Ketchup with the times

Updated: Oct 18, 2019, 07:56 IST | Suman Mahfuz Quazi | Mumbai

Bottles of preservatives have long adorned kitchen shelves. After years of relying on market-variety goods, chefs are now making sauces from scratch

Pic/Sneha Kharabe
Pic/Sneha Kharabe

A bottle of sauce in your refrigerator is like the flight of V-shaped birds on a toddler's scenery drawing — it's less indispensable and more essential. In a matter-of-fact way, it's bound to be there. But for decades, and in each culinary heritage, sauces, or their equivalent, would be skillfully made using fresh, sun-kissed produce, until the rise of commercialism ushered in pre-made and packaged preservatives.

As the business of food struggles to find a new logic in the face of the impending challenges of sustainability, chefs are being forced to revise their approach. And an offshoot of this phenomenon involves cooking from scratch, thereby reducing dependability on unsustainable market-variety products.

The treatise on healthy living, too, calls for the same change in direction, which is beginning to manifest itself visibly in restaurant kitchen shelves, where bottled sauces, specifically, are being increasingly replaced with house-made and unprocessed alternatives. We spoke to some of the sauciest chefs in town.

From the Thai coast

Chef Seefah Ketchaiyo grew up relishing her mother's spicy Thai sauce. When she opened her first restaurant in 2017, the idea was to offer the same freshness of flavours to her customers. "Fresh ingredients ensures better taste. Making this sauce in-house helps me cut costs by 30 per cent, but more than that it's about quality," she explains. She uses her house-made paste in dishes like stir fried prawn and tom yum soup and it is also served as a side on the table.

At Seefah, Hill Road, Bandra West.
Time 12 pm to 3.30 pm; 7 pm to 11.15 pm
Call 50645827

Get dirty

Get dirty

With every order, we serve a platter of house-made chilli sauce, coleslaw and giardinera, while the other sauces are used in a variety of buns and rolls such as our Korean fried chicken, bulgogi bao and chilli butter garlic shrimp," chef Boo Kim tells us. At his new restaurant, which opened earlier this year, not only sauces, but all breads and rolls, too, are made from scratch. "Whether it's ketchup, chilli sauce or a brioche roll; it's not hard to find well-priced options in India. For me, however, this isn't about pricing, it's about flavour and our food philosophy," he asserts.

Boo Kim

At Dirty Buns, 9A, Trade View Building, Kamal Mills, Lower Parel.
Time 5 pm to 1am
Call 24978910

All in the details

All in the details

"Today the F&B space is saturated with restaurants, hence with original dishes or concepts one can stand out from the clutter, and that holds true to the smallest of details, including sauces," says chef at this Southeast Asian diner, Shivram Parki. On the menu, there's a sprightly orange sauce, which is their in-house hot sauce, and a tangy tamarind ponzu, too.

Shivram Parki

At Miss T, Tulloch Road, Colaba.
Time 12 pm to 11.30 pm
Call 22801144

Sauce on the house

Identifying a market for homegrown and natural products, chef and co-owner of this restaurant decided to implement the philosophy of clean eating in his kitchen. "We make everything in-house, be it sausages, pepperoni, bacon, barbecue rubs, sauces, ice-creams, bread or non-alcoholic wines and tonics," he asserts. Here, there are a number of house-made sauces on offer, including hot sauce (lacto fermented, Alabama white BBQ sauce, Carolina Mustard BBQ sauce, Kentucky black BBQ sauce and regular BBQ sauce. Kashyap argues, "Barring a few terrain-specific ones, for example, French Dijon mustard, most sauces taste better when made from scratch than the proprietary packaged products which are heavily processed with preservatives, emulsifiers and stabilisers. House-sauces taste better because they are made in small batches hence are fresher and have a pop to them."

Pic/Datta Kumbhar
Pic/Datta Kumbhar

At The Boston Butt, Pali Naka, Bandra West.
Time 6 pm to 1.30 am
Call 50646025

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