This rather gnarly looking object is not a withered old tree branch, but rather is the root vegetable that is the source of that sharp, pungent white condiment usually only encountered in jars purchased at the supermarket. Most people are well familiar with the commercial product as an especially good accompaniment to roast beef, but it does have other uses as well. It is sometimes used in ‘Bloody Mary’ concoctions, it works well as a sandwich spread for all sorts of creations (and not just those using cold beef), and it is very commonly used to provide the sharp bite of the standard seafood cocktail sauce. Quite a few Cole-slaw sauces also use it too. The purchased varieties are fine to use, as long as you don’t let them age too long, but there are some benefits to using the fresh article that are also worth investigating… Read more
When most people hear ‘Kimchi’, they tend to think of the most common variety made with Napa Cabbage. In truth, though, many things are pickled to make Kimchi and, even with the cabbage variety, there are thousands of versions, from the simple to highly complex. Beyond the cabbage, and, of course, chilli, there can be other vegetables added (scallions, for example), and the umami quotient is often enhanced with some sort of sea product. This can be in the form of Korean Salted Shrimp, oysters, anchovy essence, whole dried anchovies, or even fish guts.
Today, I am preparing a very simple cabbage version using just chilli and scallion. I am departing from the most common method of adding chilli, which is usually done by making a paste from powdered chilli, water, and generally rice powder, or even, in some cases, wheat flour. Instead, I am doing what some recipes do, and using Gochujang, or Korean Chili paste, which carries its own umami punch. I will be adding this to my cabbage a bit later than is common for a couple of reasons. First, while I am fairly confident, having regard to the ingredients list, that there are no preservatives in my commercially made paste that will inhibit fermentation, I am not taking chances. Also, the paste is already fermented and the chilli and rice flour don’t need further fermentation to develop their flavors…. Read more
I first put together the prototype of this sauce for use as a condiment with some grilled lamb skewers. I liked the result very much and, since making the first batch, I began to think of other ways it might be used. It is very simple to make as well as being versatile, so I thought I would share the basic recipe with you today… Read more
I always like it when I eat at Asian restaurants and they provide each table with jars of the simple sort of Chili Oil that includes a thick layer of chili flakes at the bottom of the red-hued oil itself. It may not always be made in-house, but, home-made or not, a basic Chili Oil without any additional flavorings (like garlic, ginger, or Sichuan peppercorns, for example) is one of my favorite table condiments. You can cook with it too, of course, but I especially enjoy the unctuous, toasted chili flavor when it is drizzled over boiled Chinese dumplings… Read more
If you have ever perused any Filipino cookery books, or Filipino recipes on the Internet, you have probably come across the name ‘Bagoong’ from time to time. Most sources confidently assert that ‘Bagoong’ is a fermented shrimp paste but this is only partly correct as there are many varieties made with fish as well. The fish types are collectively known by the name ‘Bagoóng Isdâ’, but there are also specific names depending on the type of fish being used. If a Bagoong is made with shrimp, however (and most commonly the super tiny variety known as ‘krill’, is used), then, strictly speaking, it should be called Bagoóng Alamáng.
Like Terasi and Belcan, or Chinese Shrimp Paste, the Filipino variety is manufactured by allowing small shrimp to ferment with salt. However, in the Philippines, the ‘raw’ product is only used in limited ways (generally as a condiment on cooked rice or fresh fruit), and, instead, it is generally cooked before packaging for sale, often with other ingredients such as garlic, chili or onion. Sometime ago, I actually featured the Lingayen Brand in a foodstuff post (which is a fairly complex variety), but I didn’t specifically identify it as a ‘Bagoong Alamang’. Here, I thought I might use the ‘Barrio Fiesta’ brand as a vehicle for a general discussion of the condiment as it is a pretty decent representative of the type … Read more
I made this batch of Bacon Jam primarily as a burger topping. I love bacon on hamburgers but it is sometimes a nuisance having to cook a few rashers just for that purpose and the one commercially made Bacon Spread I tried was pretty awful. The well-made condiment, however, keeps well and is very versatile indeed. Many people like to spread it on crackers, crostini, or sandwiches other than burgers, and it also enhances grilled meats and sausages as well as providing a bacon background to all sorts of other preparations. I actually have a couple of ideas I am playing around with at the moment and you can expect to see some of them featured here in due course… Read more
I often buy a commercially made pickle consisting of sections of gherkin, cocktail onions, and cauliflower florets with turmeric as a main flavor component. The cauliflower is my favorite part but I usually find that there are too few pieces in each jar and, with most brands, they are often just a tad too sweet. Accordingly, I made a batch of pickle containing nothing but cauliflower, just a little sugar, and a spice blend to suit my own taste… Read more
I accidentally came across this product while reaching for a jar of XO Sauce whilst shopping down south a while ago. The jar was on the shelf alongside several varieties of XO Sauce and it wasn’t until I picked it up and looked more closely that I saw I had chosen something rather different.
Salangids are, in the strictest use of the term, small fish belonging to the family Salangidae (sometimes called the ‘noodle-fish’ due to their shape and translucency) but I rather suspect that the term is used a bit like ‘anchovy’ and often applied to many sorts of similar fish. Suffice it to say though, the fish in his product, are very tiny, immature fish rather like the ‘Silverfish’ I highlighted in my post on ‘Silverfish Peanuts’. Anyway, biological quibbles aside, I was interested to see what this condiment might be like… Read more
I have seen a number of Asian Family™ products turn up on our local supermarket shelves in the last little while but their Hoisin Paste is the first I have tried. Normally, I use the Lee Kum Kee™ Brand Hoisin Sauce, which is pretty good, and in my written review of that product I provided something of a discussion of Hoisin Sauces in general. Much of what I said in that post, including the comments relating to usage, applies to the Asian Family product so, today, I will limit my comments to a comparison of the relative qualities… Read more
Condiments and side dishes based on Yoghurt, especially when paired with cucumber, are popular all the way from Eastern Europe, through the Middle East, Central Asia, and across India. The Greek variety known as Tzatziki has a counterpart in the Turkish Cacik , Iranian ‘Mast-o-khiar’, an Afghan sauce for grilled meats, and also the popular Cucumber Raita used in Indian cuisine as a ‘cool-down’ accompaniment to spicy-hot dishes.
A basic Tzatziki generally consists of Yoghurt, chopped or grated cucumber, garlic and olive oil, but parsley, mint, dill, lemon juice are often added as well. It is always served cold and, while it can be served just as a dip with pita bread, or even crudités (for example), it commonly appears as a sauce for grilled meats. It is not a standard use, but adding sugar allows a tzatziki to make a pretty decent ‘Donair’ type sauce as well… Read more