Cooking is an art which requires creativity. For you to deliver a perfect meal, you need to play around with different ingredients and flavors. When it comes to the steaks, chicken or any other meat browning, there’s nothing that does that work more perfectly than a kitchen bouquet.
WHAT IS KITCHEN BOUQUET?
As earlier discussed, it is the condiment that is used for browning your meats. It was invented back in 1873 and has grown strong over the years. Sometimes people ask ‘do you really need to buy a condiment just because it browns your meats’?
Ask yourself ‘why is it still in existence 145 years after its invention?’
Although famously known for its browning feature, it’s also a good flavoring agent that works best for your marinades and barbecues. Probably, that is the reason why it has existed for ages even after many other condiments were founded and didn’t survive.
While we love the kitchen bouquet it may not always be in your kitchen. This article aims at identifying the best substitutes for your kitchen bouquet.
THE SUBSTITUTES TO KITCHEN BOUQUET
I always encourage people to stock their kitchen with the desired sauces so that they don’t have to substitute. However, when you are caught in a situation where you need the sauce immediately and can’t find it, below are the substitute choices.
I don’t know of another close substitute than this one. It was invented in 1935 and has found its way to many homes and restaurants just like the kitchen bouquet. This is good for home cooks who aren’t keen on changing the flavor of the dish.
If you intend to cook turkey, pork or beef, this is your best substitute. It carries along the caramelized characteristic like your kitchen bouquet and ability to thicken your sauces. Its browning component is quite like the kitchen bouquet.
Moreover, it’s made using natural ingredients which make it a good substitute as it will have minimal flavors. The name is misleading as you may think that it’s only suitable for gravies. But, like the kitchen bouquet, you will use it as a browning agent for your roasts or grills.
I love the texture it gives to my meats.
This is another great substitute especially if your major concern is browning. It’s also a plant-based sauce that acquires its coloring from the wheat and caramel. It will not only brown your sauces, soups and salads but also add flavor and taste.
Note that, this sauce, unlike the kitchen bouquet, is rich in salt and sodium which means it has a great influence to your meals. Most people are reluctant to use it as a substitute because of the salty flavor. However, if you have a meal that requires the saltiness plus color, consider this.
I see most people using it for barbecues and steaks. Its salty and rich flavor is a great influence to the meats. Always use a teaspoon or less if you are going for the substitution to avoid over salting your dish. Another notable downside to this is that it won’t work as your thickening agent.
The sauce is generally thin while the kitchen bouquet is thick and will thicken your sauces and gravies. It will work like soy sauce too on literary everything. Remember, if you have gluten allergens, you may want to stay away from this.
This is a sauce that has stood the test of time. It further has a prestigious origin having been discovered by Lord Marcus Sandys. It was finished by two chemists called Mr. Lea and Mr Perrins. No wonder, the sauce was originally most preferred by the American and English royal families.
The recipe of formation is a secret that the industry has made sure no one cracked. But, today, most other manufacturers have emulated it and make it different. This has made it hard for the common man to know the difference.
Some of the common ingredients used for its formation include garlic, vinegar, chilis, tamarind, molasses, shallots and sugar. It will work as your substitute because of its brown rich color aspect.
Beware though because the sauce is full of flavors which may alter the original flavour of your dish.
Having tamarind as a major ingredient makes it sour and it will work best for your salads. It has a lower sodium content which makes it a good choice to substitute your kitchen bouquet. Note that, its dilute so it won’t work as a thickening agent.
Use it sparingly or make it a dipping sauce to your roasts.
This is another product that you can’t resist when looking for a kitchen bouquet substitute. Not only has it gained popularity among users but it was awarded a non-GMO certificate. Which means it’s produced using all the natural ingredients like the kitchen bouquet.
It’s an all-purpose seasoning that is a derivative of soybeans. It has a flavor that will suit most Asian dishes. However, the saltiness makes it a little different from the kitchen bouquet. It’s also gluten-free which makes it a high-quality product without artificial chemicals.
It will brown your meats as you so wish but also enhance the flavors. You can also use it for your stir-fries and salads. Unless you are allergic to soybeans, use it to treat your arthritis or inflammation problem.
However, the sauce is thin so it won’t act as your thickening agent. In addition, consider using it sparingly since a lot of it will make your food too salty to eat.
This is made using water and caramel with caramel being responsible for its browning feature. It’s a good substitute for your kitchen bouquet, especially since its gluten-free, soy-free, peanut-free and dairy-free.
It’s made using the plant-based ingredients which aren’t only a healthy choice but also vegan-friendly. It will work best as your thickening and browning agent.
Some people prefer using instant coffee. If you are only reaching for the browning aspect and have some instant coffee in the house use it. However, use it cautiously because instant coffee is rich with the coffee flavor and may alter the taste of your food.
I make this the last option because it has the major features that kitchen bouquet has except its enhanced saltiness. Soy sauce will brown your meats or gravies and sauces. This is especially so for the dark soy sauce.
It will also act as a thickening agent on its own which gives it a plus for the substitute.
With all this said, its good to note that the substitute of choice will depend on the food you are cooking. Some substitutes may work for all kinds of foods but not others.
HOW TO MAKE A HOMEMADE KITCHEN BOUQUET
Since a kitchen bouquet is a browning sauce, why don’t you make your own browning sauce at home to monitor the ingredients you use. This method allows you to thicken or make your sauce thinner as desired.
You need the following:
- ½ cup of brown sugar
- 1 cups of water
- Beef broth base
Take care as you prepare this because it usually spatters. Also, maintain a ratio of 1:2 of the sugar and water. If you intend to increase the amount of sauce, increase the initial ingredients. However, just make enough portion to use for a short while.
- To begin, add the sugar in the saucepan and let it heat at a medium-low heat level. This should take roughly 5-10 minutes and keenly watch for the browning of the sugar.
- Remove the sugar from the heat source and add the water in small bits. Since the sugar may sputter, you need to add the water cautiously. Never add the entire cup of water once.
- Add the beef base to your desired consistency then place it back to the heat source. This time, continue to stir it under the low heat until its nicely mixed.
- Cool the sauce then store in an airtight container.
- While you made a cup of the sauce, you may only use a spoon or two for your meals the rest need proper storage. Consider refrigerating the sauce if you intend to use it within a week.
- If you made a lot more, freezing it is the best option. It’s even better to use ice cube tray, this will help avoid the frequency in thawing and freezing again.
For a healthy alternative for the browning sauce watching the video below
THE GRAVY MASTER VS KITCHEN BOUQUET
Since we already defined what kitchen bouquet is let’s understand what gravy master is.
WHAT’S A GRAVY MASTER
This is a flavor and color enhancer of not only your gravy but also the stews, barbecues and every meal that needs coloring. It’s popularly used for the gravies, marinades, glazes and barbecues. It’s best used for stews and soups.
This one creates a nice flavor for your bloody Mary cocktail. It will also make your microwave roasts develop an awe-striking color. It was invented in 1935 and the ingredients that make it include cane sugar, herbs and spices.
Most people think that gravy master and kitchen bouquet are the same with only a difference in the naming. However, they aren’t. The gravy master is produced using all the natural ingredients.
Aside from the browning and light flavoring aspect that they both share, the gravy master is the best caramelize agent for your veggies, meats and tofu.
As you may have noticed, there’s no big difference between the two. I use them interchangeably though I find gravy master richer in flavor than the kitchen bouquet.
Gravy master substitute
- Kitchen bouquet
This is the best gravy master substitute available. The sauce has been in existence longer than the gravy master. It has almost all the same features as those of the gravy master. It will darken the gravies and thicken the sauce.
The sauce also works best for coloring your roasts and grills. It features minimal to no sodium content and is made using the natural ingredients too. Some people praise it for adding a distinct taste while making the meats appealing.
- McCormick Less Sodium Brown Gravy Mix
This is another one that suits all your sauces and meals that require the brown color. It like the gravy master is made using the herbs and spices. It will work well as your substitute. You only need to mix with water then let it simmer for a while and you are good to go.
It uses natural herbs and less sodium but no artificial ingredients. It offers a lump-free gravy every time which makes your cooking easy.
The other best option is to use the homemade sauce to substitute both the kitchen bouquet and gravy master. It works best as a substitute because of the pure ingredients you use.
Note that, the same substitutes mentioned above will work best for your gravy master.
WHAT IS THE KITCHEN BOUQUET USED FOR?
Now, this is a bottled condiment that instead of using it as a flavoring agent of your cooked food, you use it as an ingredient to cook.
It’s a browning agent: this is its first use. It will add the dark brown color to your barbecue. So, you simply brush it over your meats before you roast, smoke or grill. This will give it a nice look after you finish the roasting process.
It’s a darkening agent: for all your gravies, sauces, soups and marinades this condiment will darken them to a desirable color. Even the food that you cook in a microwave will develop a nice color as opposed to the greyish color.
It can add a little flavor: while a vast majority think it doesn’t add flavors. The truth is that it does. The flavor tastes something close to mild beef or sometimes smoky. It features a combination of herbs spices, veggies and water.
Alcoholic drinks: some companies use it in place of bitters with the aim of adding color and taste to the drink.
Thickening: this condiment works best as a thickener for your sauces and soups. Since it’s a mix of flavor and color it works best for your gravies.
Caramelizing purposes: the condiment will caramelize the outer parts of your meat.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION-IS KITCHEN BOUQUET GLUTEN-FREE?
The ingredients that are used to make the condiment include a vegetable stock which is a mixture of water, carrots, turnips, parsnips, celery, parsley, salt, onions, caramel, sodium benzoate and sulphating agents.
The contents have changed over time so it’s not 100% clear whether it has gluten or not.
However, by 2006, the manufactures began producing a product that has no gluten or wheat. Don’t take my word for it, when buying the product, read the label for assurance. This is vital if you have allergens.
Nevertheless, most of the kitchen bouquet sauces in the market today are gluten-free.
HOW TO USE KITCHEN BOUQUET
If you want to understand this sauce, take time to go to the restaurant and observe the chefs grilling or roasting meat. This sauce is a must-have for your roasts. Its best referred to as the browning and seasoning sauce.
When you finish marinating your meats, you simply brush the sauce over the meat surface. The finished product is a nice shade of brown. Aside from that, it influences the flavor by adding some mild veggie flavor.
It has the same effect for your sauces, gravy and stews. You simply add a few drops to your sauce and cover to let it cook. the end color can’t compare to the normal food color.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST SUBSTITUTE
If you may have noticed, this bouquet is used sparingly. This is because it’s heavy with flavor and deep in color.
- For the substitutes, only chose the items that are made using natural ingredients. Stay away from items that have high sodium content and other artificial ingredients.
- In my opinion, consider gravy master as your substitute because it is heavy with flavors and made using natural ingredients just like kitchen bouquet. Its sodium content is also low.
- Alternatively, go and make your own kitchen bouquet at home because you will have a cheaper and healthier option.
- Remember, whichever substitute you choose should have the rich characteristics of a kitchen bouquet. Heavy with flavor and a rich influential brown color.
YOUR STORAGE HINTS
The kitchen bouquet is a good item since it doesn’t need refrigeration after you open it. You can keep it where you have your flavorings and other food spices.
For most people, the kitchen bouquet is just a browning agent. But to others, it improves the aesthetics of the gravies and meats while seasoning it. It also has a sweet, slightly fruity and a distanced burnt aftertaste.
For all those vegans afraid to use this product should start using it because though its mostly used for meats, the contents that produce it are veggies. While it has various substitutes as listed above, the only one that comes close to it is Gravy master.
They feature an almost 100% similarity.