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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Worcestershire Sauce

If you thought that Tamarind was used only in the South Indian Cuisine, then you will be in for a tangy surpirse. The very popular Worcestershire Sauce is majorly tamarind pulp. Other ingredients being anchovies layered in brine, garlic in vinegar, chilies, cloves, shallots, and sugar.I never used it in my cooking as it is not vegetarian. Although vegetarian options exist, I have my doubts.


Tamarind has maximum sugar content when compared to any fruit. Acid content, however, off sets sugar flavour to give it a tangy sour sweet taste. This natural combination of flavours gives Worcestershire sauce its distinct taste.

History of the sauce...

Image source: Wiki
Quoting wiki 
"Mostly used with grilled or barbecued meats. It is also used in cocktails and drinks.It was first made at 68 Broad Street, Worcester, England, by two dispensing chemists, John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins, the Lea & Perrins brand was commercialised in 1837 and has been produced in the current Midlands Road factory in Worcester since 16 October 1897. It was purchased by H.J. Heinz Company in 2005 who continue to manufacture and market "The Original Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce", under the name Lea & Perrins, Inc., as well as Worcestershire Sauce under their own name and labelling. Other companies manufacture similar products, often also called Worcester Sauce, and marketed under different brands." 

My research and understanding of its history...
Given this quote from wiki, I would like to add that although many of us think of Worcestershire Sauce as being of English origin. It originally routes its way back to India. Way back in 1835, one Lord Sandy from Worcestershire county, England was posted in Bengal, India (British India). He came back home and asked  a pair of chemists, John Lea and William Perrins, to work on creating a sauce he ate in Bengal ( I am assuming bengali version of fish (meen) Kuzhambu). :-)

Although these chemists couldn't come up with anything great, they left the concoction in a cellar and forgot all about it for two years. Before they threw it out, they decided to taste their creation and liked the fermented and matured sauce (must have tasted like balsamic vinegar). 

Thus, the original Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce came into being. Amazing marketing and promotional campaigns must have led to this sauce finding its way onto passenger ships and restaurants. As of today, this sauce has found its way into most non-vegetarian kitchens across the world.

  • Tamarind is the derivative of Arabic name for the fruit- "Tamar-al-hind" or "Hindustani dates " - Indian Dates in Arabic. 
  • Though called Tamarindus Indica in Latin, a few Tamarind is said to be of African origin : Link 
  • Other brands of this sauce have made it difficult for the original manufacturer to remain competitive in the market. So they emphasize on being the "original" on their label.
  • Thai and Japanese cuisines have their version of made of tamarind, fruits and vegetables


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