Are you in a meal rut? Do you make the same cycle of meals week after week? Whether you’re tired of eating the same things all the time or your family has started complaining, simply switching out ingredients for something new can really shake things up. So if you need to give your cooking a whole new life, try tossing these tasty things in your grocery cart next time you go food shopping, suggests Genevieve Ko, chef and recipe developer.
1. Ras El Hanout Spice Mix Will Get Your Mouth Watering
This spice blend is so simple to use, but will change an entire meal with just a teaspoon or two. What is it? It’s a delicious blend of coriander, cumin, turmeric, paprika and cardamom. It also contains allspice, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and black pepper. It might sound a little bit strange, but this spice blend is perfect in tacos or to season meat before grilling it. Try it on chicken or fish.
2. You Will Love Chayote Squash
It might sound like a weird ingredient, but you can find chayote squash in many supermarkets and at farmers’ markets. It has a pleasing texture that makes it work in a variety of dishes and a mild flavor that blends well with many other ingredients. Grill chayote squash and mix it into fried rice or stir fry. You might also like it as substitute for meat in tacos, burritos or enchiladas. Yum!
3. Persimmons Pair Wonderfully with Meat
You’ve probably seen meat combined with fruits before. Think cherry sauce on pork chops or an apricot glaze on salmon. Persimmons are another fruit that works well with meat. The sweetness balances the savory taste of pork, chicken or fish and gives your standard dishes a whole new life.
4. You Are Going to Love What Fish Sauce Does to Your Meals
It might not sound very appetizing, but fish sauce adds a great taste to a huge range of recipes. You only need a small bit to get the flavor so don’t get too crazy with it. Ko suggests adding fish sauce to meatballs, burgers, marinades, homemade salad dressings, soup and vegetables.
5. Lemongrass is Distinctive and Delicious
Lemongrass is often used in Asian-inspired meals and it’s easy to work with at home. It will add an earthy, plant-like taste to your recipes that you are going to adore. It makes a great choice in stir-fries, but you can also add it to soup or sauces to make mealtime something you look forward to again.
6. Smoked Sea Salt Adds a New Dimension to Any Food
Salt is a staple in any kitchen and chances are you use it to season your foods, both while they are cooking and before eating, on a regular basis. Smoked sea salt is just as easy to use, but adds a whole new level of flavor to your food. Add smoked sea salt to mashed potatoes, grilled meats or anything else you want to try.
7. Shallots Are the Perfect Alternative to Onions
Shallots have an intense flavor that is much stronger than your average onion. That means more flavor in your meals. Chefs suggest adding shallots to any recipe that calls for onions. This might sound simple, but give it a try. You will be amazed at what a flavor difference you get. They work raw in salads or dressings too, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
What crazy ingredients do you use to shake things up? Which of these are you dying to try?