Let th­ese fancy gourmet condi­ments trans­form your meals from blah to wah! Chef Ken Chia of Rice & Fries tells LIM TSIAO HUI how best to use them.

Simply Her (Singapore) - - Cover Reads -

Use gourmet condi­ments in your ev­ery­day cook­ing.

1&2 Flavoured olive oils

The most well-known, and per­haps over­rated, is truf­fle oil, but there are less pricey and more in­ter­est­ing oils flavoured with in­gre­di­ents like roasted gar­lic, pa­prika and mus­tard.

USE THEM: The del­i­cate flavours of th­ese oils are lost when cooked, so they are best driz­zled over pasta, steak, steamed veg­eta­bles, roast pota­toes or French fries.

TRY: Colonna Mus­tard Ex­tra Vir­gin Olive Oil, $28.90, from The Provi­dore; O De Oliva Ex­tra Vir­gin Olive Oil, $32, from Dean & DeLuca

3&4 Dry Rubs

Mix­tures of chopped dried herbs and spices, usu­ally un­salted. USE THEM: Mix with olive oil, salt and pep­per as a mari­nade for grilled chicken, pork chops or roast beef. Let the meat stand for at least 45 min­utes to in­fuse it with flavour. If pan­fry­ing meats mar­i­nated with dry rubs, wipe your pan clean of charred herbs be­fore you cook the next batch of meat. TRY: Dean & DeLuca Herbs for Meat and Herbs for Poul­try, $10.50 each, from Dean & DeLuca

5 Wet Mari­nades

Sweet, savoury or tangy mixes of oil, vine­gar and herbs, th­ese all-in-one mari­nades take just 15 min­utes to in­fuse meat with their flavour.

USE USE THEM: THEM: Wrap the mar­i­nated meat in alu­minium foil to bake. This keeps in the juices and flavours bet­ter than any other cook­ing method.

TRY: TRY: Marks Marks & & Spencer Spencer Ital­ian Ital­ian Le­mon Le­mon + + Gar­lic Gar­lic Mari­nade Mari­nade + + Sauce, Sauce, $6.50, $6.50, from from Marks Marks & & Spencer Spencer

6 Flavoured Salt

Coarse salt is mixed with dried herbs, spices, fruits, dried petals or tea leaves for a light fra­grance and flavour.

USE IT: Grind it right over a steak just be­fore sear­ing the meat. Salts with herbs like rose­mary, thyme and oregano pair well with beef. Use salts with le­mon, lime or chill­ies to sea­son oven­baked or pan-fried fish or prawns be­fore cook­ing.

TRY: Terre Ex­o­tique Di­a­mond Salt with Grilled Spices, $18.90, from The Provi­dore

7&8 Vine­gars

Bal­samic vine­gar is a re­duc­tion of grape juice – good qual­ity ones are usu­ally thick and rich, with a good bal­ance of sweet and sour. Fruity vine­gars are lighter, and more crisp and tart.

USE THEM: Mix bal­samic vine­gar with olive oil to make a sim­ple vinai­grette that can keep chilled for up to a week, for sal­ads. Fruit vine­gars can be added to olive oil and finely chopped le­mon grass, chill­ies, onions, co­rian­der and lime leaves to make a Thai seafood or salad dress­ing.

TRY: Su­dachi Lime Rice Vine­gar, $25.50, from Dean & DeLuca; Tartu­flanghe Bal­samic Vine­gar from Mo­dena with Black Truf­fle Juice, $42.90, from The Provi­dore

9 Cook­ing sauces

In­stant condi­ments to trans­form your dish – no need to chop and mix in­gre­di­ents!

USE THEM: Mar­i­nate your meat with just salt and pep­per be­fore pan-fry­ing or bak­ing. Warm up the sauce sep­a­rately and serve in on the side. You can add but­ter to make the sauce richer, or add fresh cream to thicken it.

TRY: Marks & Spencer A Ter­ri­bly Clever Shal­lot, Thyme & Pars­ley Sauce Base for Chicken, $6.90, from Marks & Spencer

10 Jams

Not just for brekkie, no. Think onion, ap­ple or chilli jams that add oomph to oth­er­wise av­er­age mains.

USE THEM: Great as meat or seafood dips, salad dress­ing, or as a spread over toasted bread or in a burger. Pair ap­ple jam with roast duck, onion jam with grilled pork, and chilli jam with grilled chicken or seafood. Or dice a steamed chicken fil­let, duck meat or boiled prawns, chop up some greens, and mix them with the jam to make a sand­wich fill­ing.

TRY: The Provi­dore Chilli Jam, $14.90, from The Provi­dore

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