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Recipe for Basic Tomato Sauce
Source: Adapted and modified from The Kitchn
Make: 350 ml
10 ripe tomatoes, medium size (1.4kg)
1 clove garlic, finely minced (5g)
1/8 part of a medium sized yellow onion (10g)
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon of sugar
Pinch of salt
- Peel the tomatoes
Wash and rinse the tomatoes. Core the green sterm out from the tomatoes and slice a shallow “X” at their base. Bring a pot of water to a boil and off the heat. Drop the tomatoes into it and leave for 1-2 minutes until the skin starts to wrinkle and split. Remove the tomatoes and plunge them into the ice water until they are cool enough to handle. Transfer the cooled tomatoes to a tray. Use your finger tip or a paring knife to pull away the skins from the tomatoes.
- Chop the tomatoes
Cut the tomatoes into half or quarters. Slice off the hard cores (as they can’t break down during cooking). Scoop out the seeds with the gels and place them into another bowl. Use a spoon, press them through a sieve to filter the seeds and extract the juices. Seeds will cause the sauce to turn bitter after cooking (Source: She Knows). However, if you want to save yourself a bit of work, you can retain the seeds. Roughly chop the tomatoes or crush them by hand. Alternatively, use a wooden spoon or potato masher to do it in the pot when you cook them a bit. If you prefer chunky sauce, let them break down as they cook.
- Cook the sauce
Put the chopped tomatoes, the extracted juice, onion, garlic and bay leaves into a large pot. Bring it to a simmer and lower the heat to medium low. Continue to simmer for about 30 – 90 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce reaches the consistency you desire. The longer the cooking time, the thicker the sauce and the deeper the flavour.
- Season the sauce
Discard the bay leaves and season the sauce with lemon juice, sugar and salt. Let the sauce cool complete and store it in a clean jar. It keeps well in the fridge for a week or two but you can freeze them in batches or even in ice cube tray for up to three months.
- Choose any variety and sizes of tomatoes you like. Make sure they are brightly colour, free of blemishes and brushes.
- You can substitute fresh tomatoes with canned tomatoes.
- You can saute the raw minced ingredients first before adding the tomatoes.
- If you want a neutral base, you can leave the bay leaves, garlic and onion out and just cook the tomatoes alone.
- Avoid using oil if you’re planning to can your sauce as this can potentially be a source for botulism (Source: The Kitchn)
- The addition of lemon juice is to ensure the safe level of acidity for canning.
- You can puree the sauce for a smoother texture with a hand blender, juice blender or food processor. In the past, when I blended the cooked sauce, the colour of the sauce changed to bright orange. I think this could be caused by oxidation. However, you are free to do your own experiment.