Monday, 15 June 2020

Covid-19 MCO : Day #90 (Mummy's Spaghetti Sauce)

There is only one spaghetti sauce that I like, my Mum's. When I was growing up, one of my Mum's special treats is  her fabulous spaghetti. 

When spaghetti was on the menu, it was a meal that my brothers and I looked forwards to. To us, it was so special and so delicious. One helping was not enough. 

Fast forward many years later, I was at The Hilton and when I saw Spaghetti Bolognese on the menu, I ordered it immediately. No second thoughts. Memories of my Mum's fabulous spaghetti came to mind. Gosh I missed it so much!

But when the Spaghetti Bolognese was served, I'm afraid I was so disappointed. The taste was just flat and what made it worse was the sprinkling of parmesan cheese which made me wrinkle my nose.

I have had a few more pastas after that (and enjoyed none) and my conclusion is my Mum's recipe is not Italian wahahaha!! Of course lah. My Mum has been to Italy and she told me that over there their spaghetti "bo ho chiak lah" hah...hah...hah...

So you see, she modified the recipe and made it her own. No Italian herbs, no canned tomatoes and no cheese. Very simple only - minced beef, onions, garlic, fresh tomatoes, salt and lots of pepper. Besides, there were two secret ingredients - oyster sauce and tomato ketchup.

It's about time that I cooked her version of spaghetti sauce and relive the joy of eating Mummy's spaghetti. Yeah, a big pot, all to myself.

For that, my beautiful sendiri beli punya Christmas present was taken out of hibernation. 

Tu dia!

So dusty! hah..hah...

I used roughly 400g of minced beef to 1kg of fresh tomatoes. That seems like a whole lot of tomatoes but you do need that amount to get all the tomatoey goodness and there is no need to add water as you will only use the natural juices from the tomatoes. I dislike canned tomatoes because I cannot stand the taste and the smell.

The amount of onions I used is approximately the same weight as the minced beef - 400g. More onions, more flavor! 

First up, brown the beef in some olive oil.

I did it on two batches as my Dutch oven is quite small.

Then remove the beef and set aside.

Add some more oil into the pan and sautee the onions until wilted.

Add minced garlic and saute some more.

Once the onions are soft and aromatic, return the beef to the pan and add the chopped tomatoes.

You can add some water if you like but I did not. I just kept stirring and added some salt. The tomatoes will release lots of juices.

Add the sauces. I also added a small can of tomato paste (100g) to amp up the flavors.

See? The juices are starting to come out.

Lots of juices are released and at this point lower the heat and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Then for the next 3o minutes, leave a gap between the lid and the pot for excess liquids to evaporate .

For the final 30 minutes, I simmered the sauce uncovered until nice and thick. Adjust for seasoning.

As for the spaghetti, after they are cooked and drained, my Mum likes to toss them with sauteed onions first.

That way the onion oil coats every strand of the spaghetti and prevents them from sticking together (so that you can prep the spaghetti ahead of time) and the onion oil gives extra flavors.

After that you can toss the oniony spaghetti into the yummylicious sauce and enjoy! I love to add loads of freshly cracked pepper for extra aroma and taste.

I am having this spaghetti again tonight for dinner. It never gets old.

This recipe may not be to everyone's taste especially if you are already accustomed to the Italian version. But to me, this is the only pasta sauce that I enjoy. So who cares?

Mummy Spaghetti Sauce 
Recipe source : PH's Mother!

Ingredients :
- 400g minced beef
- 400g big onions, sliced
- 1kg tomatoes, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 10 tbsp tomato ketchup
- 4 tbsp oyster sauce
- 100g tomato puree 
- salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- olive oil or any vegetable oil

Method :
1. Heat oil in a pot and brown the minced beef. Remove and set aside.
2. Add some more oil to the same pot and saute the sliced onions until translucent and wilted.
3. Add minced garlic and continue to saute until the onions are very soft and aromatic.
4. Return the minced beef to the pot and add chopped tomatoes.
5. Season with some salt and stir the ingredients.
6. Add tomato ketchup, oyster sauce and tomato puree.
7. Keep stirring until tomatoes release lots of juices.
8. Lower the heat and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Stir every now and then to prevent burning at the bottom of the pot.
9. For the next 30 minutes leave a gap between the pot and the lid to allow excess liquids to evaporate. Stir every now and then.
10. For the last 30 minutes, simmer uncovered until the sauce is thick. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
11. Serve with any pasta of your choice.


  1. Wow! I so so wish I could taste your mother's wonderful beef Bolognese pasta that you made here. Must be full of onion and beef taste! You simmer from so much sauce to dry so must be very flavourful. Yum yum yum! How many servings in your big lovely pot?

    1. I bet your hubby could make this sauce since he can cook. It makes 4 servings.

    2. I am sure he can but I wouldn't want him to cook for him. If I am too lazy to cook for myself then serves me right for not being able to eat it. He cooks food that he likes and I just eat some of his food.

  2. Hmmm....I see the tomato based sauce is made from scratch. I did not ask for the recipe coz I thought it'd be from a jar...wahahahaha! :D Looks like your secret ingredient of oyster sauce is very helpful in amping up the flavours of this meat sauce. I can see why it works...the oyster sauce brings saltiness while the ketchup brings sweetness to the dish (I've always wondered if a tomato sauce made with our local tomatoes will be too acidic and now I have my answer...the trick is to add ketchup to balance thank you for sharing that tip). Your mom may not be an Italian nona but she's certainly a local nona...hihihi! ;)

    Wow, this incredible sauce needs 1 1/2 hours of work and patience to get done. I suppose anything made-from-scratch needs time to work its magic (if you had not shown photos of the sauce with the amount of released water, I probably would have panicked when I make it, not knowing you need to cook it down from that). I'd finish with lots of freshly cracked pepper too...and probably some fresh parsley. I'm game to try this recipe the next time I have a pot luck. May I know how much spaghetti you used for this amount of sauce (aka how many servings can this make?). And the most important question...what brand of ketchup do you use? (Maggi?) This is vital as it provides the right sweetness to the pasta sauce.

    1. hah..hah.. I don't like the sauce from jars or cans but I used to tolerate it. You need long simmering to bring out the flavors and to concentrate the sauce. This amount I made could fill 4 containers which I eat for dinner. Each portion is just nice for me, though I could eat more (as usual!) I must have used perhaps 3/4 packet of spaghetti, just agak-agak lah. I use only Maggi tomato ketchup and I feel it is the best. You could omit the tomato paste. I put it just because I had a small can that was sitting in the pantry but it does deepen the red color.

  3. Yes, lots of fresh tomatoes - like Payung's freshly-made bolognese sauce, so good. They did not add tomato puree though so not so red...and no, no, no ketchup! Of course, for everyone, mum's is the best!

    1. Mum's is always the best since it is what we are used to since young. Which is why we might not like other people's mum's cooking hee..hee..

  4. My mum doesnt cook spaghetti. Not so into those Western cuisine. Your mum's spaghetti looked good and comforting.

    1. Yes, some people are not really into western food and find it not tasty at all. LOL!

  5. wah, ur mum is the master chef of non-Italian spaghetti! she can perfected it to Asian taste and that's how I like it with lotsa minced beef and thick tomato juices. Thinking of it makes me drool!!

    1. Ya lah, must adjust to our taste. If Italian eat this, they will pengsan. LOL!

  6. I finally got to see your mom's version of bolognese spaghetti sauce when i posted abt my spaghetti. Mom's homemade food will always be the best!

    1. Yup! Mom's is always the best no matter what!

  7. Wow! looks amazing.... I love the thickness of it and the rich red colour... I personally do like parmesan cheese so will be adding that in. But i will be giving this a try for sure. Thanks PH :)

    1. You are welcome! Hope that you like this version as much as I do.

  8. It's Sam favourite sauce to go with pasta~ Never get bored, really~~~