy stages…Just for those of you who are not sure just where to start…

Whether you call it a cupboard or a pantry a savvy cook knows it helps them create delicious, economical dishes without using expensive ingredients or having to pop out and hope no one sees us without our slap…Picture the scene… we are halfway through making a new recipe…We can taste it…Then up pops the ingredient we thought we had in the cupboard or we missed that bit of the recipe…The shop is shut…It is raining…We are in our house clothes…Don’t they always though…haha

Until next week when in my store cupboard basics it will be dried spices…

11 thoughts on “This week in my Kitchen…Store Cupboard Basics…Part 7…Vinegars, Sauces and Condiments…

  1. dgkaye

    I loved this post Carol. I appreciated learning about the different soy sauces. I also prefer making my own pasta sauce. It just tastes better. I thought fish sauce was made from anchovies? Is that an alternative? ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      You are correct Debs… Anchovies can be one of the many small fish used to make fish sauce…. Sardines, herring can also be used… I agree there is nothing like a homemade pasta sauce for flavour… 😀 xx

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  2. Pingback: CarolCooks2 weekly roundup… 19th -25th June 2022-Monday Musings, Health, Food Review “Real food v Processed Food” and Saturday Snippets where “Grace” is my one word prompt. | Retired? No one told me!

  3. beetleypete

    I just checked. We have a bottle of Soy Sauce that has been around for ages. Worcester Sauce that I use a lot. Some American mustard that I like on hot dogs, and Dijon mustard often used in a pork recipe. Also honey used in cooking sometimes. We have both Malt Vinegar and Tomato Ketchup, but they are only there in case a visitor asks for them. We never use them.
    Most years, I have to throw away the old containers and bottles and buy new ones. The truth is we don’t use any of them often enough (except Worcester Sauce) so they dry up or go out of date.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

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    Reply
  4. Sue Dreamwalker

    Great store-cupboard staples.. I have most except for fish sauce and Soy Sauce and Oyster sauce…
    And I love my tomato puree for same reasons as you do Carol And Fresh tomatoes the best… 🙂
    Enjoy your weekend Carol to come.. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  5. Pingback: This week in my Kitchen…Store Cupboard Basics…Part 7…Vinegars, Sauces and Condiments… – MobsterTiger

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