I’ve binge watched the whole MasterChef Series and it taught me that you just can’t have rice and dal at your dinner. But other than all the fancy dishes I’ve seen, I realized just adding water and meat won’t make a perfect dish and you do that, you’re eliminated. There are so many ingredients you’ve to add to make it into the game. After watching all the episodes, I still can’t remember what all they added in that Italian dish, which by the way I can smell through my T.V and that’s not weird at all. There is a stereotype that says, “Indian dishes are full of chili powder” and to that I can say, they are jealous of our food. But keeping that controversial topic aside I can list down some great ingredients that will make your dish “Perfecto”!
You can’t complete your food with “chutki bhaar namak”. If you got that reference you’re 90’s kid who use to watch Khana Khazana with your mother or is it just me? Salt not only gives taste to your food but also completes it. A decent “foodie” will know how important it is to have a dish which tastes great and is complete. Western cultures are using soy sauce, fish sauce and oyster sauce as they contain a high level of sodium content and is utilized as an alternative to the salt we use here. Basically, it is used in every dish we eat in one or the other form. It is like the protagonist of the dish.
2. Black Pepper
Black Pepper provides warmth to your food. It enhances the flavour of the food. The spice from the black pepper is distinct and improves the taste of other ingredients. Black pepper is preferred as freshly grounded as it loses flavour when cooked for a long time. Pepper is mostly added at the end of the cooking process. The classic dish, steak au poivre is made using the freshly crushed pepper-coated and cooked. It gives a pungent taste to your food so it is used to make venison steak. It is also added to salads with lemon juice and olive oil.
No, we’re not talking about the song from the band, Maroon 5. Keeping my addiction for the song and the ingredient aside we can say that sugar has to be in our diet in one or the other form. Scientifically we have to include in our diet and that is the only thing I believe in since I heard it. Apart from the sweet dishes sugar is also used in some spicy dishes like Poha to give a pinch taste of sweetness to your dish.
As an alternative to sugar, we use every day it is a healthy alternative to all the sugar based ingredients it is used as a sweetener in desserts and as a spread on bread. The famous honey barbecue is used to make the barbecue chicken wings and breasts. Honey mustard is used as a dressing for salads.
Lemon is not only used in lemonade but, is also used in many French and Italian dishes. The citrusy flavour creates a magic in your dish. It is used with white wine and thyme to make lemon chicken (Pollo al Limone) which is a delicacy in Italy. the lemon sauce is glazed over many salads and many other dishes. The zest from the lemon is used to garnish the dish or it can be used to make desserts.
Paprika is an alternative to the native chili powder we use here. The paprika is mostly consumed in the United States to add heat to many dishes. The paprika is used to add spice to the stews and sometimes is added to colour the rice and the soups. The paprika is used to garnish many dishes and its flavour is enhanced by heating it in oil.
Some people don’t like garlic and I really didn’t understand the taste and value of garlic in food until I came across this amazing dish called the “Garlic Bread”. After eating that I can say my whole life and perception on garlic changed. The garlic gives your food the pungent flavour. During the cooking process, the mildness and the spicy flavour gives a characteristic aroma and taste to your dish.
Basil is not just part of the soap opera anymore. Basil not only has medicinally been used but for a long time is used in food to enhance the flavour of our dish. Basil is sometimes fried and used as a side dish and sometimes added in salads. The basil is always added at the last to keep the freshness or else it might lose its flavour. Basil is used in soups and stew in Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine to give the soup a weak coumarin flavour. Basil is also used in pesto.
Finally, the queen has arrived. It is one of the high-priced spices in the world. It is called the queen because of the intense aroma and viscous flavour. It is added in sweet dishes as well as in savoury dishes. The intense flavour brings out the best in everyone’s favourite “Chai”. It is sometimes used as chewing gum.
The YouTube trend, The Cinnamon Challenge did hurt your throat but, it’s not what it’s looks like. The trend is in past but the quality that the cinnamon possess is lifelong. The essential oil present in the cinnamon gives it a distinct flavour and aroma. It is used tea to enhance the flavour. Cinnamon is one of the ingredients in the making of chocolate. It can be used in desserts to give a diverse essence.
Popularly known as Coriander. It is one of the spices which gives a lemony and a fresh taste to your dish. In India, it’s used to garnish on many dishes and the garnish makes the dish go from what? To whoa! Cilantro is often added to soups and stew to add flavour to the dish.
12. Curry leaf
The buzzing sound you hear after adding curry leaves is a familiar sound to every Indian kid. It is added as a seasoning in many dishes in different parts of the world. Curry leaves are added in stew and curries to give a different flavour and make the taste different. Sometimes, the dried leaves are crushed and glazed over the dish.
Kokum one of the ingredients that is used to deodorize the smell of the fish. The kokum is rubbed over the skin of the fish and applied salt and chili powder and fried. It is squashed and, the syrup is used to make refreshment drink.
14. Garam Masala
It is one of the vital parts of Indian cuisine. It is a product of different spices added together to form one powdery substance. The masala contains the different flavours and aromas contained within one creation. The aromas and flavours are enhanced by roasting all the ingredients and make them release.
15. Jeera Powder
Cumin is first roasted Jeera also helps in digestion. Cumin powder is used in stew and soups which enhance the aroma.
Rosemary is generally used in your soaps and washing powder to give it a distinct aroma. It is used in food because of the characteristic aroma and gives the food pungent and sour taste. It is used to brighten up the meat we eat. The essential oil present in it is the secret.
As our ancestors use to say turmeric helps to keep disease away. But other than its medicinal use it is sometimes used to impart colour. It is also used to give colour to the dishes. The turmeric leaf is steamed so as to impart flavours.
18. Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is used in many parts of South Asia. Coconut milk can be used as an alternative to milk for our regular use. Coconut milk can be used to make healthy and easy smoothies and it can also be used to make traditional sweets. It can be used to make sweet dishes like kheer.
You would ask how can tea be an ingredient to be used in food? Well, that’s a misconception because many dishes can be made using tea leaves. Tea leaves are used to make custard, cookies and a healthy oatmeal.
20. Chaat Masala
To all the people who like tangy taste on their boiled egg white, chaat masala will help you out. It’s a mixture of dried mango and many different spices. The mixture is sprinkled and eaten with egg white, fruits, and vegetables. To all the parents I can understand when your child hates to have fruits and vegetables in their diet but no worries chaat masala will make your boring food taste amazing.
I don’t know how much of this helped you, however, if you want to apply for Master Chef you need to make use of these ingredients and make your dish score 10 to 100.