Better Homes & Gardens - - Food Breakfast -

When Aye­sha was de­vel­op­ing the menu for her restau­rant, In­ter­na­tional Smoke, her part­ner, chef Michael Mina, shared a valu­able les­son about build­ing fla­vor. “He says most sa­vory dishes have five nec­es­sary com­po­nents that help to max­i­mize fla­vor: salt, fat, spice, sweet, and acid. My best meals in­cor­po­rate some­thing from each group.”

SALT It car­ries the im­por­tant load of in­ten­si­fy­ing sweet­ness and coun­ter­act­ing bit­ter­ness. Some, like French sea salt and Mal­don salt, also add tex­ture.

FAT Olive oil and/or but­ter help foods lock in the other fla­vors you add to them. Aye­sha sautés rice in but­ter and olive oil be­fore sim­mer­ing to add a rich, toasty note to the rice.

SPICE Aye­sha goes for sea­son­ings like cumin and chili pow­der for max­i­mum im­pact. Fresh gin­ger mar­ries well with them.

SWEET Brown sugar is a se­cret weapon. It mel­lows spices and cuts acid­ity. (Honey also works.)

ACID Cit­rus cre­ates a con­trast to earthy spices like pa­prika and chili pow­der. Food can taste flat with­out a burst of acid­ity from cit­rus zest or juice.

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