May The Sauce Be With You – By Danielle Mulligan

No salad, rice bowl, noodle dish or stir fry is complete without a delicious sauce to drench all your ingredients in, and no, I’m not talking about pre-made sauces that come in bottles.

Although these bottles are convenient to have in, 1 tablespoon of Sweet Chilli sauce contains as much as 7g of sugar! Well… if convenience is your thing – did you know you can make your own sauce at home using just 5 ingredients?

No whisks or cooking required: a cup and a measuring spoon is all you need.


Sauce 1

1tbsp toasted sesame oil, 2tbsp reduced-salt soya sauce, 1tsp garlic, 1tsp ginger, 1/2tsp brown sugar (throw into stir-fries or use to coat veggies in before roasting)

Sauce 2

1tbsp olive oil, 1tsp white wine vinegar, ¼ tsp dijon mustard, ½ tsp honey, 1/2tsp garlic (dress up any old salad with this dressing)

Sauce 3

1tbsp toasted sesame oil, 1tbsp lime juice, ½ tsp chilli flakes, 1tbsp reduced-salt soya sauce, 1tsp honey (perfect to marinade tofu in, or throw on top of stir fries or rice)

Sauce 4

2tbsp peanut butter, tbsp coconut milk, 2tbsp soya sauce, 1tbsp lime juice, ½ tsp honey (a delicious satay sauce to accompany a stir fry or potato salad like gado gado, dress up noodle salads)

Sauce 5

2tbsp tahini, 1/2tsp garlic, 1tsp lemon juice, sea salt, pepper (perfect on a bowl of roasted chickpeas or sweet potato salad)

Sauce 6

2tbsp low-fat yoghurt, diced cucumber, 1/2tsp garlic, 1tsp lemon juice, parsley (formally known as tzatziki – add this to salads, delicious on a falafel pitta bread)

Depending on your preferences, the above recipes can either be whisked in a cup beforehand before drizzling over your dish or added individually to your cooking pan.

Bring depth to your creation by including a range of ingredients that are sweet, sour, spicy, and salty.

Mix ‘n’ Match

You can mix and match any of the above ingredients and fall in love with the flavour sensations you create. You’ll soon lean which ingredients work well together, and which dish they should be a part of.

I am inspired by Asian cuisine, and so my fridge is often jam-packed with pak choi, cabbages, spring onions, babycorn, carrots, peppers and broccoli. All of the above thrown onto a bed of wholewheat noodles or rice is my idea of heaven.

Therefore, the sauces I prefer often include a combination of sesame oil, white rice vinegar, soya sauce, ginger, lemon/limes, garlic, chilli, honey, peanut butter (usually not measured out).

Saucy Shopping List

  • The wonderful thing about the following ingredients is that they are so versatile, they’re key ingredients to the sauces listed above but they’re also used in cooking many other things.
  • Oil (olive oil, toasted sesame oil)
  • Reduced-salt soya sauce or tamari
  • Vinegar (mirin, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic)
  • Ginger, garlic, chilli (these can either be purchased raw, dried or frozen – I find it so handy to have these stored in the freezer)
  • Honey or vegan alternatives like maple syrup, agave nectar, brown sugar
  • Tangy fruit (lemons or limes – fresh, frozen or from concentrate)
  • Peanut butter
  • Coconut milk (I prefer carton coconut milk as lasts much longer than tinned coconut milk, often lower fat content, too)
  • Tahini
  • Mustard
  • Herbs (coriander, basil or parsley – fresh, frozen or dried)
  • Nuts (pine nuts, almonds or walnuts)

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