Top International Ingredients to Try in Your Cooking

AAlex January 7, 2024 7:01 AM

In this globally connected age where cuisines and cultures are constantly crossing borders, it's easier than ever to experiment with international ingredients in your home kitchen. By expanding your pantry with some of these unique ingredients, you'll not only elevate your cooking but also get a taste of different cultures around the world. Here are some top international ingredients that you must try in your cooking.

Spices and Herbs from Around the Globe

Spices and herbs are often the secret ingredients that give cuisines their unique flavors. Here are some must-try options:

  • Saffron: Known as the world's most expensive spice, saffron comes from a flower that's native to Greece. It's used in dishes like paella, risotto, and various Middle Eastern desserts.

  • Sumac: This tangy, lemony spice is a staple in Middle Eastern cooking. It's great sprinkled on top of salads, hummus, or grilled meat.

  • Togarashi: A common Japanese spice blend that contains chili pepper, orange peel, sesame seeds, ginger, and seaweed. It's a great way to add a kick to your dishes.

International Cooking Staples

These ingredients are commonly used in different countries and can add a unique touch to your meals:

  1. Soy Sauce (Japan): This is a must-have for many Asian dishes. It's a versatile ingredient that can be used in stir-fries, marinades, sauces, and even desserts.

  2. Ghee (India): This clarified butter is a staple in Indian cooking. It has a high smoke point, making it ideal for frying and sautéing.

  3. Harissa (Tunisia): This spicy chili paste is widely used in North African and Middle Eastern cuisines. It's perfect for adding a kick to sauces, stews, and marinades.

Unusual International Ingredients

If you're feeling adventurous, here are some unusual ingredients to try:

  • Ackee (Jamaica): This fruit is a key ingredient in Jamaica's national dish, ackee and saltfish. It has a unique, slightly sweet taste and a creamy texture.

  • Natto (Japan): This fermented soybean dish is a breakfast staple in Japan. It's known for its strong smell, sticky texture, and numerous health benefits.

  • Black Garlic (Korea): This is regular garlic that has been fermented. It has a sweet, tangy flavor and a molasses-like richness.

Trying out these international ingredients can bring new and exciting flavors to your kitchen. You might even discover a new favorite dish in the process.

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