A 101 Guide To All The Sauces No One Told You About!


Gone are the days when you had to go to culinary school to learn about the five basic sauces, fondly referred to as the “mother sauces”. What are these “mother sauces” you ask? These sauces have laid down the foundation for many other sauces that have come into existence and are popularly used in pizzas and crostinis. So here’s the 101 on these sauces, let’s get started!

1. Bechamel Sauce:

Picture courtesy: realfood.tesco

The base for the bechamel sauce is made from whisking all purpose flour in cooking fat like butter, lard or margarine (which is called roux) and then gradually whisking in milk or another dairy product like cream. Bechamel sauce (popularly known as white sauce) is used in dishes like lasagna, pizzas and a variety of pastas and dips. They are usually garnished with burnt garlic and toasted mushrooms.

2. Velouté Sauce:

Picture credit: marthastewart.com

Velouté sauce again uses roux, with the dairy product being substituted for a poultry or fish based stock or a vegetable stock. The resulting texture of the sauce is velvety smooth, which translates to Velouté in French thereby giving this sauce its name. Velouté sauce is used in meat based dishes where the meat has been cooked delicately either by poaching or steaming. Modern day pizzas use a touch of Velouté sauce whenever there’s seafood used as toppings.

3. Espagnole Sauce:

Picture credit: Epicurious

This sauce is traditionally made with a roux and a red meat stock such as beef/veal, tomato puree and a mirepoix sauce base. The mirepoix is made from gently browning vegetables for a long period of time. All of these are combined to bring out the espagnole sauce. This sauce is used as foundation for red meat dishes such as boeuf bourguinon or is used as demi glaze for dishes like risotto and is also used over pizzas that have red meat as toppings.

4. Tomato Sauce:

Picture credit: With Food & Love

This is made by thickening down ripe tomatoes over heat and it occasionally uses roux to thicken the tomato puree. The traditional French recipe uses pork and aromatic vegetables to bring out a wholesome, earthy flavour in the tomato sauce. This is the most popular choice of sauce for all pizzas today. It goes well with both veggies and meat.

5. Hollandaise Sauce:

Picture credit: Cloudinary.com

Out of all the mother sauces, this is the one sauce that doesn’t use a roux base. It is made by emulsifying egg yolks with liquified butter, a touch of water and lemon juice. It is then whisked till thick over a double boiler on low heat and finished with a garnish of cracked pepper. This sauce is used over appetizers, whole wheat pizzas and other flatbreads that have high gluten in them. The rich, almost mayonnaise like texture of the hollandaise sauce helps pizzas to absorb the flavour and add a glorious finish to the toppings.

The next time somebody asks you about the sauce used to make a pizza or the white sauce used in pasta you have all the answers. Annd yeah, if you’re craving any of these you know what to do – just fire up the Swiggy app and order away!

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