How often do you reach for pre-made sauce out of a sachet or a jar? When you’re in a hurry, this often seems like the quickest option, as you can just chuck it in a pan, give it a stir and be good to go. But there’s a lot that can go into ready-made sauces that you probably wouldn’t add if you made it from scratch.
This can mean that sauces picked up from supermarket shelves can be high in fat or sugar, not to mention contain preservatives. While they may help make life easier, they can also add calories to your diet.
On top of this, they will never taste quite as good or as fresh as a sauce made at home, which can also be really quick and easy. Rather than reaching for a ready-made version of your favourite sauce, why not use our simple tips and whip one up yourself?
How to make satay sauce
Whether you want a dipping sauce for chicken or prawn skewers, or a nice thick sauce to be served with rice as a main dish, there’s no denying that satay is a favourite option in the UK. The peanut sauce is packed full of flavour, has a bit of a kick and is surprisingly simple to make yourself!
All you need is:
3 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
1 can coconut milk (full or reduced fat both work)
1 tbsp soy sauce (dark works best)
1 small or half a large onion
Half tsp chilli flakes (you can add more for extra spice)
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
2 tsp brown sugar
- Soften the onions in a pan with a teaspoon of vegetable oil before adding the garlic, chilli flakes, soy sauce, brown sugar and peanut butter. Mix until the peanut butter is melted.
- Add the coconut milk and stir well, slowly bringing it to a gentle boil.
Dish up with skewers, add chicken, fish, prawns or vegetables and serve with rice or add to a stir fry. It really is as easy as that!
How to make simple stir fry sauce
One of the easiest meals you can make has to be a stir fry. After all, the only thing you need to do is throw everything in a wok and give it a stir. You can even get ready to use rice and noodles to make things even simpler. Rather than buying a sauce from the supermarket, be ready to make a stir fry at any time with our never-fail recipe.
6 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
1 red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
1 tsp fish sauce
- Mix your oyster sauce, soy sauce and fish sauce together and set aside.
- Heat oil in your wok and add your chilli and garlic before throwing in your meat. When the meat is cooked through, add your vegetables and stir fry for a minute until slightly soft.
- Add your oyster sauce mixture and stir well before adding your rice or noodles.
- Serve straight away and enjoy how delicious an easy meal can be.
How to make carbonara sauce
You might think that carbonara seems like it’s going to be really complicated, but it’s actually so easy you’ll be wondering why you’ve been buying it ready-made. It’s also ready to dish up in a couple of minutes, so make sure you have your spaghetti or pasta at the ready.
1 pack of smoked streaky bacon or pancetta (diced)
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
50g parmesan or alternative hard cheese (grated)
- Heat some oil in a pan and lightly fry your bacon or pancetta until it starts to go crispy and then add the crushed garlic, stirring it for around a minute so it doesn’t burn. Remove your pan from the heat.
- In a separate bowl, whisk your eggs with your cheese and some salt and pepper until the mixture is smooth. Add to your drained pasta in the pan you cooked the spaghetti in and stir well so all the pasta is coated.
- Throw in your bacon and stir, serving straight away with more cheese on top.
- If you want a creamier sauce, you can also add some double cream to your egg mixture, but it isn’t the healthiest choice!
How to make simple tikka masala sauce
While you won’t get a tikka masala sauce that tastes quite like the one in your favourite Indian restaurant, you can give it a good try. Not only is it easy to make a decent sauce, it is definitely going to be the healthier option. You can also make it in advance and freeze it, serving as the perfect quick dinner solution.
6 tbsp masala paste (you can use a ready-made one if you want)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
4 tbsp tomato puree
200ml natural yoghurt (low or full fat are both fine)
1 onion (diced)
- Mix a small amount of your yoghurt and masala paste together and cover your chicken, prawns, fish or tofu with it before covering with clingfilm and popping in the fridge to marinate for around half an hour.
- Heat oil in a large pan before adding the onions and allowing them to soften. Stir in the rest of your masala paste until it melts down a bit.
- Throw in your meat, tofu or fish and stir until it is mostly cooked. Pour in the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and the rest of your yogurt, stirring until well combined and creamy.
- Allow the sauce to simmer for around 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve up with rice and a warm naan bread and you won’t miss your takeaway.