cooking, a sauce is liquid or sometimes
semi-solid food served on or used in preparing other
foods. Sauces are not normally consumed by
themselves; they add flavor, moisture, and visual appeal
to another dish.
Sauce is a French word
taken from the Latin salsus, meaning salted.
Sauces need a liquid component, but some sauces (for
example, pico de gallo salsa or chutney) may contain more
solid elements than liquid. Sauces are an essential
element in cuisines all over the world.
Sauces may be ready made sauces, usually bought, such as soy sauce,
or freshly prepared by the cook; such as Béchamel sauce, which is
generally made just before serving. Sauces for salads are called
salad dressing. Sauces made by deglazing a pan are called pan
A cook who specializes in making sauces is
Sauces used in traditional Japanese cuisine
are usually based on shōyu (soy sauce), miso or dashi. Ponzu,
citrus-flavored soy sauce, and yakitori no tare, sweetened rich
soy sauce, are examples of shoyu-based sauces. Miso-based sauces
include gomamiso, miso with ground sesame, and amamiso,
sweetened miso. In modern Japanese cuisine, the word "sauce"
often refers to Worcestershire sauce, introduced in the 19th
century and modified to suit Japanese tastes. Tonkatsu,
okonomiyaki, and yakisoba sauces are based on this sauce.
Japanese horseradish or wasabi sauce is used on sushi and
sashimi or mixed with soy sauce to make wasabi-joyu.
Some sauces in Chinese cuisine are soy sauce,
doubanjiang, hoisin sauce, sweet bean sauce, chili sauces,
oyster sauce, and sweet and sour sauce.
Korean cuisine uses sauces such as doenjang,
gochujang, samjang, and soy sauce.
Southeast Asian cuisines, such as Thai and
Vietnamese cuisine, often use fish sauce, made from fermented
Indian cuisine uses sauces such as
tomato-based curry sauces, tamarind sauce, coconut milk/paste
based sauces, and chutneys.
Peruvian cuisine uses sauces based mostly in
different varieties of ají combined with several ingredients
most notably salsa huancaína based on fresh cheese and salsa de
ocopa based on peanuts or nuts. It is said that each household
in the country has its own secret salsa recipe.
Salsas ("sauces" in Spanish) such as pico de gallo
(salsa tricolor), salsa cocida, salsa verde, and salsa roja are a
crucial part of many Latino cuisines in the Americas and Europe.
Typical ingredients include tomato, onion, and spices; thicker
sauces often contain avocado. Mexican cuisine uses a sauce based on
chocolate and chillies known as Mole. Argentine cooking uses more
Italian-derived sauces, such as tomato sauce, cream sauce, or pink
sauce (the two mixed).
"Sauces are the splendor and the glory of french
cooking" ~ Julia Child
Sauces in French cuisine date back to the
Middle Ages. There were hundreds of sauces in the culinary
repertoire. In 'classical' French cooking (19th and 20th century
until nouvelle cuisine), sauces were a major defining characteristic
of French cuisine.
In the 19th century, the chef Antonin Carême
classified sauces into four families, each of which was based on a
mother sauce (Also called grandes sauces). Carême's four mother
Béchamel, based on milk, thickened with a
Espagnole, based on brown stock (usually
veal), thickened with a brown roux.
Velouté, based on a white stock, thickened
with a blonde roux.
Allemande, based on velouté sauce, is
thickened with egg yolks and heavy cream.
In the early 20th century, the chef Auguste
Escoffier updated this classification to five mother sauces. They
Sauce Béchamel, milk based sauce, thickened
with a white roux.
Sauce Velouté, white stock based sauce,
thickened with a roux or a liaison.
Sauce Tomat, tomato based sauce, thickened
with a roux.
Sauce Espagnole, roasted veal stock based
sauce, thickened with a brown roux.
Sauce Hollandaise, an emulsion of egg yolk,
butter and lemon juice.
A sauce which is derived from one of the mother
sauces is sometimes called a small sauce or secondary sauce.
Most sauces commonly used in classical cuisine are small sauces, or
derivatives of one of the above mentioned mother sauces. Mother
sauces are not commonly served as they are; instead they are
augmented with additional ingredients to make small (derivative)
For example, Bechamel can be made into Mornay by
the addition of Gruyère or any cheese one may like, and Espagnole
becomes Bordelaise with the addition and reduction of red wine,
shallots, and poached beef marrow.
Gravy is a traditional sauce used on roast dinner,
which (traditionally) comprises roast potatoes, roast meat, boiled
vegetables and optional Yorkshire puddings. The sole survivor of the
medieval bread-thickened sauces, bread sauce is one of the oldest
sauces in British cooking, flavored with spices brought in during
the first returns of the spice missions across the globe and
thickened with dried bread. Apple sauce, mint sauce and horseradish
sauce are also used on meat (pork, lamb and beef respectively).
Salad cream is sometimes used on salads. Ketchup and brown sauce are
used on more fast-food type dishes. Strong English mustard (as well
as French or American mustard) are also used on various foods, as is
Worcestershire sauce, the successor to the fermented and highly
flavored ancient Roman fish sauce garum. Custard is a popular
dessert sauce. Some of these sauce traditions have been exported to
ex-colonies such as the USA.
Most popular Italian sauces are intended for pasta
and there are a wide variety of them, because each one comes from a
different region of Italy. The majority of them are red sauces such
as siciliana from Sicily, pescatora, napoletana and pizzaiola from
Naples, amatriciana and arrabbiata from Rome, ragù from Bologna;
true pesto is a green sauce based on basil, traditional in Genoa.
Many of them are based on olive oil and garlic. When Italians cook
pasta al forno (baked pasta) they often add besciamella (Béchamel
sauce) to the basic sauce, only to give mildness to the recipe. In
recent times white sauces, with cream, are growing in popularity:
among them alfredo is not really Italian, but typical of Italo-Americans.
In northern Italy there are popular sauces served with mixed boiled
meat such as bolognese. In Italy other kinds of sauces exist such as
salsa rossa a tomato sauce a little hot; salsa verde based on
parsley; and mostarda, syruped fruits flavored with mustard.
There are also many sauces based on tomato (such
as tomato ketchup and tomato sauce), other vegetables and various
spices. Although the word 'ketchup' by itself usually refers to
tomato ketchup, it may also be used to describe sauces from other
vegetables or fruits.
Sauces can also be sweet, and used either hot or
cold to accompany and garnish a dessert.
Another kind of sauce is made from stewed fruit,
usually strained to remove skin and fibers and often sweetened. Such
sauces, including apple sauce and cranberry sauce, are often eaten
with specific other foods (apple sauce with pork, ham, or potato
pancakes; cranberry sauce with poultry) or served as desserts.