Béchamel-, Espagnole-, Hollandaise-, Tomato- and, Velouté- are just some of the important French mother sauces developed for Western cuisine. By adding ingredients to any one of these mother sauces, a chef can create a varied number of ‘secondary’ sauces to dress, enhance and flavour their dishes. e.g. Béchamel + cheese = Mornay.
Recently, Chef Daniel created a sauce that he named DK7. In essence the sauce, is a blend of 7 Asian flavours (herbs and spices) – galangal, lemongrass, onion, garlic, ginger, tamarind, candlenut etc.
Add some yellow bean, tamarind and sugar to the sauce and you could have an excellent Mee Siam gravy. Grind some cummin, peppercorns and caraway seeds into the sauce and you have the makings of satay. Such is the versatility of DK7.
After tasting a variety of dishes cooked by Chef Daniel, I realised that if you want to produce a variety of Singapore dishes, there are many ways to do it. Buy a specific spice paste; grind your own from spices and herbs, or adapt DK7 according to your tastes. And here lies the caveat – DK7, when used carelessly by student studying overseas who is pining for a local dish, might help turn out a dish tasting vaguely familiar. But give DK7 to any trained chef, or home gourmet with cooking skills and enthusiasm and it can become the magic ingredient for creating novel and exciting dishes.
DK7 could turn out to be the magic ingredient for preparing all dishes with nuances of a flavour of Singapore. Michelin star chefs in the west who once employed soy sauce to bring another dimension to their creations should take note.