The difference between a ‘meh’ weeknight dinner and a memorable one? a kitchen stocked with powerhouse ingredients
The ground form of this inflammation-reducing rhizome has been used as a seasoning, herbal remedy and fabric dye for millennia and is now in vogue with millennials. It’s sweet, warming and slightly bitter. Add it to the aromatics when making curries, vegetable soups and rice pilafs.
Though bitter if eaten on its own, tahini bolsters all manner of things with richness and heft. It’s key for hummus, genius in a banana smoothie and, oh, have you tried whisking it into a dressing with olive oil, lemon juice and salt, and spooning it over lamb chops?
These sprinkles are supercharged with seaweed, fish flakes, sugar, salt and sesame. Let it rain on fried rice, grain bowls or crispy-skinned salmon fillets.
This spice blend tracks back to many Middle Eastern countries and varies by region. It will likely include thyme, sumac and sesame seeds. Mix into olive oil and brush onto a roasting chicken; crush it over a yoghurtbased dip; or add to shortbread dough.
5 SAMBAL OELEK
Stir a spoonful of this hot, tangy and salty condiment into mayo to make a spicy-creamy sauce. Dab a little on the edge of your grain bowl or set it out with rice and grilled pork chops. And whenever you ‘put an egg on it’, put sambal on it too.
6 NUTRITIONAL YEAST
Vegans love this magic dust because it’s a great dairy-free Parmesan stand-in. That may be where nutritional yeast got its flower-power reputation, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Its umami-ness makes popcorn more addictive and roasted veg more complex.
7 COCONUT OIL
We like the refined version of this rich oil for sautéing, as it has a higher smoke point; for more coconutty flavour, go with virgin.
Yes, it’s fundamental for miso soup, but it also gives instant depth to sauces and marinades. Red is more robust than yellow or white.
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