Tomato Sauce Vs. Tomato Paste; Know The Difference
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Tomatoes are one of the most widely used ingredients in cooking around the world; whether it is closer to home in shorba, gravies and sabzis or even for pasta sauces, gazpacho or a Caprese salad, tomatoes are available around the year but they are the freshest during the spring-summer season of the year, in India. Dicing, peeling, chopped, pureeing or even raw tomatoes find themselves in a varied number of recipes where their tart-sweet flavour, enhances and gives body to a dish. Cutting to the chase, how to tell apart a jar of tomato sauce from tomato paste? Here's how:

Tomato Sauce

The concentrated liquid derived by pulverising tomatoes that are cooked by simmering it with garlic, spices and vinegar, on rare occasions, tomato sauce has a thinner consistency compared to tomato paste. It also has a bright red colour and is not as chunky as most other tomato products. Tomato sauce works as a great liquid base to add to soups, stews, curries, as well as other tomato-based sauces.

Depending on the recipe it is being used for, tomato sauce can also be made with a few variations that include a mix and match of spices and aromatics, that change depending on the cuisine the sauce is being used for. For example, if you want to use tomato sauce for a butter chicken recipe, you will also taste the whole spices and sweetness from the onions in the final dish whereas tomato sauce used for pasta will be punctuated with flavours like oregano, black pepper and garlic. The consistency of tomato sauce is comparable to a standard gravy and it has a mellow flavour which can be built upon, using other ingredients.

Image Credits: Tasted Recipes

Tomato Paste

A super thick and dark red tomato product, tomato paste has a concentrated tomato flavour as a result of hours of slow-cooking that go into producing it. Unlike tomato sauce which is easily available in jars or cans, tomato paste cannot be poured due to its consistency and is usually available in tubes similar to toothpaste. Tomato paste also has a potent tomato flavour and hence, must be used in smaller quantities compared to tomato sauce.

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Tomato paste comes in handy when you need a tangy punch of tomato flavour in a recipe, without the excessive moisture that a tomato sauce would otherwise bring to it. Using tomato paste to make ketchup, vodka sauce for pasta and even add some to any sauces, helps accentuate the tomato element in a recipe. While tomato sauce is made by simply pureeing tomatoes, tomato paste is made by cooking them down and straining it a couple of times to get a smooth, thick paste, with the least amount of moisture.