Over the last while I have blogged "complete" recipes; that is, a full meal with meat, veg and sauce. However a lot of the time I cook for myself or family I usually just try to throw together whatever I have in the fridge/freezer and try to make it taste nice. That's why sauces are so important. They can turn a normal piece of chicken breast or steak into some extraordinarily. The best thing about sauces is that they can usually be frozen so can you can make a double the amount and just divide them into containers (I usually use the plastic takeaway cartons) and freeze them individually so that when you really aren't in the mood of cooking you can just defrost the sauce and save yourself the hassle.
Another thing I have found with sauces is that it can be hard to get the taste right. It sometimes can be too salty or too sweet or too bitter. A good tip is to think of these 3 tastes; salt, sweet & bitter, as 3 corners of a triangle. If you have too much of one corner, add more of the other two. For example: if your sauce is too salty; add some sugar and some lemon juice to counteract it. Similarly if it is too bitter and some salt and some sugar etc.
And so onto the sauces.
Sweet & Sour Sauce
The old favourite. We pick up the jar of Uncle Bens in the supermarket and throw it over our chicken not realising how simple (and cheap) it is to make this sauce at home. You use it add it to chicken or pork and serve with rice for a proper meal or simply use it as a dipping sauce for chips. The vegetables used in this recipe are just guidelines. You can use whatever veg you have lying around. You can also add chopped pineapple rings to give it a real fruity flavour.
1 Carrot (cut into strips)
2 Peppers (cut into strips)
1/2 Red Onion (sliced)
2 Cloves Garlic (crushed)
1 tbsp Light Brown Sugar
2tbsp Rice Vinegar
2 tbsp Sherry (optional)
6 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
150ml Chicken Stock
2 tbsp Tomato Ketchup
1 tbsp Cornflour mixed with water
- Fry vegetables for 3-4 minutes.
- Add brown sugar & caramelize.
- Add vinegar, sherry, soy sauce, ketchup & stock.
- Bring to boil. Add flour/water mixture & simmer until thick.