If there’s something humans have in common globally, it’s our love of condiments. From the humblest salsa on tacos to the luxurious spread you get at a Korean restaurant (seriously, Korea does condiments right, y’all), I can’t think of a food culture without signature condiments. We universally love adding extra food to our food.
Any foodie’s refrigerator will have a range of condiments beyond the typical American ketchup-yellow mustard-mayonnaise-Tabasco lineup. (Probably at least three bottles of Sriracha, for starters.) These are some favored condiments that take up space in my icebox:
Homemade hot sauce/salsas. Other than being
good amazing to put on tacos, I add these to just about anything that could use a dab of flavorful heat: chili, cornbread, savory waffles (cheese, bacon, and jalapeno waffles: YUM), fried rice, stir fry, curry, skillet potatoes. I also sub homemade jalapeno salsa in almost any recipe that calls for minced or diced jalapeno, because lazy cooking for the win.
Salsas are incredibly easy to make, too, and they keep in the fridge for a long time. For jalapeno salsa, I roast jalapenos (sometimes a mix of those and poblanos), then blend with cilantro, lime juice, salt, and as much water as needed for consistency. (For a less aggressively-spicy salsa, roasted tomatillos will tame it.) For chipotle hot sauce, I dump a can of chipotles in adobo into the blender with many garlic cloves, some dried chilies, cider vinegar, and water to thin.
Quick-pickled/marinated vegetables. I started making quick pickles when I started eating more Asian dishes, many of which call for a sour accompaniment. I’m hooked on them now and have stopped limiting them to spicy fried rice and curries; I put them on sandwiches, in salads, and just snack on them out of the container. Chopped crunchy vegetables + vinegar or citrus juice + salt and seasoning and you’re ready to go.
Cashew garlic spread. I was on a raw food kick for about a month (okay, three weeks [okay, two weeks]) when I discovered this stuff. Cashews, garlic, salt, olive oil, and a dab of water grind up in the food processor to make a concoction that I cannot. stop. eating. whenever I have it in the house. It subs for peanut butter in savory dishes, spreads nicely on English muffins, and makes an almost-cheesy condiment for sandwiches and wraps. You can also use it to make “creamy” sauces or dressings that are non-dairy but taste fantastic.
(In a similar vein? Refried beans spread on toast or a sandwich is awesome. I may never use mayonnaise again.) (Just kidding, I heart you, mayonnaise.)
Decent-quality pecorino. Real talk: I started buying Pecorino because I could get a chunk of it for half the price of Parmesan. I keep buying it because it has amazing flavor: sharp, salty, and a tiny bit sheep-funky. Cheese may not technically be a condiment, but I use it as one, especially on roasted potatoes. Just avoid the BelGioioso stuff from the fake-fancy-cheese section of the supermarket; it’s too expensive for the (low) quality.
Mango chutney. Not only do I just effing love mango chutney on everything because it is orgasmically vinegary-sweet, I also use it in many savory dishes that call for sugar. (Apricot jelly subs in well for this use, too.) Adding straight sugar to something like canned tomatoes just makes for, well, sugary-tasting tomatoes; adding in chutney or jelly helps give it a more complex flavor. I also use it to add sweetness to vinaigrette and sauces.
What condiments are you addicted to? Share ‘em in the comments!
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