Did you know that when Worcestershire Sauce was first imported to the United States in the early 1800s, it was the ONLY commercially prepared condiment available? It was first made in England by a couple of chemists, Lea and Perrins, on the request of a nobleman who had returned from his travels in Bengal. It quickly became popular and now is used all over the world in a large variety of ways. (You can read more about the history, including why the bottles are wrapped in paper, on the Lea & Perrins website.)
The store-bought version is a pantry staple, but did you know that you can make fresh Worcestershire Sauce at home with just a few ingredients and enjoy the same flavor?!
Three key ingredients
There are lots of recipes on the internet for homemade Worcestershire Sauce and mine will join the legions. I've chosen my ingredients using the list on the Lea & Perrins bottle and added some that I believe round out the homemade version really well. Three key ingredients are tamarind paste, anchovies, and fish sauce. You can eliminate them, but you won't get the same flavor!
Tamarind paste is a paste made from the fruit that grows in a pod on a tamarind tree and is indigenous to tropical Africa. However, it is used in cuisines around the world! Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican, Indian, Caribbean ... and apparently in an English condiment!
About the anchovies ...
Begin by toasting the spices in a dry skillet for about a minute. This helps release the fragrances and adds another layer of flavor.
Then saute shallots, garlic, ginger, and anchovies and add the toasted spices.
After the shallot mixture has cooked through, add the anchovies or anchovy paste, vinegar, molasses, fish sauce, and tamarind paste. Let it simmer for a bit, strain it, and add some lime juice for brightness.
A no-waste tip
Keep the solids that are left behind and use them just as you would use the sauce ... put them in a soup, or a marinade, for example. The flavor is the same as the sauce, of course, and can still be of use!
Pour the sauce into a bottle or jar and store in the refrigerator for a couple of months.
Of course, I make Homemade Worcestershire to use myself, but I think it would make a unique gift! I love culinary gifts, though, so maybe it's just me!
Other "Homemade" recipes you might like
Homemade Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 teaspoon dehydrated onion powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- oil for sauteeing
- 4 cloves garlic chopped small
- 2 shallots chopped small
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 2 Tablespoons chopped anchovies, or anchovy paste
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup molasses
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- 2 Tablespoons tamarind paste
- 1 lime juiced
- Measure the dehydrated onion powder, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and cayenne into a dry skillet. Toast over medium high heat until the fragrances are released, 1-2 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan occasionally to keep the spices from getting too dark. Turn the heat off and set aside.
- Heat a medium size pot over medium heat. Cover the bottom of the pot with a thin layer of oil and add the shallots. Saute until they are transparent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and reserved spices. Saute over medium low to medium heat for 30 minutes. Add more oil if the shallots, garlic, and ginger are getting too dark.
- Mix the anchovies or anchovy paste, apple cider vinegar, molasses, fish sauce, and tamarind paste together and pour the mixture into the pot, stirring to scrape up any bits from the bottom. Bring to a full simmer, turn off the heat and let it cool completely.
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a measuring pitcher. Add the lime juice, stir to combine, then pour into a bottle or jar.
- Store in the refrigerator up to 2 months.