when baking, follow directions.. when cooking, go by your own taste.. ~ Laiko Bahrs
if someone were to ask me to name the one ingredient that i love to use most in cooking, the answer without a doubt will be tomato sauce..
no, NOT tomato ketchup.. tomato SAUCE.. the sauce that’s used most widely in Italian cuisine, THAT tomato sauce..
i’ve been obsessed with tomato sauce (especially the chunky type) ever since i first discovered its awesomeness when used as a porridge base.. after that, it was tomato sauce in practically anything.. instant noodle soup.. baked chicken, pork, beef and lamb.. stews.. sandwiches and burgers.. rice.. pies.. do i need to go on? it’s such a versatile sauce which can be incorporated into so many different dishes..
before i started making my own tomato sauce from scratch, i was more used to the instant bottled ones one can find in most supermarkets.. i always grabbed a bottle or two whenever i did my weekly grocery shopping.. then, i got married and wanted to impress hubs with my kitchen skills further(he was already aware of my obsession with tomato sauce by then).. i learned how to prepare homemade tomato sauce through the good ol’ Internet.. i still use store bought tomato sauce now and then.. but i can tell you right now that homemade sauce definitely beats store bought ones anytime..
to make really good tomato sauce, you can’t start or do without the soffritto.. an aromatics combination of finely chopped onion, garlic and celery sauteed with olive oil to form the flavor base for the sauce.. then and only then the rest of the ingredients, namely fresh tomatoes, maybe carrot or roasted red bell pepper, fresh or dried herbs, wine or vinegar, and seasonings.. let everything integrate together slowly over low heat, and voila, you have some awesome homemade tomato sauce~
to store homemade tomato sauce in the fridge, i like to use glass jars.. i almost never throw away the jars after using the store bought tomato sauce.. or any glass jars of other cooking/food ingredients (these jars can be reused after a thorough cleanse with soap and water, then disinfected by a quick soak in boiling water and finally air dried.. oh, and to remove the paper labels on them, just submerge the jars in water for a few hours before cleaning them with soap and water..if the glue is hard to come off, use a metal mesh to brush it off the glass surface).. keeping the homemade sauce in store bought tomato sauce jars makes it easier for me to identify them in the fridge, as opposed to keeping it in other containers..
i’m sharing with you this recipe for deep fried fish fillet with spicy tomato sauce that both hubs and i like to have with steamed white rice.. you can use frozen fish fillet if you want, as i sometimes do too.. for this post, i filleted a fresh grunter fish i got from a neighboring district’s fishing village.. i didn’t know the name of the fish at first, and the seller told me it was called ikan gerut (grunter fish)..