Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sauces Halal / Haram?

Sauces are one of the most versatile innovations in man's love affair with food.

Very few foods indeed are eaten without some kind of sauce, be it a tomato sauce with a burger, as soya sauce with stir fry, chutney and relishes with chicken tikka and kebaabs, a base or topping sauce of a pizza, a basting sauce or marinade for a braai, mayonnaise and vinegar as salad dressing and caramel sauce for dessert.

The function of a sauce is to enhance flavour and act as a binder or thickener to prevent separation and increase the appeal of the dish. Its versatility makes it a firm favourite with cooks as it is available in powder, paste and liquid; in thick, medium or thin textures. It can be cooked separately or utilized as a cook-in-sauce.

More than three thousand substances are intentionally added to foods and drinks to produce a desirable effect.

Oil, egg, butter, milk, alcohols such as brandy, white wine, cognac etc. vinegar, starches, gelatin, food colouring, flavouring, spices, preservatives and in certain instances even blood, can be used in the making of sauce.

Current labelling laws do not adequately disclose all ingredients in products. Take a tour of your kitchen and observe the ambiguity of the labels on various products.

Eating out at restaurants is even more of a gamble as there isn't even a vague label to allay our apprehensions. Who would have thought that an onion and mushroom sauce can contain white wine and veal stock, a honey and lemon sauce or a herb and egg sauce can contain chicken stock or a hot chocolate sauce can contain rum.

These examples are but a reminder of the compelling need for Halal bona fide certification.


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