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Also, curry leaves. I dream of a day when they will be as common place in the grocers as fresh coriander.

A few weeks ago I was able to get some fresh curry leaves for the first time, which I was able to use in a few recipes. I have to say, it was a really noticeable difference over dried ones. The only problem was the place were I can get them packs them into 4 oz bags, which is rather a lot, more than I can use in a short time.

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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Carrot juice is really, really useful for sauces, deglazing, soups, etc.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Also, curry leaves. I dream of a day when they will be as common place in the grocers as fresh coriander.

A few weeks ago I was able to get some fresh curry leaves for the first time, which I was able to use in a few recipes. I have to say, it was a really noticeable difference over dried ones. The only problem was the place were I can get them packs them into 4 oz bags, which is rather a lot, more than I can use in a short time.

At a pinch, you can keep them in a sealed bag in the freezer. They don't really freeze, but they do keep for a little longer. Must be kept well sealed though, or they'll shrivel.

On the other hand, you could just start using them so much that you get through them quickly! That's what I do :laugh:

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Dried mushrooms esp. porcini. Just a few can add so much umami to sauces, stews, soups, etc.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Sun-dried tomatoes. They have such a wonderful flavour and can be used so many ways. But even here in California I mostly see them added to things like pizza and pasta as an afterthough.

"...which usually means underflavored, undersalted modern French cooking hidden under edible flowers and Mexican fruits."

- Jeffrey Steingarten, in reference to "California Cuisine".

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I go with idli. It's a whole protein, cheep and easy to make. If you happen to mess up the batter you can pour a dollop on a hot griddle, spread it out and still have something delicious. Even though it's traditionally eaten with sambar there are lots of flavor combinations out there for you to play with. Oh, they freeze really well, so you're just moment from a healthy snack if you've got a microwave. And there are non fermented versions available, too that much all the easier to make.

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Are we talking ingredients specifically, or other foods, too?

If I can include other foods, I say sausage rolls. Sausage rolls are perfect, but they're not as common as they once were, at least not in my part of Canada. (And I don't mean pigs in the blanket, I mean real sausage rolls made with sausage meat and pastry.)

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I have been reading about fresh curry leaves recently and am very keen to try and find some :)

What do you use gram flour for, Jenni? I have some, and have used a LITTLE in a few recipes but don't really understand the extent of its usefulness, and you sound very keen on it! Would love to hear more...

I make pancakes with it, steamed snacks, fried snacks, noodles, soups and stews (it's traditionally used to stablise yoghurt in the Indian dish karhi which is a hot yoghurt "soup") and much more. I find that is makes a good "non-omelette" for those of us who don't eat eggs, and since it is high in protein I think this is a pretty good use for it. The Burmese cook it into a thick paste and allow it to set, and then cut it into cubes to make Burmese tofu.

Now, I assumed we were talking about ingredients, but if we're talking about foods...well, I would agree with idlis!

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Dried mushrooms esp. porcini. Just a few can add so much umami to sauces, stews, soups, etc.

I do something similar with mushrooms. I save all of my mushroom stems and add them them to the various dishes that you've already mentioned. I freeze them and pull out a few as needed and finely dice them. Like you said, only a few are needed to create a rather large impact on the finished dish.

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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Sun-dried tomatoes. They have such a wonderful flavour and can be used so many ways. But even here in California I mostly see them added to things like pizza and pasta as an afterthough.

When tomatoes are not fresh you can use them for salsas which are great.. But, I wouldnt consider them underrated.. I am still recovering from the freaking Sun Dried Tomato fad from a few years back.

Edited by basquecook (log)

“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted" JK

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Every fall I'm reminded of how thoroughly awesome celery root can be -- roasted, baked, in soups, in stuffings... probably my favorite thing to do with it is cut it into small cubes, toss it with whatever fat and herbs seem to be appropriate, and roast it with other root vegetables. Even my kids love it.

John Rosevear

"Brown food tastes better." - Chris Schlesinger

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I have been reading about fresh curry leaves recently and am very keen to try and find some :)

What do you use gram flour for, Jenni? I have some, and have used a LITTLE in a few recipes but don't really understand the extent of its usefulness, and you sound very keen on it! Would love to hear more...

I make pancakes with it, steamed snacks, fried snacks, noodles, soups and stews (it's traditionally used to stablise yoghurt in the Indian dish karhi which is a hot yoghurt "soup") and much more. I find that is makes a good "non-omelette" for those of us who don't eat eggs, and since it is high in protein I think this is a pretty good use for it. The Burmese cook it into a thick paste and allow it to set, and then cut it into cubes to make Burmese tofu.

Now, I assumed we were talking about ingredients, but if we're talking about foods...well, I would agree with idlis!

Jenni: Combine the two (ingredient and dish: i.e. besan and idli-like dish) and you have: dhoklas! :smile:

Do you really think besan and idlis are underrated? By whom? They seem very widely appreciated by > 1 b people

My suggestion of a very underrated ingredient: the 'humble' cabbage. It should be a star! It's extremely cheap, super-nutritious, and so tasty and versatile. Every culture has several cabbage recipes; treatments ranging from shredded and raw, to cooked for hours. All good.

Cabbage-based koftas unite cabbage with besan!

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Asked me a year ago and I would have said quinoa, but it seems like everyone around here is jumping on that train.

Personally for me it's sunchokes. Love those things.

Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality.

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I'm going to have to go with tamarind, it's so versatile and I use it quite often. It not only adds a nice sourness to a sauce or dressing but a good deal of roundness as well. My sauce for BBQ uses it as a base flavor.

I also love bitter greens like swiss chard, beet greens, etc., whether mixed in a pasta dish or combined with roasted potatoes in a burrito, or other applications I can't keep them in the house when I've got them.

I've never combined the two- tamarind and chard- but now that I think about it, that might just work...

aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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