We first came across Insomniac Cook at an art, craft and food pop-up in Mumbai last month. Set up in 2014 by film-maker and design consultant Madhumita Pyne, Insomniac Cook is your answer to incredible sauces and jams to make your breakfast and snack times more interesting. A sauce that drew us to her stall was the Old Monk and Barbecue Sauce.
“One of the reasons why I make these sauces is because I hated tomato ketchup,” says Pyne. A Bengali who grew up learning how to cook from her mother, Pyne says that her love for food has only grown over the last decade. Says the 38-year-old home chef, “I am a voracious consumer of food shows and blogs. I like experimenting (or as I like to call it, playing) in the kitchen and feeding people. One of the greatest joys for me is others appreciating dishes I have made. So, setting up a home kitchen and retailing seemed like a natural progression.” Insomniac Cook’s products are sold online and she has recently begun a catering service as well.
Pyne most generously shared recipes for three sauces that will ensure you’ll never pick up another bottle of ketchup off a store counter.
This tangy and pungent mango and mustard sauce is a speciality from the state of Bengal. It is usually served with any fried food and can be pretty addictive.
4 tbsp – A mix of brown and yellow mustard seeds
1 – Medium raw mango, grated to fill about 1 cup
8-10 – Green chillies
1/4 cup – Mustard oil
1 tbsp – Mustard Oil for seasoning
1 1/2 tbsp – Salt
1/2 tsp – Turmeric powder
* Take mustard seeds in a mixer jar and grind for a few seconds.
* Now, add salt, turmeric, green chilies, grated raw mango and 1/4th cup mustard oil.
* Grind to make a smooth paste.
* Pour the mixture in a glass jar. Add the remaining 1 tbsp of mustard oil over the prepared kasundi. Cover the jar with a fine muslin cloth.
* Keep the jar in the sun for 2-3 days, and then keep refrigerated.
BOURBON ORANGE BBQ SAUCE
1/2 – large onion, puréed
4 cloves – Garlic, grated
3/4 cup – Bourbon whiskey
1 tbsp – Bourbon whiskey, for seasoning
3 tbsp – Butter
1/4 cup – Parsley, finely chopped
2 cups – Tomato sauce
1-2 tbsp – Tomato paste (to desired thickness)
1/3 cup – Molasses (you can replace this with jaggery)
1/4 cup – Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp – Lemon juice
2 tsp – Black peppers
2 tsp – Coarse salt
1-2 tsp – Chilli powder (to taste)
1/4 tsp – Cinnamon
1/2 cup – Dark brown sugar, packed
Juice from 1 1/2 oranges
Zest of 1 orange
* Place a saucepan over medium heat, and sauté the onion purée, garlic paste, and bourbon for 5-10 minutes.
* If the bourbon ignites, allow it to burn for a few seconds and cover the pan with a lid to extinguish the flame.
* Add the tomato paste and brown sugar to the pan and stir well, to prevent them from sticking to the bottom.
* Now add the molasses, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, salt, black pepper, chilli powder, and cinnamon.
* Whisk together well, then add the parsley and orange zest, and again whisk to combine.
* Bring the sauce to a boil for 20–30 seconds and turn the burner to low, add the final shot of bourbon, and allow the sauce to simmer for 20–30 minutes.
* After simmering, you can adjust the consistency by adding some water to your taste and turn off the burner.
* Finally, whisk in the butter to round off the sauce.
* You can use the sauce immediately, but it will taste better after melding together for a day or two.
* Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep for 3–6 weeks.
While the original Thai Sriracha sauce is made using fermented chillies, this quick cheaters version is just as good.
150g – Red chilli peppers; a mix of hot Thai birds eyes chillies (to add heat) and any kind of red thick-skinned variety like Bhavnagri chillies (to add body to the sauce), roughly chopped
10 cloves – Garlic, peeled and crushed just until broken
1 cup – Distilled vinegar
1/4 cup – Sugar
1-2 tbsp – Sugar, for seasoning if needed
1 tsp – Salt
(Note: Use whichever red or hot chillies you have access to, as long as they have a substantial amount of flesh, so we can achieve the thick, luscious consistency iconic of Sriracha. The spiciness of this sauce will vary depending on the pepper you use, but if the peppers you have are not spicy enough for you, you can add extra Thai chilies to boost the heat.)
* Add chillies and garlic to a small pot and add just enough vinegar to cover (you may need a little more or less than 1 cup).
* Simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes, or until the garlic cloves are soft.
* Transfer to a blender and purée until smooth.
* Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chillies and garlic to the blender, then pour the remaining vinegar into the blender through a strainer to catch the seeds.
* Discard the seeds.
* Once the sauce is smooth, strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a small pot, pushing out as much liquid as possible with a rubber spatula, and occasionally scrape the bottom of the sieve to get the sauce that is clinging to the sieve.
* Put the sauce back on the stove over medium heat.
* Add salt and 1/4 cup of the sugar and stir until the sauce comes to a simmer.
* Remove from heat, taste, and adjust seasoning with the remaining sugar if needed.
* Store in an airtight container in the fridge, it should last you a few months.