Worcestershire Powder: The Indian/British/Texan Condiment

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The Worcestershire name refers to the English town in which Worcestershire sauce was first made and sold commercially. The common (but disputed) story behind the origin of this popular condiment is that it originated in India, where a governor of Bengal returned home to England and brought with him a highly spiced Indian sauce. He commissioned two chemists named John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins to replicate it.

The legend states that the two men were unhappy with the early results due to the strong smell. They left the first batch of their experiment in a cellar and a few years later, they happened upon it again. They found that the years of aging had tamed the smell and mellowed the flavors to make it a delicious sauce.

Soon, they began bottling and selling the sauce without advertising it. It was not long after that Worcestershire sauce became one of the most popular ingredients in Europe. An American entrepreneur named John Duncan would order a small amount of the Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce in 1839 and was importing large shipments into the US to meet the demand shortly thereafter. At that point in the nation’s history, Worcestershire sauce was the only commercially bottled condiment in the country.

Worcestershire powder is based on Worcestershire sauce; in fact, it is often described simply as the dehydrated version of Worcestershire sauce. Worcestershire powder was invented by David Wade, an award-winning chef and columnist from the town of Tyler in Texas. Viewed as a celebrity chef in his home state, Worcestershire powder is considered his legacy.

Worcestershire powder flavor profile

Worcestershire sauce has a relatively long list of ingredients that may vary somewhat from maker to maker. In order to replicate the tangy and earthy flavors from those ingredients, Worcestershire powder blends typically include:

As with the sauce, Worcestershire powder blends do not all have the same ingredients.

Health benefits of Worcestershire powder

Neither Worcestershire sauce nor the powder based on it is believed to be strong sources of nutrients; however, the spices that show up in Worcestershire powder are not without some value. Nutrients found in this spice blend may include:

  • Protein: The soy sauce powder can provide a small amount of protein. It is made from fermented wheat and soy.
  • Minerals: The garlic and onion powders in Worcestershire powder can provide a variety of minerals like iron and potassium; however, the amounts of these nutrients will be relatively small in the typical serving size. Tamarind is also a good source of iron.
  • Antioxidants: The high levels of tartaric acid found in tamarind may make it beneficial for fighting free radicals and protecting the body against serious disease.

The levels of nutrients found in Worcestershire powder are likely to be too low to make it a significant source of any of them or helpful for fighting disease; however, it is a low-calorie food and may provide a benefit by not contributing to obesity.

Common uses of Worcestershire powder

This seasoning can be used in dry form or reconstituted. In its dry form, it can be used as a rub or one of the ingredients in one. It is great for steaks, burgers, and roasts and can also be added to barbecue sauce. In short, you can use it in any dish that would benefit from Worcestershire sauce. You can also use it to make your own Worcestershire sauce by reconstituting it with water and/or vinegar. Some blends include vinegar powder and can be reconstituted with water only, others require vinegar to be added as well.