The mystery of the sauce andalouse

I’ve lived most of my life in Andalusia but I’ve never heard before of the sauce andalouse. I learned its existence as soon as I arrived to Brussels, the first time I ordered French Belgian fries. The thing is that they have something called Andalusian sauce than can be found everywhere. Not only in the fries, also as a dressing for salads and meat.

Sauce AndalouseBut if you go to Andalusia and you ask in any bar or restaurant anything with salsa andaluza I bet they’ll look at you like an alien. “¿Qué pollas dices?“, I’m afraid they’ll politely answer to your innocent question.

Life is made of this kind of enigmatic challenges, so I have conducted a serious investigation on the topic and the mystery is no longer a mystery. Ladies, gentlemen, it’s my honor to introduce you the recipe of the sauce andalouse:

Ingrédients

  • 1 tasse de mayonnaise.
  • 3 c. à soupe de pâte de tomate.
  • 2 c. à soupe d’oignons.
  • 1 c. à soupe de jus de citron.
  • piment vert ou rouge.

Préparation

  1. Mélanger avec conviction tous les ingrédients.
  2. Mettre au réfrigérateur.

OK, this was easy. Now we know the how, but what about the why?

I have no clue.

I have to admit that after a very dedicated research (approx 10 min in Google) I haven’t found any explication of its origin. All I’ve got is that something cooked à l’andalouse is “a French term describing dishes using tomatoes, pimientos and sometimes rice pilaf or sausage” and, in particular, the Andalusian sauce “refers to mayonnaise mixed with tomato puree and pimiento”. So, all I got is that it seems to have a French origin.

My theory is that the word andalouse actually refers to Al-Andalus, the Arabic name given to the parts of the Iberian Peninsula ruled by Muslims before the Reconquista. As you know, part of these territories became later the current Andalusia. Therefore, Al-Andalus influenced people in closer regions who eventually emigrated to France.

This could have happened for example with Tunisia, a former French protectorate with large Al-Andalus influence. But it can be even simpler. We know that the mayonnaise (necessary ingredient for the Andalusian sauce) comes from Mahón (in Spain), under French control at the end of the XVIII century when they defeated the British troops (who conquered Minorca during the war of the Spanish succession). Mayonnaise from eastern Spain got influenced from the western Al-Andalus heritage and then brought to France. And from France, to Belgium. Voilà.

Or I may be totally wrong, is there anyone in the room with better intel?

Well, with this deep reflection I’d like to close the 2007 blog edition. I wish you all a really fruitful new orbit around the sun! See you soon.

11 thoughts on “The mystery of the sauce andalouse

  1. Don’t try to understand too much… I am still trying to figure out why do French think that paella comes with “chorizo”. All frozen “paella” that you can buy at French supermarkets come with “chorizo”. 3 years ago and still wondering….

  2. Muy bueno, yo habia pensado lo mismo que tu, exactamente lo mismo. Pero no me vuelve loca, prefiero el gazpacho andaluz..

  3. I fell in love with this sauce when I studied in France for 3 months, in Reims. All over les frieteries you could find sauce andalouse. I was verry dissapointed when I came back home and I saw the fries have no andalouse sauce. Finally now, when remembered, I found your post. Really nice lesson! Keep up the good work!

  4. Hi guys, maybe I can help you out with your question. I’m from Belgium, and the thing is we have like 30-40 different types of mayonnaise based sauce. Their name has nothing to do with their origins, they are juste named after a region or a country or a character with wich they have some kind of resemblance. For example, the “Brasil” sauce is named this way because it contains pinneaple and have a rich, orange colour that makes you a little bit think of Brasil. That’s why the Andalouse, with it’s dark-orange colour and spicy taste makes us think a little bit of Andalusia. Same goes for the American sauce, the Samourai sauce, the Turkish etc…all of wich have been invented in Belgium.

    Hope that was helpfull

    • This is really interesting as I have a Belgian student I know and she was looking for samourai and andalouse and I didn’t have a clue what they were! You seem to have very nice mayonnaise based sauces. Im just learning about these! could I make these sauces for her? Im not bad at cooking and can make sambal (which looks similar to pili pili which I had never heard of again! her roots are morocan. I would love to make some of these as a surprise for her but am worried I wouldn’t get the correct taste. she uses the dl andlouse back home:)

  5. Why don’t you ask the inventor of the ANDALOUSE sauce: LA WILLIAM SA.
    LA WILLIAM n.v.
    Blauwenhoek 41
    1840 Londerzeel
    Belgium
    Tel. +32 (0)52 30 96 70
    Fax +32 (0)52 30 99 51
    info@lawilliam.be

    A lot of bad-copy but only the original is
    http://www.lawilliam.be/en/products/andalouse

    It is said that it came from the gaspacho andaluz and especially the color and a lot of vegetables..
    And there are a lot more stuff into the sauce, like caper, anchovy, chervil, tamarin, streacle, soy sauce…
    But thanks to try to discover the recipe.
    It is a good star.

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