Your secret ingredients

I think we’ve done this kind of thread before, but I love learning other peoples’ kitchen tricks!

  • I just made an apple crumble, and I added a few big handfuls of sesame seeds to the topping. Delish! I buy them in a big jar from the Asian supermarket.

  • Anchovy paste in sauces and stews. Most savoury things can benefit from the salty umami boost. It doesn’t end up tasting fishy, if you just use a little. Also works with little fillets, they usually disintegrate if you add them with the sauteeing onions.

  • Golden syrup - I use this in place of corn syrup or honey in various caramel applications. So yum. Also great in oatmeal/porridge with currants.

my secret ingredient is love

I many soups and stews I use a dollop of Vegemite for extra richness and umami.

A pinch of cinnamon in sauces add a certain je ne sais quoi to the dish. It provides a familiar, yet hard to place, taste.

I only know one; use pears instead of apples to make apple pie.

Not much of a secret, but I always put a little brown sugar in my chili. And a little bit of cocoa powder if I remember. Doesn’t taste sweet or chocolately, just does something extra. People love my chili.

Chicken feet in chicken soup can add a lot of body if you can find the feet and not feel too grossed out by them. Otherwise stick to fresh dill and sneaking in better than bullion or some canned soup to your homemade stuff.

I need to find someone to bake this for me; sounds awesome.

Oh yeah, I throw a little bit of brown sugar in all kinds of stuff. Totally embiggens the flavor without making it taste sweet.

I use summer savory in pretty much all my beef dishes; the herb itself doesn’t seem that strongly flavored, but it really enhances the taste of the dish. It goes in many of my soups and sauces as well.

My apple pie secret is to use two kinds of apples. My recipe calls for 6 apples; I go with 4 Cortlands and 2 Granny Smith. That gets just the sharpness I want, and I think it makes for a little added complexity to go with the sweetness.

A little ground cumin mixed in with ground beef when making burgers.

Jumex peach nectar in BBQ marinade/mop,
A pinch of Penzys sweet curry powder in chicken soup,
Pineapple juice in jerk marinade,
a small pinch of salt in the coffee grounds

A couple drops of Tabasco in eggs or almost anything. Not much of a secret there.
Also soy sauce for the salty/umami.

I rarely make hummus, but when i do, cumin is the secret ingredient.

I’ve started adding a dash of cayenne to a lot of dishes to give it a little extra kick without changing the taste. Helps keep the amount of salt needed down too, as does a squeeze of lemon right before serving.

I use browned butter in a lot of baking applications, but it does take a bit of pre-work so it’s usually only for special occasions when I have the luxury of time :slight_smile:

I do that, as well. Fish sauce is another one that works pretty much the same way, as the brand I typically use, Squid, is made from anchovies.

Straight-up MSG is another one I use carefully. Not in everything, but in a couple of sauces, stews, or soups that I want to make taste “beefier” or more “commercial,” if that makes any sense.

Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce is the “American fish sauce”, for when Thai fish sauce seems a little too exotic.

A quarter of a 500 mg vitamin C tablet, crushed, helps to build the gluten in bread recipes.

You can really expand the taste of an Asian dish by throwing in a pre-packaged 4 oz. cup of pineapple tidbits.

When preparing a breading mix or coating for frying fish, chicken, or anything else that I fry, I add a heaping table spoon or 2 of corn starch. Keeps the breaded outside of the food crunchy and not soggy.

Cumin is a good addition to pretty much any meat dish. It really brings out the meaty flavors.

One ingredient I’m fond of is crushed black olives. They add a nice zing of flavor to all sorts of meals.

A splash of Southern Comfort will take your Mai Tai to the next level