Sauces for the Sous Chef
This post goes out to everyone’s loving friend, Mary and to her readers on Keep Learning, Keep Smiling. A dear ‘long-distant’ friend for a while now, my day would not be complete without reading her happy, upbeat stories and recipes.
The notion of offering to Mary this type of cuisine is the last thing in the world that I would ever think of, until last week. For almost a year, I have followed and learned so much about stir-frying, sweet and spicy Asian sauces, fruits, vegetables and ingredients from her native country, cooking techniques and her culture which all have increase my awareness and appreciation for her way of eating good foods. She is from Sarawak Malaysia. The fact that she now resides in Scotland may sometimes limit her accessibility of certain ingredients, but Mary has a knack of creating her Malaysian home cooking into incredible, flavorful dishes recollecting the foods of her native country. Most things are homemade, not as in unobtainable, but because she knows it will taste better and original to her homeland.
So when, just last week her daughter showed an interest in Mexican foods and Mary quickly stepped aside as mothers often do in nurturing their little sous chefs, both began a love for a cuisine many of us take with a grain of pepper. I do applaud Mary in her effort of learning new tastes but more importantly, she quickly realized that packaged and canned foods are not the way to learn the real taste of a new type of cookery.
Many of the Mexican and western foods I enjoy will often need a sauce, either layering it into the dish while cooking or as a finishing sauce as it is served. There are many – sauces for every type of meat, produce and time of day. Many recipes require a visit to the Hispanic market, an online store or if you are lucky, a well stocked grocer to come up with the needed ingredients. I thought it would be good to give Mary my four basic recipes (plus one in a previous post) all using basic cupboard ingredients that I think she should have no problem finding if not already on her shelves. Hope all of you can use these too. Enjoy!
5 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 teaspoons Mexican Seasoning, see below
1 tablespoon chili powder
3 cups of chicken broth
1 cup buttermilk
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir the oil with the next six listings until thoroughly mixed and simmering. Slowly add the chicken broth until heated and then stir in the buttermilk. Cook over medium low heat stirring until it is the consistency of a thin sauce.
Classic Red Chile Sauce
|Enchiladas with yet another sauce|
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons bacon drippings or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cups water, divided
In a large saucepan, sauté onions and garlic in oil until soft.
Place all ingredients in a blender with 1 cup of the water and purée to a smooth sauce.
Pour the sauce into the saucepan and stir in the remaining 2 cups water, bring to a boil and reduce the heat simmering for an hour. The sauce should be smooth and thick.
Note: You can use dried California Red, Ancho chile or any mild to medium heat chile.
Mexican Chili Sauce
1 -16 oz can diced tomatoes -with liquid
3 medium onions -chopped
8 garlic cloves -peeled
1 tablespoon Mexican Seasoning, see below
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 bell pepper -chopped
1 green chili pepper -sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons wine vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh cilantro -chopped
Return to a simmer and cook 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
1 medium onion
1 small green bell pepper
3 teaspoons chopped jalapeño peppers
1 -4 ounce can chopped green chiles
2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon dried crushed oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Place the tomatoes, onions and peppers in a food processor and chop to a coarse consistency. Add to a large saucepan, add the jalapenos, chiles, lemon juice and simmer on medium low for about an hour.
Add remaining ingredients, allowing dry ingredients to rest on top of the liquid about 15 minutes to soak in before stirring to incorporate. Simmer for 45 minutes after stirring well.
Place a spoonful into a dish to cool for tasting. Adjust hotness by adding cayenne if desired.
For a thinner sauce, add a little water while cooking. Let cool and refrigerate sauce until ready to use.
Mexican Seasoning Mix
Double or triple this recipe to use later. Omit or decrease salt for recipes.
2 tablespoons chipotle chili powder
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Mix well and store in an airtight container.