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Came from the Latin word “Salsas”, which means ‘salted’. Sauces are liquid or semi-liquid, hot or cold mixtures which are added to meat, poultry, fish, vegetables and desserts to give moisture or richness, to garnish or to otherwise enhance the appearance and in some cases the nutritional value, but more importantly to better the flavor. A sauce is an aromatic, nutritive flavorful liquid (or semi liquid) which forms one of the basic part of a dish, increasing the taste, moisture, appearance and color of the dish. A sauce may be thick or thin and may be strained or un-passed with visible ingredients, which can be served with a hot or cold dish, as a part of the dish or as an accompaniment separately with the dish.

Elements of a Sauce: 
The major sauces are made basically of three components, a liquid, which comprises the body of the sauce, a thickening agent and the flavoring and seasonings.
Classification of Sauces:
Sauces may be classified by several ways.  Here is one system.
  1. By serving temperature warm or cold
  2. By flavor: blandness or piquancy
  3. By acidity
  4. By sweetness
  5. By color
  6. By base: neutral or meat.


In general Sauce can be classified under two major heads as follows:
Of the owner, or held in private ownership, or manufacture and sale of which is restricted by patent.
The commercial preparation of Proprietary sauces is of very recent origin, during the 18th and 19th century a lot of expansion in the world trade brought about the exchange of ideas and new ingredients. In the process of launching new products various companies entered the foray but very few could survive. The ones, which did, were known by the proprietor’s name.
Proprietary Sauces Denotes:
  1. Sauces that are not made in the kitchen, but can be purchased from the market.
  2. They are imported or procured locally.
  3. They have a unique taste which cannot be reproduced by anybody.
  4. It has a secret recipe, guarded by patents.
  5. They are multipurpose in their use.


2) Preparatory Sauce:
Sauces which are prepared in kitchen by the chef and they are classified as below.
Mother Sauces:
There are six mother sauces in continental cuisine. The sauces are classified on different basis like temperature (hot / warm/ cold) or nature (thickened / emulsified) of the sauce. These sauces are the foundation sauces for other derivative sauces which are made from these basic sauces.
Preparing the basic mother sauces:
There are quite a variation in preparing the mother sauces which are seen in different provinces of Europe and America. Here we will try to generalize a common recipe and method which are practiced in the hotels and in reputed cruise liners. The sauces should be well seasoned before being served. All sauces which are hot must be finished by applying butter on top to avoid the formation of a skin, called Vanner in French and has no word in English.
Bechamel / White Sauce: 
White sauce or Bechamel sauce is more versatile for its neutral base. It is used to bind soufflés, croquettes, soups, egg dishes and gratins and to coat many foods. The texture should be smooth and rich and the consistency of double cream. The taste should be milky with no hint of raw flavor. This is invented by Marquis Louise de béchamel, in the seventeenth century and probably gets its name from the inventor.
  1. The milk is initially flavored with Onion Cloute/Pique, an onion wrapped with bay leaf and studded with cloves. Sometimes an amount of finely chopped onion, which is sweated in butter added to milk before adding the roux.
  2. The Onion Cloute/Pique is to be removed after the milk comes to a boil and the flavor has infused thoroughly. 
  3. The proportion of milk: flour: butter = 20: 1:1.
  4. Make sure cold milk is added to the freshly made roux to avoid lumps being formed.
  5. The sauce is strained and coated with butter to avoid the formation of skin on top.
  6. Season the sauce.
  7. Serve hot or use this as a base to prepare other derivative sauces.


  • When cooking a large amount it’s advisable to cover and cook in a moderate oven (300 degree f) for 30 – 40 minutes.
  • Stirring from time to time.
  • Nutmeg is often, classically added as a flavoring.
  • If the sauce is not to be used immediately, DOT it with butter. This butter will melt over the surface and will prevent the sauce from skin formation.
  • Alternatively, press directly the cling film against the surface to prevent the skin formation.


Veloute Sauce: 
A Veloute sauce is often made from the liquid used in cooking the main ingredient, such as that used in poaching fish and chicken or for veal, as in a Blanquette. Additional liquid is added to the blond roux at the beginning to make a very thin sauce. Simmering for 15 minutes to 1 hour thickens the sauce and intensifies the flavor. The long slow process of cooking gives it a velvety texture and consistency, hence the name Veloute or Velvety. Stir the sauce frequently to prevent scorching and skim from time to time.
  1. White stock, made from poultry, veal or fish is thickened to prepare a basic Veloute sauce.
  2. Hot stock is added to cold roux to make a thick paste and then it is added to the boiling stock.
  3. Reduce to proper consistency and finished with a liaison of egg yolk and cream
  4. Strained through a fine strainer.
  5. Season the sauce.
  6. Serve hot or use this as a base to prepare other derivative sauces.


Espagnole / Brown Sauce: 
The most famous brown sauce, Espagnole, is made with a rich brown stock and a gently cooked brown roux. Although rich sauce is robust, yet fine and well flavored. It is time consuming and requires skills. A brown roux is tricky to make without scorching or separating. The sauce is intensified by adding fine original Spanish ham and tomato puree, which add to the glossy brown color. Although it can be served by itself. It is also the base of many rich, dark French sauce such as ‘Demi glaze’, ‘Sauce Robert’ and ‘Sauce Madira’. Now a days many chefs use a last moment thickener like arrowroot or potato starch, which produces a lighter sauce.
  1. The off cuts of meats along with bones of beef are sautéed with chopped tomatoes and tomato puree along with flavoring vegetable and the roux until brown.
  2. A good quality of brown stock is then added in which a Bouquet Garni of thyme, bay leaf and parsley is put in.
  3. It is simmered slowly removing the scum at regular intervals.
  4. Reduce it to the preferred consistency and strain through a fine strainer.
  5. Use this as a base to prepare Demi glaze and other derivative sauces.
  6. Season the sauce and serve hot.
  • Demi Glaze is prepared from equal amount of Espagnole and brown stock mixed together and reduced to half. Generally, Madeira or other red wines are added for the desired flavor.


Tomato Sauce:
Tomato sauce is one of the most popular hot sauces that find a good accompaniment with meats, poultry and variety of pasta dishes.
  1. It is made by sautéing onions and garlic.
  2. The fat is oil along with bacon lards along with herbs like bay leaf, basil, and parsley.
  3. Tomato and tomato products like tomato puree, tomato juice and plum tomatoes are used for the sauce.
  4. Sometimes it is thickened by roux or otherwise gets its own thickening from the ingredients for the preferred consistency.
  5. The sauce is slowly simmered until the right consistency and aroma and strained before use.
  6. Season the sauce and serve hot or use this as a base to prepare other derivative sauces.


Emulsified Sauces:
An emulsion is a colloidal dispersion of tiny droplets of one liquid suspended in another to form a homogeneous mixture.
The emulsified sauce includes ingredients most often egg or egg yolk and a fat such as butter or oil which normally do not form a stable suspension of mixture. By vigorous beating or shaking, the ingredients can be emulsified to form a smooth sauce in stable suspension. The most important emulsified sauce are Hollandaise, a warm sauce and Mayonnaise a cold sauce. Bearnaise is made in the same way as Hollandaise, but is flavored with a reduction of vinegar, shallots and tarragon which gives its characteristic sweet tangy flavor. Quality of all these sauces depend on using the best egg and butter or oil. Emulsified sauce is famous for being difficult because they separate or curdle so easily.
  • Emulsion is a process of mixing in two immiscible liquids by force. The lecithin present in egg yolk helps in the emulsifying process in binding. Any powdery substance, like mustard in mayonnaise will tend to absorb the liquid and help in the emulsion.
  • Around 125 – 150 ml of fat per yolk is absorbed by 1 egg yolk in both the emulsified sauces.
  • If the sauce curdles, add vinegar or a spoon of boiling water and whisk. If still curdled, start with a fresh egg and add the curdled mixture slowly in a stream till it forms the emulsion.
  • All ingredients should be at room temperature.
  • Preferably use pasteurized egg yolk as raw egg can be harmful with pathogens.


Clarifying Butter:
Clarified butter is a way of separating the milky fat solids (whey) from the pure butter fat. Once clarified it can be served as a simple sauce, used for frying or to help to stabilize sauce like Hollandaise and Bearnaise.
Put the butter in a small pan and melt over a low heat; do not allow the butter to boil.
Remove the pan the heat and tilt the pan slightly using a flat spoon. Skim off any foam from the surface. Pour into a small bowl. Leaving the milky solids behind. Cool, if recipe directs.
Hollandaise Sauce: 
An emulsified sauce made from butter and egg yolk. Hollandaise and its variations are opaque, but the sauce should have a luster and not appear oily. They should have a smooth texture. A grainy texture indicates over cooking of the egg yolks.  It should have light consistency and at times almost appears frothy. A very popular sauce served with poached eggs, and steaks in its original form or as derivatives.
  1. Vinegar is reduced with white wine, chopped shallots and peppercorn.
  2. Add the reduced vinegar to the egg yolk and mix it well and cook it on a double boiler to a stage when it is creamy and does not smell raw.
  3. Clarify butter by melting it over low heat and straining all the salt that settles at the bottom.
  4. Add the melted clarified butter drop by drop on the egg yolk, ensuring both are almost at the same temperature.
  5. Whisk until a thick emulsion is formed. Add few drops of vinegar to the emulsion if it is too hard to whish in the butter. Finish with lemon juice.
  6. Season the sauce and hold it at room temperature and serve warm.   


Points to be Remembered:
  • Scrambled appearance of sauce due to coagulation, shrinking and hardening of egg protein at around 550C (1580F), so care must be taken to:
  1. Ensure that egg yolk do not become too hot when whisking to ribbon stage over the double boiler.
  2. Prevent the melted butter over heating before adding to the egg yolk.
  3. Prevent the sauce from overheating prior to service.


  • Curdled sauce which may be the result of the following reasons:
  1. Insufficient agitation during mixing
  2. Too much mechanical agitation which breaks down the protective layer of emulsifying agent.
  3. Adding melted butter too quickly to the egg mixture.
  4. Using in correct formula.
  5. Using egg yolks which lack sufficient emulsifying agent e.g. stale egg yolks.


  • To overcome the above mentioned points, care must be taken to:
  1. Ensure that the melted butter is not added too quickly to the to the egg yolks.
  2. Whisking briskly when adding the melted butter.
  3. Prepare sauce just before the service.
  4. Ensure fresh eggs are used.




Double boiler is cooking on a boiling water bath for even heating with a controlled temperature.
Care should be taken while cooking the egg yolk because excess heat may coagulate the yolk and make it into a scrambled egg. Remove out of heat as and when required.
  • Place a small amount of boiling water into a clean bowl. Gradually whisk the curdled     mixture on to the water.
  • Place fresh egg yolks into a clean bowl. Gradually whisk in the curdled mixture on to the yolk, whisk gently over a bain-marie.


Mayonnaise Sauce:
An emulsified sauce made from egg yolk and oil. This delicious sauce is used in salads, sandwiches and as a part of other sauces. It can be varied by using different oils, herbs and other flavorings. Mayonnaise can also be made in a blender, food processer or with an electric mixer. Make sauce that all the ingredients are in room temperature. If making by hand, set the bowl on a towel to stop it sliding around.
Remember, mayonnaise is made with raw egg yolk which can harbor ‘Salmonella’ bacteria. Pregnant women, children and the elderly should avoid under cooked or raw eggs.
  1. Mix egg yolk with mustard in a bowl.
  2. Add oil drop by drop whisking it continuously.
  3. If the emulsion becomes too tight, add vinegar to thin it down.
  4. Whisk until a stabilized emulsion is formed.
  5. Serve cold as a sauce, dressing or as the base for other derivative sauces.
  6. Points to remember


Unstable emulsion caused due to-
  • When the ingredients have been at too low a temperature, thus preventing the emulsifying agents from coating the oil successfully.
  • By using stale egg yolks which consequently provide insufficient agent.
  • By inadequate whisking when adding oil to the egg yolks, thus preventing even distribution of oil into egg.
  • By adding oil too quickly in the initial stages of preparations, thus prevent a thorough mixing of yolks and oil resulting in the sauce separations.
  • By using incorrect formula balance.


How to correct a curdled Mayonnaise Sauce?
Mix the unstable emulsion on to a fresh egg yolk or on to a few drops of boiling water. Use a clean bowl and proceed as for making Mayonnaise.
Hard Butter Sauce / Beurre Compose:
This preparations are used to accompany a variety of grilled meat or fish dishes. Also it adds interest and flavor to various products .They are easily prepared in advance and stored refrigerated in readiness for use.
Cream butter until soft, combine with flavorings and seasonings to taste. Roll in dampened grease proof paper to cylindrical shape, approximately 2 ½ cm wide. Store refrigerated but not frozen.
It may be utilized in the following way-
  1. Add to sauce to enhance flavor.
  2. In the preparation of a culinary product e.g. snails in garlic butter.
  3. Place on a hot food for service e.g. grilled steak.
  4. Place in a sauce boat of iced water to keep the butter solid in hot atmosphere.


Examples of Compound / Hard Butter Sauce
Anchovy Butter:               Add anchovy essence /paste / pounded to butter.
Garlic Butter:                   Chopped garlic, parsley, pinch of pepper combined with butter.
Basil Butter:                      Add a fine puree of fresh basil leaves and a little lemon juice with butter.
Colbert Butter:                 Mix chopped tarragon and meat glaze in to Maître d’hôtel butter.
Maître d’hôtel Butter:     Add chopped parsley, seasonings and lime juice to butter.
Ravigote Butter:               Pound blanched herbs and shallots, pass through a sieve and add to soften butter.
Bercy Butter:                    Reduce chopped shallots in wine, add butter, bone marrow, chopped  parsley and lemon juice.
Cray fish Butter:              Pulverize crayfish, add butter and pass through a sieve.
Red wine Butter:              Reduce shallots in red wine and add to butter with seasonings, lemon juice and chopped parsley.
Nutty Butter:                   Add finely chopped peanuts, the slices of butter may be dipped in chopped nuts.
Hot Butter Sauce / Beurre Chaud:
Hot butter sauces are often used with vegetables, fish, and meat offal’s and poultry dishes. They can be served to complete a dish or as an accompaniment e.g. Poisson Meuniere, beurre meuniere to complete beurre fondue to accompany asparagus etc.
Examples of Hot Butter Sauce:
Beurre Noisette:
Heat butter until brown and pour over the food on the dish,if desired a little lemon juice may be added.This butter is frequently used in conjuction with jus lie for shallow fried food.
Beurre Noire:
Heat butter until it begins colour brown,add a few drops of vinegar and pour over the food.Capers and chopped parsley may be added at the last moment.
Beurre Blanc:
Cook chopped shallots in a little water, gradually adding the juice of lemon as it evaporates. Whisk butter in small pieces at a time, keeping the pan in a bain-marie of water until the lemon sauce become white and frothy. Serve at once and do not allow to become too warm.
Beurre Rouge:                  Make as Beurre Blanc by using red wine.
Beurre Fondue:                Heat butter until warm and just melted, add lemon juice and served immediately.
Beurre Meuniere:            As for Beurre Noisette garnish with chopped parsley.
Sauce au Beurre:
Add flour to melted butter then boiling salted water to make a smooth sauce. Add a liaison of egg yolk, cream and lemon juice, allow to thicken and finish with plenty of butter added in pieces at the last moment. Served with poached fish, asparagus etc.
Other Sauces, Non-derivative Sauces and Gravies:
Except the above mentioned sauces there are many sauces which are prepared independently. They are as follows-
•             Jus lie                                              Thickened gravy.
•             Sauce Kari                                       Curry sauce.
•             Sauce Portugaise                             Sauce Portuguese.
•             Sauce Brigade                                  Orange flavored sauce.
•             Sauce Homard                                  Lobster sauce.
•             Sauce Bolognaise                             Savory meat sauce.
•             Sauce Pommes                                 Apple sauce.
•             Sauce Pain                                        Bread sauce.
•             Sauce Menthe                                   Mint sauce.
Example of Proprietary Sauces:
One of the most popular proprietary sauces is Soya Sauce, which has been used in Oriental cuisine for more than 2500 years. There are generally two varieties of soya sauce, dark and light. The darker version is used in the preparation and the lighter version is used as a seasoning.
Another popular proprietary sauce is the Worcestershire Sauce, commonly known as W Sauce or LP Sauce, deriving its name from Lea and Perrin, which has some connection with Indian taste. It is soya and vinegar based.
Ketchup is supposed to be the most common amongst all proprietary sauces used in all household. It’s a sauce for all occasions and goes well as an accompaniment with probably all snacks, especially if deep fried. It also acts as a substitute to the most popular tomato sauce. Ketchup in contrast to tomato sauce does not contain any bacon rashers and are completely vegetarian in nature.
Tabasco Sauce, a spicy chili and red pepper sauce is a favorite in America, named after the Mexican province, which produces spicy chilies. The basic method is by mixing vinegar to matured chilies.
Contemporary Sauces: 
The broad category of contemporary sauces includes beurre blanc, coulis, compound butters and a variety of miscellaneous sauces, such as relishes, salsas and compotes. Contemporary sauces means that these sauces compliment the dish by enhancing the flavor and of the dish in total. They are prepared by the chefs in the kitchen with a view that there particular flavor matches best with the basic flavor of the dish served. They are not considered as mother sauces as they are not the base for other derivative sauces but sometimes act as good as a mother sauce. The primary factors distinguishing contemporary sauces from the grand sauces are the following-
  • They usually take less time to prepare.
  • They are more likely to be specifically tailored to be a given food or technique.
  • They have a lighter color, texture and flavor than some of the grand sauces.
  • They are more likely to be thickened and finished using emulsions, modified starches or reduction and less likely to contain roux.


One of the most popular sauces in this category is Pesto Sauce, with an Italian origin, generally made from pine kernels, basil, olive oil, garlic, sea salt, black pepper and Parmesan. Originally all these are pounded in a mortar and pestle and then preserved in olive oil for future use.
Mint Sauce, the classical accompaniment of roast lamb is made by making a gastric out of reduced vinegar and sugar. Freshly chopped mint is added in good quantity for the flavor and served immediately.
The authentic accompaniment of roast pork, Apple Sauce, is made by cooking peeled apples with cinnamon sticks along with sugar and then making it to a paste. The lovely combination of cinnamon with apples makes a gorgeous combination with the pork.
Similarly for roast chicken an acceptable accompaniment is Bread Sauce, made by cooking the fresh bread crumbs without crust in milk along with cloves. Once strained to a smooth texture, a dip of the roast chicken in this sauce can be a mouthwatering experience.
Use of Sauce:
The function of the sauce is to add flavor to the dish which is compatible with the ingredients. Sometimes the color is in contrast to the main item thus giving a contrasting color effect, thus elevating the presentation style of the dish. It is an excellent accompaniment of dishes which complements the taste and flavor thus elevating the overall nature of the dish.
The function of the Sauce in Culinary work
  • Sometimes sauces are used to add a contrast in taste to another food.  Apple sauce with fresh roast pork serves the same purpose. Broadly speaking any condiment or mixture of food, which serves to contrast with or compliment another food, can be termed a sauce.  In this broad sense a peanut butter and jelly mixture would be a sauce to a piece of bread if they were served together.
  • Some sauces are used to add sharpness or tanginess to a bland food.  A remoulade sauce served with shrimp is an example of a piquant sauce.
  • Sauces may add to the appearance of food, sometimes as a coating which is poured or brushed over the food to give a pleasing appearance to an otherwise uninteresting item. The chaud-froid sauce made with a cream or mayonnaise and gelatin is used to coat various food items.
  • Sauces such as barbeque sauce are used to modify the original flavor of a food, blending the sauce flavor with the flavor of the food.
  • Some sauces are used to disguise or mask the original flavor of the food. As the French use the work `mask’ in regard to sauces, masking a food with a jelly or sauce is to completely cover it physically hiding its appearance.  Masking does not change the true flavor of the food.
  • Sauces should never be used to change the flavor of a food material, only to enhance or to compliment the flavor of the food.
  • Salad dressings such as French dressing and mayonnaise could also in this sense be considered sauces. However, sauces are usually considered those mixtures served with meats, entrees, desserts and other major foods as a compliment or contrast to their flavor.


General faults in sauce production
  • Lumpiness: This may be caused by the following.


  1. Roux is too dry when liquid is added.
  2. Adding liquid too quickly and not stirring continuously.
  3. Incorrect temperature of roux and liquid. One should be hot and other should be cold.
  4. Formation of the skin when the sauce comes in contact with air and becomes dry. This can be prevented by putting a film of melted butter on the surface of the sauce or by using a greased paper.
  5. By allowing sauce to congeal on the sides of the cooking vessel which later could be stirred into sauce.


  • Poor gloss: This is caused by in sufficient cooking of the sauce or using a sauce which has not been passed, strained or liquidized. High gloss is achieved by preparing the sauce correctly and aided by the addition of butter just prior to service, called ‘Mounting with Butter’ or ‘Monter au Beurre’
  • Incorrect consistency: This is the result of in correct formula balance. Over and under cooking is ultimately lead to an incorrect consistency.
  • Greasiness: Too much fat in roux or failure to skim off surface grease as it rises. The use of greasy stock may cause this fault.
  • Poor color: Incorrect cooking of the roux in the early stage, using dirty cooking vessel or utensils may cause poor color.
  • Raw starch flavor: This causes due to the insufficient cooking of starch. Starch needs to reach to boiling point and simmered it for a further period to avoid for a raw starch flavor.
  • Bitterness: This is caused by over browning or burning of the roux.


Elements of a Sauce: 
The major sauces are made basically of three components, a liquid, which comprises the body of the sauce, a thickening agent and the flavoring and seasonings.


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  1. quite useful, leaves one well versed with sauces

  2. Very interesting. Thank you to share!

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