Yotam Ottolenghi is renowned for his ability to pack the maximum amount of flavour into every dish he creates. Appropriate, then, that his latest book is named just that. ‘Flavour’, takes the philosophies espoused in his hugely successful previous offerings, ‘Simple’ and ‘Plenty’, and evolves them for today’s home kitchen.
Vegetables are treated as the heroes they have always been, their inherent deliciousness dialled up to ‘MAX’ through the use of classic and contemporary techniques, a diverse assembly of cultural inspirations, and a collection of what we’re understandably thrilled the chef and author (quite rightly) calls his ‘essential ingredients‘.
Like the flavour bombs that featured throughout Simple, these are ingredients that Ottolenghi explains “capture the essence of the book.”
We’ve always believed that good cooking starts with the best, specially selected, quality ingredients which turn a great dish into something truly spectacular, and we’re excited that so many of our favourite essentials also appear on Ottolenghi’s list.
Aleppo Chilli: Named after the Turkish city of Aleppo, this popular and versatile spice adds dramatic colour, aromatic zing and mild, smoky heat. They are an excellent choice anywhere pepper flakes are called for and are perfect for adding a bit of heat to Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes.
Ancho Chilli: The Ancho chilli (‘wide’ chilli) is the dried form of the mild Poblano chilli. Sweet and smoky with a flavour faintly reminiscent of plums and sun-dried tomatoes, this mild chilli is a wonderful match for soups, stews and salsas.
Black Garlic: Our Australian-produced fermented organic mono bulb garlic is sweet, full of umami and has notes of molasses and balsamic vinegar. Add to roasts, pan-fried mushrooms and sauces or slice thinly and use on crostini. Requires refrigeration.
Black Lime: Sour and aromatic, the intense citrus flavour of these limes makes them a lively addition to many dishes. Left whole, in soups and stews, the limes will rehydrate and infuse the cooking liquid. In powder form it makes a zesty marinade for chicken and fish. Sprinkled over salads, hummus and vegetables. Wash before use and prick with a skewer if using whole.
Cascabel Chillies: Also known as the rattle chilli because of the sound of the seeds rattling inside the chilli. Sweet, fruity, and nutty, these chillies have a mild smoky chocolate flavour. May be used for sweet and savoury dishes. Drizzle cascabel salsa over corn tortillas topped with fresh crumbled cheese or make a cascabel salt rub which may be used to season fish, meat and vegetables: dry roast cascabel chilli for a few minutes, grind and mix with sea salt flakes and dried Mexican oregano.
Dried Chipotle Chillies: With a deep, spicy flavour, these smoke-dried jalapenos add a meaty depth to soups and stews. Use in homemade baked beans or in countless traditional Mexican dishes. Ottolenghi suggests steeping dried chipotle chillies slowly in warm oil to create a simple chilli oil.
Dried Hibiscus Flowers: The wonderful pink colour and tart, floral flavour make hibiscus leaves ideal in sweet and savoury dishes, cocktails and mocktails. Perfect for jams, jellies and preserves. Grind the flowers and sprinkle over meringues sandwiched with hibiscus jelly and cream.
Fish Sauce: Prepared to a traditional recipe with fresh anchovies and pure sea salt, then fermented naturally for two years, this premium fish sauce is MSG-free, gluten-free and preservative-free. Provides a rich saltiness to South East Asian cuisines, whether used to stir fry, marinate or season.
Gochujang Chilli Paste: A thick red chilli paste made from red chillis, glutinous rice, and fermented soybeans. Spicy and sweet, this thick chilli paste is extremely versatile and may be used in marinades, sauces, stews, soups and salads.
Ground Cardamom: Intense and slightly sweet, aromatic ground cardamom is may be used for savoury dishes, cakes and desserts. An essential ingredient in many curries. Make herby Zhoug and serve with shakshuka, baked cauliflower, falafel or flatbread. Perfect for wonderfully fragrant ice cream or spicy carrot cake.
Jarred Pocha Beans: While Flavour calls for jarred butter beans, we love these very similar Spanish Pocha beans, which have been slowly cooked in a light mixture of water and sea salt, resulting in a delicious, ready to use product.
Masa Harina: This whole white corn flour, with no preservatives or additives, is perfect for making delicious tortillas, enchiladas, tamales, gorditas and thickening soups.
Miso: Considered ‘pure umami’, miso is produced by slowly fermenting soybeans with salt and koji. The resulting paste is a rich, flavourful addition to dressings, soups, sauces, marinades, glazes and even desserts.
Red Bell Pepper Flakes: Mild, sweet and crunchy, use these dried capsicum flakes to add colour and flavour to dips, salsas and oils. Sprinkle over fried or poached eggs, salads and vegetables.
Rice Vinegar: Mild and slightly sweet, rice wine vinegar is a subtle vinegar made from fermented rice and is used widely in Japanese and Chinese cooking. It is a key ingredient in making sushi, as well as Asian pickles and salads.
Rose Harissa: With an abundance of chillies, spices, rose petals and rose oil, this harissa is fiery and fragrant. Use to add flavour to stews, soups and couscous, and to season meat and vegetables before cooking.
Shaoxing Rice Wine: A key ingredient in Chinese cooking, this amber-coloured wine is made with fermented glutinous rice. It is mildly sweet with a distinct, fragrant aroma and is the secret to creating an authentic flavour profile in most Chinese dishes. Mix into marinades, sauces and braises or use to deglaze a wok when stir-frying.
Tamarind Paste: Tamarind pulp, also called tamarind paste, adds a unique fruity sourness to many dishes.