The world of sauce is incredibly vast. Sauce can be creamy, sweet, tangy, spicy and have pretty much any flavor imaginable. There are the tried and true we’ve come to depend on like ketchup, hot sauce and mayonnaise, but we’ve rounded up some of the not-so-familiar sauces. These bad boys are favor-packed and are sure to stir up your cooking game. They’ll have you wondering, “what could I have possibly been eating before?”
This milky sauce is thickened by a roux of flour and butter, and is absolutely necessary for creating a variety of dishes. For example, a béchamel is used in making a cheese sauce for macaroni. You’re most likely to whip up a béchamel to serve as the base when making your favorite thick soups like chowder.
As a close relative of hollandaise sauce, béarnaise is a combination of egg, butter and an acid. The main difference between the two is that béarnaise gets its acidity from a white wine vinegar rather than lemon juice. Try it for yourself on top of a big juicy steak.
Chili Garlic Sauce
If you like Sriracha, you should try its thicker, spicier cousin, Chili Garlic Sauce. Made from chili peppers, garlic and vinegar, this paste-like sauce has a variety of uses. From a topping on eggs to a marinade with a kick, this sauce is sure to become a household staple.
While similar in appearance to pesto, Chimichurri is by no means Italian. This Argentinian staple consists of parsley, garlic, vinegar and usually red pepper flakes. While incredibly easy to make, the effect it has on food is no little feat. It throws a parsley-packed garlic punch that’s best dished out on some steak or a chicken fillet to get the full experience.
English Bread Sauce
This British sauce dates back to medieval times, and it involves adding breadcrumbs to a mixture of milk, cream and spices. The result is a sauce that is traditionally served on Christmas and is used to complement the taste of turkey, brussel sprouts and almost any holiday dish.
Hoisin Sauce is similar to barbecue sauce in that it’s thick and sweet but the syrupy texture and garlicky taste sets it apart. This sauce is normally served with Chinese cuisine and can also be used as a glaze. Hoisin glazed salmon is an absolute must-have.
Peri Peri Sauce
This sauce is created from the African Bird’s Eye Chili which gives the sauce a taste bud-pleasing kick. Peri Peri is commonly made with chilis, pimento peppers, garlic and vinegar, and is used as a topping, marinade, or pretty much any way your heart desires. Its ultimate pair is chicken and is regularly used to make various South African and Portuguese dishes.
Szechuan sauce has caused much debate in the hearts of Americans. Is it a sauce, or is it a type of cuisine? One thing’s for certain, it contains garlic, chilis, vinegar, sugar and other spices. This sweet and salty addition is best when paired with chicken or tofu!
White Barbecue Sauce
You probably grew up used to reddish-brown barbecue sauce varieties with your ribs. However, down South in Alabama, White Barbecue sauce reigns king. Created in 1925 by Bob Gibson, White Barbecue sauce is made from a mayonnaise base with vinegar, horseradish and mustard. This northern Alabama staple tastes great alongside smoked pork and goes nicely atop salad greens.
Yum Yum Sauce
This Japanese steakhouse staple remains a mystery to many. However, once used, people become diehard fans and can’t imagine fried rice without it. It’s a quick mix of mayonnaise, butter, tomato paste and sugar, but spices are often added to give it a little extra something. It’s pretty universal and can be eaten with grains, meats and a variety of veggies.