Liquid Gold in Your Kitchen Cupboard

Sauce Cupboard

If you check out the cupboard above my stove you will see it groaning under the weight of dozens of bottles.  These bottles hold very special liquids to my kitchen, the magic flavours that with a splash here, a dash there and the latest stir fry or salad has the final dressing to wow our tastebuds.

Oils aint Oils


Oils really aren’t just oils.  So much is dependant upon what you are cooking and how.  Are you eating it in a salad, deep-frying something or just adding a hint of flavour to a pasta sauce.  Which oils you choose will make all the difference.  I always have the following oils on hand in my kitchen:

Olive Oil – Extra Virgin for cooking mediterranean flavoured dishes at a low to medium heat, or when I’m roasting meat or vegetables, nothing too expensive, and then something nicer for salads.  Sometimes we’ll go for something with a hint of lemon or garlic to add another dimension but most of all its about having a nice flavour.

Canola or Vegetable Oil  – For frying and cooking meats on the BBQ or anything at a high temperature.

Sesame Oil – Great as a few dashes in salads and also in your stir fries.  An essential part of an asian styled salad or noodles.   Add it at the end as if its heated too much it will go bitter.

Peanut Oil – for stir fries, imparting a nice flavour and will also work well in a high temperature.

Truffle Oil – a treat won in a hamper, but delicious drizzled on a risotto or pasta sauce last-minute. Use sparingly.


VinegarsThese make or break a salad dressing.  Go for quality and don’t be scared to experiment.  I could have twice as many flavours of vinegar and still not get bored or overwhelmed.  Each one is perfect for its particular accompaniments.

Getting Hot Under The Collar

Chili Oils and SaucesIf you haven’t noticed purely by the number of bottle of pepper sauce and chilli based oils we have a bit of a thing for chilli in our house.  For the other half, the more the better.  For me, I prefer in moderation to enhance flavours rather than to make me sweat, and boy will some of the above sauces do the latter.   Great as a pique in a salad dressing, a dash in your stir fry at the end to add that extra zing, or a splash in your guacamole mashed together quickly for a snack midweek or lazy sunday get together. Explore your local Asian grocers for some wonderful selections of Chili Oil and Sauces.

Soy Sauces

Soy SaucesYes there is more than one soy sauce.  Depending on what you are cooking you might want a lighter soy to complement a steamed dumpling, but if you’re cooking up a sticky hokkien noodle dish then Kecap Manis is probably going to suit better.  Darker soys tend to have a more mushroom flavour and sauces such as Hoisin are more fish based and suit as a salty and sweet side to Vietnamese hand rolls or peking duck.

The Randoms

misc saucesThese babies might even be called the essentials.  For me, you can’t have Thai food without fish sauce and what would a meat marinade be without a splash of Worcestershire?  Both fish based they add an essential earthy and salty flavour to bring out the best in your food.  Again use sparingly but don’t forget about them if you want your food to taste authentic to the cuisine you’re creating.

What about you? What is your must have bottles of sauce in your cupboard?

Happy Cooking & Happy Eating,


13 Comments Add yours

  1. lonaj68 says:

    Looks a lot like my cupboard. The thing is you need all the different kinds of sauces. It’s how you get things tasting just right.
    Great post.


    1. Leah says:

      Thank you! and I absolutely agree. Its the combination that often makes the food you make elevate to the next level.


  2. Had to check my cupboard and fridge! Can’t wait till you do one on spices.
    Vinegars: Sherry, Ume Plum, Red Wine, Champagne, White Wine, Rice Wine
    Oils: Walnut, Olive, Peanut, Safflower, Toasted Sesame
    Others: Black Strap Molasses, Agave, Karo Syrup, Hot Sauce
    Fridge: Tamari, Fish Sauce, Harissa



    1. Chef Janet, you have all the essentials. Can we trade pantries???? 🙂

      I love having truffle oil around, too – for tomatoes. But I realize lots of folks think it is overpowering!


      1. Leah says:

        Ooo, I’ll have to try the truffle oil that way. Been trying to find new ideas so thank you for the tip. 🙂


      2. It is so tasty! You only need a little drizzle and a sprinkle of sea salt… 🙂


      3. It’s easier just to send you a care package.

        Shanna, as far as truffle oil goes, I am suspicious of it. It’s easily polluted by unscrupulous vendors. If you trust you brand, keep it.


      4. Ah, yes, such a good point. I have one brand that I love. I have only bought one bottle, though, and store it in a cool, dark place. It lasts a lifetime… almost. 😉

        So, in my pantry, liquids that I always try to have have (keeping in mind I am on a limited budget: 😉
        A Kick-tuchus EVOO
        Occasionally, if on sale: EVOO infused with garlic.
        Sesame Oil
        Truffle Oil
        A neutral cooking oil w/ higher burning point, like canola oil
        A good Balsamic Vinegar
        A white wine vinegar, like champagne vinegar
        Apple Cidar Vinegar, but not always…
        Soy Sauce, low-sodium
        Sometimes Fish Sauce (in fridge, actually)


    2. Leah says:

      Lol. Great selection that you have there. I wish I had some walnut oil & I’ve not heard of champagne vinegar before so I think I might to go hunting & try it 🙂


  3. ladyredspecs says:

    Yep mostly the same in my cupboard too though not so many choices of chilli sauce. Verjuice, pomegranate molasses and pungent Indian mustard seed oil round out my repertoire. Xx


  4. Gustoso says:

    Hi Leah,

    Just to let you know you are now on the I ♥ Brisbane Food Bloggers list

    Warm regards,


    1. Leah says:

      Thank you so much Emma, I appreciate being added to the group. 🙂


  5. Lovely kitchen, the range of the liquid in your kitchen is kinda world wide……
    btw, is’t the hot sauces must be refrigerated after opened???


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