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Homemade Worcestershire Sauce

Thoughts for Today:  “It is the sauce that distinguishes a good chef. The Saucier is a soloist in the orchestra of a great kitchen.”  Fernand Point

Worcestershire Sauce, I use it all the time and assume most of you do as well. Although it is not as big a seller in the U.S. as say ketchup or salsa, Americans still pull it out for steaks, sauces, dressings, stews, and so forth especially in the restaurant business. You would be surprised to find out how much of this sauce is used at your favorite dining spot. The kicker is, for the most part, the rest of the world does the same thing.

Lea & Perrin

Lea & Perrin

Worcestershire Sauce has been around since the 1830’s and originated in England. It was marketed throughout Britain and other countries throughout the world during the time of Britain’s economic dominance.

In researching, I thought I would find Fish Sauce as the number one condiment world-wide. Many sources I looked at indicated olive oil is used more than anything as an addition to food. Kim chi, harissa, and chutney are up there as well, but I’ll leave you to decide what your favorite is.

Let’s go back to our condiment up for discussion today.

India Map


Worcestershire Sauce came from the county of it’s namesake Worcester, England. The true story is that its origin is actually from India. Lord Marcus Stanley had retired after governing Bengal, India for many years and no longer had access to his favorite sauce back in the British Isles. Lord Stanley commissioned drug store owners John Lea and William Perrins to replicate this concoction.

The chemists’ original intent was to keep some of the sauce to sell in their drug store. The problem was that the fermented fish and vegetable mixture was so foul that they decided to store it in the cellar. It lay forgotten for years until rediscovered during a spring cleaning. The aging of the product produced a wonderful sauce which quickly sold to an adoring public.

Lea and Perrin used their success to set their sauce upon the dining tables of the numerous passenger ships that departed from England during this time. It soon became a British staple and further emigrated worldwide. The guarded recipe remained the same although Heinz purchased the rights some time ago. The rest is now American history. Although you will find many variations on the original worldwide, here is my humble contribution to this storied sauce.

Homemade Worcestershire Sauce  


½ cup olive oil
8 large onions, roughly chopped
16 oz tamarind paste
½ cup minced garlic
½ cup minced ginger
8 jalapenos, seeds removed and minced
¾ cup chopped anchovies
¾ cup tomato paste
8 whole cloves
½ cup freshly cracked black pepper
2 cups dark corn syrup
4 cup molasses
3 qts cider vinegar
1 qt dark beer
2 cups orange juice
1 qt water
4 lemons, zest and juice only
4 limes, zest and juice only


In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the tamarind paste, garlic, ginger, and jalapenos and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the anchovies, tomato paste, cloves, pepper, corn syrup, molasses, white vinegar, dark beer, orange juice, water, lemon and lime. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 hours, or until it naps the back of a spoon. Strain the mixture and refrigerate. Yield: 6 qts

P.S.  A simple mixture of one part Worcestershire Sauce, three parts butter and garlic salt to taste makes a wonderful baste for any steak.

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