They might not be strictly essential, but these versatile flavouring ingredients have the ability to transform your dishes into something extra special.
A crucial ingredient in Moroccan and Middle Eastern cuisine, these salty, tangy pickled lemons add a welcome lift to all kinds of dishes. Simply scoop away the flesh, slice the rind finely and add to grain salads, simple pasta dishes, tagines, stews, and dips.
This fiery hot paste from North Africa is made from chilli, garlic, cumin, coriander and caraway, and adds a welcome boost to vegetables, grains, and meat dishes. Stir into stews, smear over fish or swirl through yoghurt for a spicy marinade.
Anchovies add salty punch and depth of flavour to a variety of dishes. You can buy filleted versions in oil or whole, salt-packed versions that you will need to rinse under cold water and de-bone. Use them as a seasoning in salads, sauces, with lamb and on pizza.
This sweet, molasses-like Indonesian sauce made from soybeans, palm sugar and wheat can be used in all kinds of Asian-inspired dishes. Mix it into noodles and stir-fries, brush it onto meat before barbecuing and add it to marinades.
An essential ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking, this intensely-flavoured molasses is a reduction of pomegranate juice. It is more tangy than sweet, and adds a complex acidity which works beautifully with salad dressings, drizzled over roasted vegetables – anywhere you would normally use balsamic vinegar.
WHITE MISO PASTE
Salty, mildly sweet and packed with savoury umami flavour, this fermented soybean paste is extremely versatile. Keep a sealed container in the fridge and serve it mixed with butter over beans, as part of a glaze for fish, meat or vegetables, as a rub on roast chicken or stirred into salad dressing.
Although less commonly available than other vinegars, some argue that if you have only one vinegar on your shelf, it should be sherry. Rich and nutty with a slight sweetness, use it in vinaigrettes, to deglaze a pan, or to add flavour and complexity to soups, stews and sauces.
Probably the trendiest condiment ever to hit our shelves, and for good reason. This spicy, tangy South East Asian sauce pairs well with so many things – try it on eggs, stirred into Asian noodle soups or mixed with mayonnaise to serve with fried chicken.
This deep red spice is commonly used in Middle Eastern cooking, and has a tart, lemony flavour, which works particularly well with fish. It’s also great sprinkled over roasted vegetables, grilled meat, pizza or Middle Eastern dips prior to serving.