Sometimes the smallest things in the world can make a huge difference and that can be true for your dining table also. Picture your Christmas dinner table: soups, salads, starters, stuffed roast turkey and desserts but there are some magical bits of this menu that will make all the difference in taste. I am talking about the condiments: gravies, sauces, dips, and chutneys. No matter how versatile and extended your Christmas menu is, these little details are what are needed for making every bite a magnificent experience. Before starting out the recipes its good to know a little about what actually are gravies, sauce, dips and chutneys and how are they different from one another.
Gravy is actually a sauce made from juices, left from cooking meat, fish, turkey or chicken. It is often mixed with milk, cream and broth. Flour, corn starch, arrowroot, and dairy products are usually combined with gravies to give it a thicker texture. Unlike sauces the gravies are always served hot. The art of making gravy is not a difficult thing to do. Following simple instruction can actually lead to smooth gravy. Different variations of gravy require different handling process. For instance, for simple pan gravy not much effort is required on the other hand if you are aiming to make gravy for potatoes, rice or pasta, you should think of a recipe that results in thicker gravy.
There are many types of gravy recipes found around the world. The most popular ones are Onion gravy, cream gravy, egg gravy, vegetarian gravy, white gravy and giblet gravy. Gravies are generally eaten with meat and poultry dishes, sandwiches, and Yorkshire puddings.
Sauces are liquid or semi liquid in texture and are made by mixing a number of ingredients. A sauce is usually created to compliment a dish and is served cold. It is said to be used more for savoury dishes, but it is also common in dessert foods such as chocolate sauce. For most of us one the word sauce relates to the wonderful range of Italian sauces or pasta sauces.
The birth of sauce cannot be traced to a time or place in history as such. In early times a sauce was no more that gravy, broth or a thick soup and was the by product of the meat and the meat fat it was cooked in. But with the passage of time new things were introduced into the recipe. Sauces can be created from meat and it´s juices, from vegetables, from herbs and spices, from fruits, from dry fruits and so on. There is an endless variety of sauces. Though there are five variations of sauces that are called the Mother Sauces. These are Béchamel, Velouté, Espagnole and Vinaigrette. Some of the most popular Italian sauces are Alfredo: Arrabbiata, Bologne, Carbonara, Genovese, Marinara and Pomodoro.
A dip which is sometimes referred to as an appetizer or a dressing can simply be defined as any form of thick liquid in which cooked food or prepared food can be dipped. The difference between a sauce and a dip is hat as sauce is usually prepared with a dish and is less thick than a dip, whereas a dip is separately made and food is actually dipped into it to get that tasty flavour. Dips are generally used for dipping as pita bread, dumplings, crackers, cut-up raw vegetables, seafood, cubed pieces of meat and cheese, potato chips and tortilla chips.
Dips can be sour, spicy or sweet depending upon the food item it is being used for. Dips can be made with chocolate, vegetables, milk products, dry fruits, herbs and spices. Some of the most popular types of dips are garlic dip, cheese dip, Guacamole, Queso Dip, Corn Relish, Sweet Pepper Spread, Fonduta, Tzatziki, Taramasalata, Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Tahini, Salsa, and Picante Dip.
Chutney is a well-known Asian condiment that is a blend of a number of spices and vegetable mix. We can trace its origin centuries back. In old days chutneys were made by grounding spices with a mortar and pestle made of stone. Today we make use of electric blenders to mix and blend various spices in the right amount.
Chutneys can be dry or have a pasty texture, depending upon the recipe. The chutney recipes are unlimited and can be virtually prepared from any fruit, vegetable, herbs spices or a combination of them. Chutneys can be sweet or sour, but in both types spices are the main ingredient. Spices most commonly used are fenugreek, coriander, cumin and asafoetida. There is a huge variety of chutneys found in Pakistan, India , Bangladesh and China. Some well-known types are: Mint chutney, Lemon chutney, Mango chutney, Coconut chutney, Onion chutney, Prune chutney, Tomato chutney, Garlic chutney, simple yogurt chutney and many more.
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