Have you ever wondered how certain flavors can take you straight back to that trip to Morocco? Or how about the Cajun flavors so unique to Louisiana? Luckily, with a few well-known flavor combinations, you can recreate these dishes in your own kitchen!
Cajun and Creole
Cajun cooking is native to the state of Louisiana, in the United States. If you’ve ever visited New Orleans, you’ll know exactly what these flavors are. The two flavors are similar, but Creole food mostly contains tomatoes, whereas Cajun food traditionally does not. The easiest way to get the distinct flavor of New Orleans, is to incorporate a dark roux into your food (a roux that has been cooked until dark brown). Of course, you should not leave out the Louisiana trio: celery, onions, and green pepper.
French cuisine is one of the most famous of its kind: French onion soup, coq au vin, salad niçoise, beef bourguignon, and many more. Luckily, with a few special ingredients, you can create the French classics right in your own kitchen. Make sure to use butter and cream (and lots of it), a mirepoix (onions, celery, carrots), herbs de Provence, wine, soft cheese, and Dijon mustard.
Expand your spice cupboard and you can have Indian food any night of the week. Garam masala is a warming spice and unlike other spices, it’s often added right at the end to. You can also include a medium curry powder, cardamom, cumin, cilantro, fennel, and fenugreek to your spice rack. Dairy is used a lot in Indian cooking, so fee; free to use lots of yoghurt, cream, or coconut milk if you want to go dairy free.
Pizza…pasta…seriously, who doesn’t love Italian food? If you want to cook more Italian food, make sure to includes lots of fresh basil, olive oil, lemon, fennel, white beans, balsamic vinegar, oregano, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and tomatoes. Of course, you must use a soffritto. This is basically the Italian version of the French mirepoix. But instead of butter, the ingredients are sauteed in olive oil.
Many home cooks can feel intimated by Japanese cooking, but this is only because we’re not that exposed to it as much as other cuisines, like French or Italian. But Japanese food is more than just ramen. Use miso (made from fermented soy beans), toasted sesame seed oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, wasabi, and fresh ginger.
If there is one ingredient that makes the quintessential Greek flavor, it’s olives. Olive trees are abundant in Greece and olives have been featured in Greek cooking since forever. Other flavors you can use are oregano, lemons, olive oil, lamb, feta cheese, yoghurt, tomatoes, fish, and shellfish. Now you are ready to make more than moussaka!
Tex-Mex is a name given to Mexican cuisine that’s been Americanized as to include ingredients that can be found more easily. These can include cheddar cheese, black beans, canned tomatoes, and cumin. Make sure to include lots of cilantro, avocado, hot sauce, and chili powder! And of course, everything tastes better with a fresh squeeze of lime.
North African food is chock full of flavor. If you love tagine and shakshuka, then make sure you add these must-have ingredients to your pantry: couscous (the national dish of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia), lemon, harissa, preserved butter (smen), turmeric, dates, raisins, chickpeas, eggplant, and lamb.
Southeast Asians include Thai food, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and more. These foods are hot, spicy, and full of flavor. Add lots of ginger, garlic, lemongrass (an absolute must!), cilantro, fish sauce, shrimp paste, oyster sauce, and galangal. For soups, use coconut milk and remember to top your salads with sesame seeds!
Eastern European cuisine is often overlooked, but there are some delicious dishes that shouldn’t be missed. Borscht (beet soup), pierogis (dumplings) and sauerkraut are some of the most well-known dishes in this category. Make sure to include potatoes, dill, eggs, dairy products, buckwheat, and of course, vodka.
The folks down under have their own unique cuisines. Fresh seafood (like shrimps, barramundi, and salmon), meats like kangaroo and emu, and lots of fresh fruits and veggies. Well-known Australian foods include: meat pies, lamingtons (pieces of cake coated in coconut), pavlova, and vegemite.