Planning a menu? Whether it’s for a party or a daily home meal, having a proper balance of items is the key. The starters, main course, and desserts might get most of the attention. However, you can’t underestimate the power of a good homemade condiment.
These accompaniments to your meal can take any dish to the next level. They also balance the meal, tie different elements together, or provide contrast in textures. If a certain dish turns out too bland or has some other issue, the right sauce can be a quick fix.
What should you know about condiments?
If you’re not familiar with condiments and how they work within meals, here are some points:
- There are several varieties of sauces and stocks that you can use during cooking and eating. These range from the common tomato sauce to all kinds of bone broth.
- Condiments can have a lot of nutrition in them, especially if they’re made at home with whole ingredients and fresh produce.
- Sauces and other condiments might enhance the whole eating experience for you and your guests.
- We can also use condiments to accommodate various dietary preferences, requests, and restrictions.
- Condiments can balance out a main dish to create a more satisfying meal.
Crafting your own condiments allows you to customize flavors and create a memorable dining experience. For example, you could take a look at this tangy tartar sauce recipe here that can help you elevate a fish dish.
Still not sure where or how to start? Check out the following recipes for inspiration!
1. Mint Chutney
The pink sauce might be a viral TikTok sensation, but some might argue that mint chutney is better. This Indian-style condiment is a refreshing one that goes well with many options. You can dip seekh kebabs in it, spread it on a slice of bread with a potato patty, or mix it with some yogurt to create a cool dip.
The recipe for this chutney is fairly simple. Let’s have a look at the steps:
- Gather the ingredients; a bunch of mint leaves, a bit of cilantro, one green chili, one tablespoon of lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and some garlic to taste
- Blend all these ingredients, making the chutney as smooth as possible
- Add a few drops of water or more lemon juice if the mixture seems too thick
2. Homemade Ketchup
After an Indian staple, let’s come to an American staple; good old red ketchup. While store-bought ketchup is highly processed and includes a lot of refined sugar, the homemade version uses whole food and slightly healthier brown sugar. Here’s how to go about it:
- Gather the ingredients: 14 ounces of crushed tomatoes; ¼ cup each of brown sugar and apple cider vinegar; ½ teaspoon each of onion powder, garlic powder, and salt; ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper
- Put a saucepan on medium heat and put in all the ingredients.
- When the mixture comes to a simmer, cook it for 15 minutes, sometimes stirring to prevent burning
- Take the pan off the heat and let the ketchup cool down
This recipe’s ketchup will last for about two weeks in the refrigerator.
3. Tahini and Hummus
We can combine two recipes here since one is made from the other! More specifically, you can first make tahini:
- Gather the ingredients: hulled sesame seeds and olive oil
- Toast the seeds in a dry pan for 3-4 minutes or microwave them for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Once the toasted seeds are dry, grind them with some olive oil. The exact quantity will depend on whatever achieves the right consistency: creamy yet pourable
Now, you can use this tahini as a dressing for salad or drizzle it inside a wrap. You can also use it to make a heartier, more filling condiment called hummus:
- Gather the ingredients: 1 can of chickpeas, ¼ cup of tahini and olive oil each, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, ½ teaspoon ground cumin, and salt and pepper as per your taste; use ice or water for a creamy consistency
- Add all the ingredients to a blender or food processor. Start blending them all until a smooth paste forms.
- At the very end, add ice water or a couple of ice cubes; they’ll increase the volume of the hummus and give it that required creamy texture
- You can also sprinkle some paprika on top of the hummus, drizzle it with more olive oil, and garnish with olives
Hummus can serve as the filling in a pita sandwich, a spread in a sandwich, or a dip for vegetables. Organize your spice cabinet and choose a few more seasonings to experiment with the taste!
4. Homemade Barbeque Sauce
We all love a tasty barbecue during the summer, but what if your barbecue sauce steals the show? It’s possible if the sauce is homemade and doesn’t come out of a bottle. Here’s how you can manage it:
- Gather your ingredients: 1 cup of ketchup (you can use the homemade version), 2 tablespoons each of molasses and brown sugar, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, ½ teaspoon each of garlic and onion powder, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, and salt and pepper to taste
- Combine the ingredients in a saucepan and put it on medium heat
- When the mixture starts simmering, let it cook for up to 10 minutes. Stir occasionally so that the sauce won’t burn
- Take the pan off the heat and let the sauce cool
- Transfer the sauce to a jar or bottle
You can use this homemade sauce for dipping meat and vegetables, as a glaze on some dishes, or for basting while grilling. If you’re not a fan of red meat, try some next-level barbeque chicken with this sauce.
With homemade condiments, you can mix and match ingredients to your preferences. You can follow recipes like the ones above, but feel free to experiment as well.
Remember, even one well-made sauce can take a boring ingredient to gourmet level. Try out some of these homemade condiments today and see how they make any meal memorable!