These sauces are a great addition to a meat, vegetarian and vegan diets
The Heart and Soul of Any Great Feast
If you learn to do anything well, let it be cooking! We all need to eat and we should eat well, with full enjoyment. You don't need to have the world's best chef, nor the most expensive ingredients. You do need to know how to scratch cook and above all to prepare delectable and creamy sauces. In fact, in French cuisine, there is a special kind of cook called a saucier who specializes in cooking and preparing many special sauces for just about any dish. The problem today is that far too many people depend on fast food where there is very little choice in flavors. All too few do really know how to cook. One may argue that there is just not enough time, but if you really want a good selection of flavors, you will need to cook.
Let us then start off with the basics. You will need to have fresh water at the ready. Depending on what flavor you want, consider laying in some spices like oregano, basil (there are several types), chiles, cyan, Cajun spice, garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, curry (again several types) lemon (the rind as well), cumin, celery seed, anise, honey, sesame oil, mustard, soy sauce (a ready made sauce in several varieties) pepper, tarragon, marjoram, vegetable bullion, various salts like sea salt, pepper, dulse powder, black bean and so on. The list of working spices is long and you may wish to experiment. You will also need corn starch or arrowroot. Last but not least, you will need a saucepan or wok for preparation. You can make hot sauces, sweet and sour, vegan meat tasting sauces and many more. When considered, much of what we taste comes from the sauces that flavor our favorite dishes.
Here is a favorite vegan gravy that can be a hit on just about any dish. Of all the ingredients available, the ones that work best are cooking grade soy sauce, sesame oil, arrowroot powder or corn starch and fresh water. Most chefs prefer a gas stove, but this may not always be available. Gas is much easier to fine tune when adjusting for heat. These are the ingredients for the base. Now for different flavors, we will need garlic, either fresh squeezed or garlic powder, black bean and dulse flakes of powder. The secret for making a good sauce is attention so that is neither lumpy, nor too thick, nor too runny. This takes a sense of timing especially if you have the main meal cooking at the same time.
For the base, place a quantity of water in a sauce pan that will be sufficient for everyone that you are preparing the meal for. The meal you are cooking should be nearly finished in preparation. Bring the water to a simmering boil and add sesame oil, soy sauce to taste. Yes a good saucier always tastes as the creative process of culinary cooking is unfolding. If you want a beefy flavor, then fine chopped black bean and minced, brazed onions will be your choice. If you like to “kick it up a notch”, than add a dash of Cajun spice or chili powder. For a fish tasting sauce, then the choice added to the base will be dulse flakes or powder, again to taste. For sweet and sour, a mix of unpasteurized honey and zingered lemon rinds will work. Vegetable bullion is highly useful for making flavors that are very chicken like. For east Indian flavor, curry is a must and if it is required to be hot, chili to taste needs to be added. Whatever you do, make sure that the basic ingredients are well integrated and this should not take too long. Prepare a small dish of corn starch of arrowroot powder mixed in small amount of water. Thoroughly mix this so that it is ready to pour into your liquid sauce. Add this to the sauce and stir constantly until you have a gravy consistency sauce. Constant stirring is required to prevent lumping, which is also a good reason why the thickener should be already liquified. Do not add the thickener dry as this will guarantee a lumpy sauce. When stirring, shut off the heat. Prepare your dishes while keeping an eye on the sauce. Add a little water if it appears to be thickening too much. This is a very touchy, feeling, tasting process requiring constant attention. When the basic meals are laid out, then the sauce is poured over the meat substitutes like tofu or prepared tofu patties and strips. Alternately, you may wish to add the meat substitutes to the sauce while still simmering. With practice, the sauce can be prepared right in the dish being cooked. The meat substitute should already be cooked in the method of choice.
Now when it comes to creating flavors, there is nothing like various prepared salts, like hickory smoked salt, barbeque salt, garlic salt and a host of others. If you are seeking a bacon like flavor, about the best combo one can use is the hickory smoked salt in combination with black bean and a dash of fresh garlic. There are bacon imitating tofu strips on the market, but there is room for improvement and a good saucier can do the job. Some experimentation is needed to get that just right bacon or salted pork taste. The question arises, why create a vegetable meat taste when there is real meat? The answer is that many of us got started in life on meat, only later to become vegetarian or vegan. So cooks got inventive and created many kinds of meat imitating tofu and mixes and the saucier got even busier as the sauces they came up with got incorporated into everything else. Creating these dishes was an answer to a growing market. However, if you know how to prepare sauces and know how to marinate a dish, then you can recreate many ready made dishes and for lot less.
Here are other considerations for experimenting with sauces and that is a juicer. Now as there is little need for a lot of sauce unless cooking for an army, only a small amount of juice is needed. If you make a juice from several kinds of vegetables, a tasty vegetable broth that can be incorporated into sauces. Another variation to create a crispy type of coating. The sauce can be added to dried bread crumbs, bran flakes and the like. This can coat various items which are then baked for a tasty coating. A world of flavors awaits for your creativity; so get cooking. Mastering sauce preparation is a very taste rewarding experience.