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sandystrachan's avatar

What could have made my red sauce so watery ?

Asked by sandystrachan (4387points) June 18th, 2009

In a pan i fried onions,leek and garlic . I then added tinned tomato , sieved tomato and tomato puree. While this was cooking i fried the mince and also had tomato in the oven roasting. I drained the mince and fried again on extra hot pan, drained any juice left in the pan. Added it to the pan with the sauce and added the tomato from the oven and stirred , left cooking for 30 – 50 minutes and served with my rice ( this was well drained and even fried to cook any water i missed ) Yet while in the pan it looked perfect but after it going to the plate about 2 Table spoons of water/tomato brine was on each plate . Note i dont use oil and drained everything that needed drained . This also happens for my chilli con carne sauce .

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15 Answers

autumn43's avatar

Sounds like you might need to add a little tomato paste at some point to thicken the sauce.

Harp's avatar

The substance that holds the water in tomato sauce in suspension is a protein called pectin. It acts like a gelling agent when heated and binds up much of the water. If tomatoes are crushed and exposed to air before heating, an enzyme within the tomatoes is activated that destroys the pectin so that it won’t be there to bind the water.

The key to not activating the enzyme is to not expose the flesh of the tomato to air any more than necessary prior to cooking, and to heat it as quickly as possible to deactivate the enzyme. Ideally, any fresh tomato included in the sauce would be peeled (by immersing in boiling water), cut in half (along its “equator”) to scoop out the seeds, then gradually chopped directly into the hot pan so it cooks immediately.

In your case, was the “sieved tomato” fresh tomato that had been pushed through a sieve? Or was there any other form of fresh tomato that had been crushed or chopped prior to cooking?

sandystrachan's avatar

@autumn43 Tomato paste is puree

sandystrachan's avatar

The sieved tomatoes were store bought pre sieved and the other tomatoes were tinned. all apart from the vine tomatoes i roasted in the oven

Darwin's avatar

Why are you adding so many different sorts of tomato? I generally use diced tomato for the texture and tomato paste/puree for thickness. You can also simply skip the diced tomato and use just the paste.

Also, true chile con carne, at least here in Texas, doesn’t have tomato in it at all. It is thickened with a bit of finely ground corn flour otherwise used in making tortillas.

sandystrachan's avatar

I am not making true chilli con carne i am making my family version , also for the lots of different tomatoes i do it for the different textures and flavours .

Harp's avatar

You can always cheat and add a couple of tablespoons of flour while cooking the onion and leek. The starch will help the pectin bind the water.

Darwin's avatar

Also, are you using sauce tomatoes such as Roma, or are you using salad tomatoes? The latter contain a lot more water.

sandystrachan's avatar

I prefer not to use flour as a thickening agent as i dont like what it does to things .
These were tomatoes labeled as perfect for these types of sauce and cooking.

autumn43's avatar

@sandystrachan – here’s a link about puree vs. paste – they really are a bit different.

http://www.cookthink.com/reference/57/Tomato_paste_vs_tomato_pur%C3%A9e_vs_tomato_sauce

Les's avatar

@autumn: In the UK, what they call puree is what we in the US call paste.

Les's avatar

@sandystrachan
The advice harp gave was good. I’ll only add, maybe try leaving out one of the styles of tomato you use. I’d leave out the roasted tomatoes. Keep everything else the same: tinned tomatoes (you may want to strain these), puree and mince (drained, like you did). If you add the roasted tomatoes, there will be a lot more liquid in the sauce.

I just noticed you cooked onion at the beginning. Did you notice if there was a large amount of water when you did that?

sandystrachan's avatar

@Les No fluid from onions if there was any present it had dried in the pan as it was extremely hot .

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

Was it water? Water can make stuff watery.

sandystrachan's avatar

Alas @jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities it was not water of this i am certain .

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