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secret weapon ingredients


reesek
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i went to a local vietnamese restaurant a few weeks ago, and encountered a taste sensation. it was a complex, smoky, slightly fermented flavor. the waiter insisted it was simply "soy sauce." knowing full well it was not my mother's kikkoman, i asked to see the bottle. it was "golden mountain seasoning." after a fruitless search on the gorgeous vietnamese cooking thread, i found it on Abra's Thai cooking lesson thread. interesting, but not hugely surprising that a seattle vietnamese restaurant would use a thai product (or is it??)

i love this stuff. i've braised pork belly in it, marinated chicken a paste made from it, lemongrass, shallot, cilantro stems and ginger and eaten it with jasmine ice and a runny fried egg. it's so damn *other* tasting. in the vietnamese cooking thread i saw mention of "magi/maggi" sauce...what is it? is it as magical as GMS? can anyone with a thai and/or vietnamese cookery background weigh in on my new find?

what's your secret sauce? how do you use it in a novel way?

from overheard in new york:

Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!

Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

--6 Train

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I use a lot of Golden Mountain now, it's a great flavor. Also in my "secret" arsenal are Taste Nirvana's Golden Abalone Fish Sauce, and Ninben's seasoning soup base. Oh, and of course nam prik pao, which I'm inexplicably out of at the moment so I can't tell you the brand. I posted a photo of it here on eG some time ago, so it should be easy to find. Ok, it's in this post, but I can't read the name due to my own lack of photo skills.

edited to add: we found some in the depths of the fridge - it's Pantainorasing brand.

Edited by Abra (log)
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Not really a secret so much as difficult to obtain: quality New Mexican hatch chile. You can buy the stuff online from a million different places, but most of the powder is secretly cut with crops from California and Texas, reserving the pure stuff for the locals who don't mind driving several hours into the desert to get it (no, the corner market in Santa Fe doesn't count--that stuff is all tainted). There is absolutely no comparison in my opinion, and the flavor it lends to everything from enchiladas to hot chocolate never ceases to amaze.

Edited by nduran (log)
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I use a lot of Golden Mountain now, it's a great flavor.  Also in my "secret" arsenal are Taste Nirvana's Golden Abalone Fish Sauce, and Ninben's seasoning soup base.  Oh, and of course nam prik pao, which I'm inexplicably out of at the moment so I can't tell you the brand.  I posted a photo of it here on eG some time ago, so it should be easy to find.  Ok, it's in this post, but I can't read the name due to my own lack of photo skills.

edited to add: we found some in the depths of the fridge - it's Pantainorasing brand.

Interesting, where did you get it from Abra?

My secret ingredients are a little bit more ordinary. A pinch of sugar, a little bit of MSG, some anchovies, a shot of sambal chilli paste.

PS: I am a guy.

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I love Maggi seasoning as well that little magic bottle

but what I really love to use and slip it in when ever I get stuck for something to pull it all together in a dish that just does not seem to be quite there yet...

... the little packets of Sazon they are my cheater packages of magical goodness ..when all esle fails I go for Sazon there are so many types and they never fail me ....I rarely use a whole one usually half is just enough to do it! ...

I also love the endless variety of Knorr cubes!!! just when I think I have tried them all I find yet another one..they are magic to I tell you!!!

why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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what exactly is maggi seasoning?

Abra thanks for the photo...i rediscovered your blog(s) and from that chufi's dutch cooking blog. i think butter braised beef will be on the menu for dinner!

from overheard in new york:

Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!

Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

--6 Train

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Instant coffee granules in certain meat or poultry or bean based stews, soups - with some Texas Pete at the same time. Adds richness, depth, heat, in an indefineable punch.

Carrot Top,

You read my mind. Dark chocolate also works in very small quantities for the same reasons.

When baking I add a pinch of salt to the batter or mix. Salt is often left out of recipes and they are improved with it. If you can taste it you added too much.

Jmahl

The Philip Mahl Community teaching kitchen is now open. Check it out. "Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen" on Facebook. Website coming soon.

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i love the coffee tip, thanks CT! chocolate is a good one for dryish vegetable stews or compotes...and i love smoked paprika. when i was not eating meat, it was indispensible as a bacony note in greens and soups.

doesn't hurt a devilled egg, either. :hmmm:

as chufi's butter braised beef simmers away on the stove and the smell of bay fills the house, i'm reminded of how much depth it adds to underlying flavors. i'm not crazy about it as a front flavor (like in a bay ice cream or anglaise) but it really does add a round, savory quality to a braise.

a couple of random things in my pantry -

mushroom flavored soy sauce (what should i be making with this? i bought it for a braised pork belly and used a spash - i'm left with a lot...)

aleppo pepper. i confess, i bought it because it was in every food mag (it's not even that fresh, to be perfectly frank - should i toss it?) what are the unique uses for it? to my taste, it was not unlike a zatar/pepper combo. i have both of those - is the aleppo a faddish distraction?

from overheard in new york:

Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!

Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

--6 Train

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Reese, don't toss your Aleppo pepper! I use it, or Marash or Urfa pepper in every single recipe that calls for "crushed red pepper." You'll get a much more mellow and flavorful heat with it than the usual stuff.

Mushroom soy - I like to make chicken adobo using half mushroom soy and half light soy. It's not traditional, but we love it like that.

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I use pink peppercorns in a lot of my apple desserts.

I always have a container in the spice cabinet, which is filled with a mixture of allspice, cumin and cinnamon, with a few bay leaves for aroma. This is an intoxicating blend. Usually, we roast or broil things with tihs. We also pan fry things with it. I use it in some of my salad dressings, some pilafs, it's really versatile. And, delicious.

More Than Salt

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I use pink peppercorns in a lot of my apple desserts.

I always have a container in the spice cabinet, which is filled with a mixture of allspice, cumin and cinnamon, with a few bay leaves for aroma. This is an intoxicating blend. Usually, we roast or broil things with tihs. We also pan fry things with it. I use it in some of my salad dressings, some pilafs, it's really versatile. And, delicious.

heh heh, sounds like garam masala.

Which would be my not-so-secret ingredient.

Since reading some of Eden's descriptions of medieval

European (especially Italian) cooking, I throw some

garam masala into many pasta sauces and get

rave reviews...

Milagai

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Wow Maggi. Vegeta. Both blasts from the past; I lived in Austria for 8 1/2 years and my ex loved the former while her grandfather (from Hungary) swore by the latter.

My favoured not so secret weapon is smoked Cayenne pepper from my garden.

Imagine ground chipotle only brighter. I love that stuff. A little bit goes a long way.

Jon

--formerly known as 6ppc--

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In no particular order - Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, anchovies, dried porcini mushrooms and lastly all the herbs in the garden.

I like the pink peppercorn idea.....many thanks.

"It's true I crept the boards in my youth, but I never had it in my blood, and that's what so essential isn't it? The theatrical zeal in the veins. Alas, I have little more than vintage wine and memories." - Montague Withnail.

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Wow Maggi. Vegeta. Both blasts from the past; I lived in Austria for 8 1/2 years and my ex loved the former while her grandfather (from Hungary) swore by the latter.

My favoured not so secret weapon is smoked Cayenne pepper from my garden.

Imagine ground chipotle only brighter. I love that stuff. A little bit goes a long way.

6ppc,

how do you smoke your peppers? (i assume there's also a drying process?) please do tell.

ok abra, i'll keep the aleppo. i do like heat though, so i doubt it will replace my flakes. i'll try it this week on something i usually use flakes on - pizza or greens or something.

can you tell me a little about about your chicken adobo? filipino style?

worcestershire is a good one...it reminded me of something slightly fussy i do sometimes that i think is worth the trouble - grating my garlic on a microplane. instant garlic paste (for meatballs, burgers, mayo, etc.) the microplane is nearly always getting dirty anyway. lotta zest in my kitchen.

from overheard in new york:

Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!

Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

--6 Train

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My bits, sprinkles and drops aren't much different than anyone else's.

Citrus- oranges, tangelos, tangerines, mandarins, lemons and limes.

Lea and Perrin's Worcestershire Sauce, Franks and Tabasco (especially the chipotle), Sriracha, red, rice or basalmic vinegars, soy sauce, Bragg's or fish sauce.

A bit of butter, sesame oil or unrefined corn oil (love this stuff!).

Brown/white sugar, honey or vanilla.

Parsley or chives.

Smoked paprika, ground pasilla, dehydrated, chopped onions, dry mustard, bay leaves (I adore bay), celery and caraway seeds, espresso powder, dark chocolate and saigon cinnamon.

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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