Mayonnaise - The golden emulsion

by Sanjeev Kapoor

A genuine mayonnaise is what can be described as a soft, spreadable, shimmering yellow coloured, rich emulsion of oil and eggs. In fact, it defies the scientific fact that oil and liquid do not mix! Till some years ago, buying bottled/commercial mayonnaise was not possible. Now it is a different story. I wonder if any one ever makes homemade mayonnaise any more!

Interestingly, mayonnaise was earlier called mahonnaise. It is called what it is now only because a printer replaced the key ‘h’ with key ‘y’ in an early cookbook. Well, a lot of years have gone since that early cookbook was printed but the name has stuck. 

There are many conflicting stories about the origin of mayonnaise. Most authorities believe the first batch of this mixture of egg yolks, oil and seasonings was whipped up in a city on the Spanish Isle of Minorca and centuries down the line, the story of a New York delicatessen owner who made millions manufacturing his Blue Ribbon brand of mayonnaise in large glass jars evolved. 

Homemade mayonnaise is still the best, the most flavourful condiment for chips, fried snacks, for salad dressings, hot dogs, burgers and other sandwich fillings. Use it as a base for other sauces like tartar sauce, thousand island salad dressing or aioli that is garlic flavoured mayonnaise. The only safety point to be observed is that the sauce when ready should be kept refrigerated and that it has a shelf life of only two to three days at the maximum. Raw eggs can be a cause of concern as salmonella breeds on them. The safest, in fact, is the commercial mayonnaise that is packed with acid and preservatives that can actually enhance the shelf life of salads by killing bacteria. 


Mayonnaise not only is a good spread to lavishly pamper bread with, but is also a superior alternative to butter when you make grilled toasts. Instead of butter, brush the sandwiches with mayonnaise before grilling. Umm, quite different! 

Mayonnaise also befriends cool cucumber, crunchy beans, crisp apples, sweet corn and all peppers. On the other hand, soft foods like pasta and bread too! 

Make this: In a large salad bowl, mix blanched macaroni with some blanched French beans, chopped capsicum, chopped onion and boiled corn kernels. Chill until required. Mix in some mayonnaise, season with salt, red chilli flakes and crushed peppercorns. Serve on a bed of shredded lettuce.

One more substantial mix is of boiled kabuli chana with mayonnaise, garlic, onion and red chilli flakes. Build it up further with crumbled boiled yolks of eggs and shredded lettuce. Don’t stop! Add a few bits of beetroot, green capsicum and green olives. Sprinkle salt and freshly crushed black peppercorns and now toss with a wooden spoon. Voila! Best served thoroughly chillies.


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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.