Any tasty dish's secret is the recipe. It’s not uncommon to get a “this is good” moment from tasting something you've made differently from how you are used to making it. You discover that one random item you used on a whim was the game changer that turned you into a pro cook.
You can't help but fall in love with that ingredient and are also eager to share your findings with others. So, someone asked: What ingredient have you recently fallen in love with? And people were generous enough to share their culinary discoveries.
1. The Magic of Roasted Poblanos!
Even though one user had tried them in salsas and queso, which were both great. Having extra roasted poblanos alongside a Tex Mex chicken bowl, with lime crema, grilled chicken, rice, and a bunch of vegs, gave a wow effect with a fantastic flavor.
2. Pickled Red Onion
A foodie admits that ever since they discovered the unrestrained joy that is the flavor of pickled red onion, they’ve put them literally on everything. It's been 20+ years since they made their first batch, but they confess it's impossible to get enough.
A second person admits their obsession with pickled red onions. They recently used it for the first time and described them as having a delicious taste with no downside.
3. Pickling Chiles
Another’s favorite is pickling chiles with onions to make the onions spicy. They say Fresno or Serranos chiles are their go-to's, and they love to make them all of the time now for their salads.
Pickling Fresno is a blend of spicy and sweet. They enhance the color and flavor of burgers and go well with any fatty dish, such as fried chicken or sausage. If you prefer a milder pickle, remove the seeds from the chilies before slicing them.
4. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
“I don't know how it works or what it tastes like. But every time I use it in my cooking, it just feels whole, refined, and complete,” one says, professing her love for the flavor enhancer. Others note that MSG moves as fast as salt in their kitchen. They recommend using it the way you’d do salt and cutting down on salt.
5. White Pepper
One fan of white pepper praises the spice for leaving a warm and pleasant aftertaste. They recognize that this is one method of achieving a truly American flavor in cooking. Something they didn't believe in until they tried it.
In case you were wondering, white pepper comes from the same berry as black pepper; the only difference is that white pepper has been fermented and has had the skin scraped off. This results in a notably different flavor. It can be whole or ground.
A third person clarifies that, like everything else, the whole is better. Some other people recommend that white pepper goes well with seafood. Especially for white, flaky fish, they prefer white pepper or a mix of white and black pepper.
6. Fresh Cracked Pepper
What's the difference between cracked peppers and ground peppers? Well, a couple of people noted that there certainly is a taste difference beyond the texture difference. They never realized that by crushing pepper into foods to the finest grind possible for their entire lives, they used it the wrong way.
One day, they used cut peppercorns on a steak and noticed a startling difference in flavor. They said it tasted like intensely savory grilled meat, not just peppery heat. A burger enthusiast added that a liberal amount of fresh cracked pepper (coarse) is especially good when seasoning burgers. It makes all the difference to me.
7. Black Vinegar
Initially turned off by its distinctive fragrance and intimidating color, one admits black vinegar is heavenly. They elaborate that it does offer such a fruity, deep, warm richness to foods. “I LOVE the intensity,” they remarked.
Another shared that for classic stir fry, their seasoning includes dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, sugar sprinkles, black vinegar, garlic, and MSG. Black vinegar and soy sauce mix is a popular and easy Asian meat marinade that can also be a dipping sauce for dumplings.
8. Italian Bouillon Cubes
A foodie specifically mentioned Anchovy and Porcini bouillon cubes describing them as a bit fancier than the standard US chicken cubes. Their best use case is adding them to tomato sauces and braised mushroom dishes instead of salt.
According to them, they are a great source of concentrated umami/savory flavor without adding an Asian-style flavor/ingredient.
9. Two-in-One Baking Secret
For baking, a user highly recommends Finnish/Swedish pulla bread. “Or if you're curious,” they say, “you get about 80% of the way there toasting some white bread with a sprinkle of whole or coarse ground cardamom seed and butter.”
One source suggests using pandan in desserts like cheesecake, biscuits, and doughnuts with a pandan cream filling. They declare that the flavor of pandan is so fresh and exciting that they can't get enough of it! Another user chimes in, saying they love freshly produced soy milk with a pandan flavoring.
This thread inspired this post.
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