Inflation has been rather high in Sri Lanka for the last year or two – try 20+% per month. Some months reached 28%, perhaps higher. Yeah, not so much the fun, you know?
Mayonnaise was one such item with skyrocketing prices. A bottle, one bottle, one bottle only, the bottle being 16 oz or around 500 grams, hit in the neighborhood of $8 US. Now, if this was the greatest mayo in the world, I might be able to put up with that on occasion, but when it’s not Hellman’s or Best Food’s mayo (my previous favourite brand), but instead Kraft mayo, usually either Miracle Whip (and with a name like that – Miracle Whip – how can I possibly take it seriously?) or Old-Fashioned (which I detest, to be polite), it becomes a bit meh. Now, ain’t that a convoluted run-on sentence of beauty? 🙂
And, because I’m nothing if not cheap, I figured it was time for me to finally get around to making my own mayonnaise. Control over ingredients, play with flavours, blah blah blah…
I hunted the Internet, finding all sorts of interesting information on making mayonnaise, the real stuff with a raw egg, not the cooked variety that really doesn’t work so well for me.
And, because I love people who get geeky with, well, everything including food, I decided to try out this recipe at Cooking For Engineers. Seriously, how geeky is that? :p And because I tend to start with ingredients I have on hand, I modified the recipe. Yeah. My first batch? Not so good.
Kiddies, whatever you do, don’t make mayonnaise with virgin coconut oil, you know, the stuff that smells like coconut, as your sole oil in a mayonnaise. The coconut taste is too overwhelming. Not a good flavour. Really. And I love coconuts.
But since then, I’ve made dozens of much much better mayonnaise. It progressed to the point where I’m at now, which is that my mayonnaise is so much better than anything I’ve ever had before, including my previous favourite of Best Foods/Hellman’s. I doubt I’ll ever buy another bottle of mayo again. Unless I’m in a serious pinch. It’s just not as good.
But making a great mayonnaise – that’s both a blessing and a curse, ya know? 😀
- 2 large egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons acid
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 – 1/2 teaspoon seasoning
- 1-3 teaspoons sugar (optional)
- 1 cup oil
Method 1: Mix the first ingredients thoroughly, then drizzle in the oil drop by drop while whisking energetically. Whisk until it’s the consistency of mayonnaise.
Method 2: Put all ingredients into a tall, thin bottle, barely wide enough for your stick blender to fit into. Then insert stick blender and whir whir away.
Method 3: Put all ingredients except oil into a tall, thin bottle, barely wide enough for your stick blender to fit into. Insert stick blender and whir whir away. Add a couple tablespoons of oil, whir some more, then a few more tablespoons, then a quarter cup of oil, then the rest, whir whirring each time.
- Acid can be lemon or lime juice or vinegar. Vinegar can be plain white, apple cider, or other flavours. Balsamic with its very strong flavour wouldn’t likely go over well, although there might be dish-specific exceptions. If you want to use balsamic or other strong-flavoured vinegar, my suggestion would be to use 1/2 teaspoon of the strong flavoured vinegar and the rest in a plain vinegar and experiment from there.
- Seasoning can be ground mustard, red chilli pepper powder, white pepper powder, and so on. For that matter, you could also add fresh basil, oregano, rosemary, and so on. Let your imagination be your guide!
- Adding a clove or two of garlic makes for a wonderful aoili. Give it a try!
- Oil is generally best if it’s flavourless. Try canola (that’s what I currently use), corn, safflower. If you want a virgin olive oil flavour, try adding a tablespoon or two at the end so the flavour isn’t too overwhelming.
My first forays into mayonnaise making didn’t exactly turn out the way I wanted it to. First, the original instructions didn’t mention that everything should be at room temperature. Well, they should be. My eggs were just taken out of the fridge, so cold. Mistake number one resulting in a mayo that, while it emulsified just fine, didn’t produce that thick spreadable mayo I love. Instead, it’s pourable. Not the texture I’m going for.
On the other hand, they’re not talking about my room temperature, either, which frequently reaches 35C (about 95 Fahrenheit). They’re talking 20C or 70F. So, while I don’t want my eggs to be cold, I don’t want them to be as warm as my room temperature gets. Instead, I usually add the vinegar and all the seasoning to the narrow bottle I use, add the eggs, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then go crazy with my stick blender. Works out very well.
For that matter, that’s why I go with method 3, my own personalized mayo-making method. My first attempts at mayo were too runny – emulsified, sure, but not solid. After doing some research, it appeared possible that it was heat and humidity combined with not-as-fresh-as-I’d-like eggs. Humidity I can’t do anything about. Temperature I adjusted as mentioned in a previous paragraph. And we switched to buying eggs from the teeny tiny little shop at the end of our road, which also happens to currently sells 10 eggs at Rs.90 as opposed to the eggs at Arpico for Rs.150, which also tend to have dates on them for five to 12 days old. The eggs themselves might be older – that’s just when they were packaged. The eggs from the shop down the road have given me a lot more success.
Lime juice. The lime juice flavour was too strong and too acidic. Had to add a teaspoon or so of sugar to get that to calm down, but with enough sugar, the strong acid of fresh lime juice – or lemon juice, for that matter – makes for a delightful mayonnaise that goes wonderfully with canned fish, pasta salads, potato salads, lettuce salads, and so on..
Garlic and lemon or lime together – wowsa! Fantastic with potato salads, pasta salads, and vegetable salads. Horrid with the canned fish we have here – the garlic just doesn’t go well.
I’ve also very happily used apple cider vinegar, although mine is apple cider FLAVOURED vinegar, so not as much flavour as I’d like.
If you read the comments for that post I linked to at the very beginning – and there are a LOT of comments – it’s mentioned by at least two people (three? four? I can’t count) that they put all ingredients, including oil, into a jar or some other type of vertical vessel, stick a stick blender in, whir whir, and it’s done in 10 to 30 seconds. Mine takes me a sum total of about 30 – 45 seconds, so a tad bit longer, but not by much. Yes, it really is that fast.
Do you make your own mayonnaise? What kind of variations do you do?