To begin my quest to prepare vegetarian Worcestershire sauce back in Canada, I looked at the list of ingredients both on my bottle of Lea & Perrins™ at home (photo below, left), and on the photo of the Mexican “Inglesita” sauce from my previous post (photo below, right):
The ingredients listed on the “Inglesita” Mexican sauce label are: Organic vinegar, water, cloves, Sinapis alba (white mustard), raw brown sugar, tamarind, cardamom, Tellicherry peppercorn (Malabar black), Muntok peppercorn (Indonesian white), red peppercorn, soy sauce, cinnamon, Allium sativum (garlic), Allium cepa (onion), ginger, turmeric, salt.
Lea & Perrins specifies Malt and Spirit vinegars, so I picked malt as the base, and chose white wine vinegar as a mild spirit vinegar option. In order to keep it vegetarian, I skipped the anchovies from the Lea & Perrins; this caused a main drop in umami flavour, so I kept the soy sauce listed on the “Inglesita” and added nutritional yeast, a popular vegetarian flavour booster:
The list on the Lea & Perrins ends with “spice, flavours”, not much help, so I followed the complete list of spices and aromatics from “Inglesita” (except for cardamom, which I did not have.) To include all the peppercorn varieties, I found a medley with a convenient grinder attached:
Tamarind may be prepared into a paste from pods, as I described in a previous post, or it may be from a jar:
I did not have white mustard seed, either, so I used prepared yellow mustard (which is a good emulsifier as a bonus), and chose dried onion and garlic powder, instead of fresh, to increase shelf life. The ingredients for my first attempt looked like this:
After mixing all those ingredients, this is how my preparation looked, next to the control Lea & Perrins sample:
It was too light in colour, watery, and also lacked the punch of classic Worcestershire. I realized that it needed more sweetness, and that the raw sugar was not enough to thicken the mix, so I added molasses (as in Lea & Perrins.) Also, the aroma of the freshly ground peppercorn medley really made me think of Worcestershire, so I added more:
The colour and viscosity were very close now thanks to the molasses, and the flavour was definitely richer. After a few more attempts, I got as close as I could, trying to keep the recipe afloat, but it became clear that the anchovies were quite perceptible in the original Lea & Perrins, and that, I could not change, because the whole objective was to keep the sauce vegetarian.
However, I prepared the sauce a couple of weeks ago, and it is developing a more interesting flavour profile as it ages (photo at the top of the post); as explained on the Lea & Perrins™ official site: “Lea and Perrins were not impressed with their initial results. The pair found the taste [of the sauce] unpalatable, and simply left the jars in their cellar to gather dust”. After a couple of years, they found the old jars and after tasting again, declared with stentorian pride that ” … the aging process had turned it into a delicious, savory sauce.” Who knows? Maybe if I keep mine around for a couple of years, it will get even closer to the original Worcestershire.
Vegetarian Worcestershire Sauce –
Salsa inglesa vegetariana
½ cup malt vinegar
¼ cup white wine vinegar
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp molasses
¼ cup brown sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground peppercorn medley (white, red and black)
1 tsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp tamarind paste
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp yellow mustard
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
Mix all the ingredients thoroughly (photo below, left); pour into a bottle with a cap (photo below, right):
Close with cap and let rest for at least two weeks:
At the end of the day, if there were no dietary restrictions, I would just stick to the original Lea & Perrins™, but I liked my sauce as a vegetarian alternative. My vegetarian daughter will be home at the end of April; I am daydreaming about her trying my salsa inglesa on pizza, the Mexican way! There are other Mexican recipes that call for Worcestershire sauce, and may be made vegetarian with this sauce; I will share two in my next posts.
I am bringing my recipe to Thursday Favourite Things #429 with Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn, Pam @ An Artful Mom, Katherine @ Katherine’s Corner, Amber @ Follow the Yellow Brick Home, Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.