The Chef's Food Art: What Makes a Coulis Extra Special?

Did you ever wonder what’s the syrup-like garnish poured on top of the dish to make it more attractive? From appetizers to desserts, this secret plate decoration weapon of chefs has been present to all dishes, especially in fine dining restaurant settings.

Be it in a form of a fruit or a vegetable, coulis, even on its least amount, adds beauty to the overall appearance of the dish itself.

So, to have further information on what this secret is all about, here are the things you need to know more about a coulis.


What Is A Coulis?

What Is A Coulis?

Correctly pronounced as [koo-lee], it is a puree of a creamy blended paste made out of fruits or vegetables. Some creative chefs, on the other hand, strain or dilute preserved fruits or jams with a simple syrup or water.

In addition, coulis could also be made extra sweet with some sugar. Spices and acids such as a citrus juice could also be used as a seasoning. A product of the chef’s creative mind, coulis is the restaurant’s secret art on making the plates more attractive to its customers. It does not just add flavor, but it also adds an astonishing elegance.

However, as a general cooking rule, too much and too less is not good for the dish. When people tend to add or diminish an ingredient’s quantity with the belief that it would taste better, the results became the opposite. Accuracy is the key. Too many ingredients might make your coulis’s flavor and appearance muddy and unattractive, respectively.

What we aim here is to make the dish mouthwatering in just a glimpse. At first glance, would you consider eating a seared scallop poured with a muddy-like puree? Of course, not.

Some examples of coulis are raspberry, roasted red pepper, strawberry, and tomato.

How Did It Start?

The term was originally derived from a French word “couler” which means to flow or to strain. In contrary to how it is defined today, coulis was not initially regarded as a puree, but a strained juice from a cooked meat.

As time goes, it was changed into a thick consistency soup from pureed fish or meat. However, this type became not so popular so it then evolved into shellfish soups. Lastly today, ‘cullis’ is referred as a puree or a strained gravy or broth usually used either as a condiment or a food garnish.

What Are Its Uses?

There are a lot of creative ways on which you can use a coulis. Here are some of it:

1. Flavor Additive

Most of the time, it is used as a complementary flavor for vegetables and meat dishes. The blended tastes of the coulis and the main dish itself make the taste buds crave some more.

2. Plate Decoration

Yes, do not underestimate the power of the coulis to attract customers within a glance because it really can. Be it on a form of red dots, circles, pools, and swirls, coulis adds 20% of the dish’s overall appearance impact. It stimulates and unleashes the chef’s creative juices when it comes to food preparation.

3. Soup Garnish

When it comes to soups and sauces, coulis never fails to make a dull and bland-looking soup interesting.

4. Toppings

Fruit coulis like strawberries and cherries are usually used as dessert toppings. The fruits are meticulously sieved using a chinois strainer resulting to the smooth and rich appearance of a coulis. This coned-shape type of strainer is exclusive for soups and purees due to its fine mesh.

How To Make A Coulis?

Making a coulis is quite easy because it is just a matter of mixing and straining ingredients. But, you just really need to exert some physical effort. With just at least 15 minutes, you’ll be able to make one on your own!

Here are the steps on how to make these three common coulis recipes that you might like:

Strawberry Coulis

Yield: 1 cup.

  • 1 cup strawberries, quartered.
  • 1/8 cup water.
  • 1 1/2 tbsps sugar.
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice.


  1. Mix all ingredients in a blender until very smooth.
  2. Pour it on a chinois strainer to remove the seeds.
  3. Refrigerate.

Tomato Coulis

Yield: 2 cups.

  • 2 tomatoes, quartered.
  • 2 sun-dried tomatoes, strained.
  • 1/2 garlic clove.
  • 1 1/5 tbsp virgin olive oil.
  • 2 ½ basil leaves.
  • Pinch of red pepper.
  • Kosher salt.
  • Ground black pepper.


  1. Mix all the ingredients except salt and black pepper in a blender.
  2. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper.
  3. Refrigerate.
  4. Serve with green vegetables.

Mango Coulis

Yield: 1 ½ cup.

  • 1 medium-sized mango, very ripe.
  • 1/2 tsp lime juice.
  • 1 tsp orange juice.


  1. Cut the mango into halves then create a cross-score like a tic-tac-toe pattern.
  2. Turn the cuts inside out and place the mango cubes in a blender.
  3. Combine the cubes and the lime and orange juices until smooth.
  4. Strain to remove the fibers.
  5. Boil quickly the strained puree. Just for about 2 minutes.
    Tip: You can add more juices depending on your taste.
  6. Refrigerate.

In conclusion, dishes would become dull and ordinary without a little addition of design. With coulis, cooking becomes an art.

We hope you have learned a lot! As a little favor, we would like to hear it from you. Please leave a comment of what you think of the article and might be kind of giving more of your coulis recipe ideas. Thank you and have fun cooking!