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Thread: Condiments

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    Elder Contributor Underseer's Avatar
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    Condiments

    One local hamburger chain that I rather like is meatheads (not capitalized).

    Their burgers are drip-down-your-arms juicy and the veggies they use are fresh, but I confess the main reason I go there is for the ketchup, which goes great with their natural-cut (skin still on) fries. Namely, this stuff:


    Click on the above image to go to manufacturer's web page

    I know of no other place that has this peculiar brand of ketchup, but putting chipotle in ketchup tastes as wonderful as it sounds. It's as yummy with fries as ketchup + Sriracha.

    Anyway, this is a rather obscure brand of ketchup and I thought I would turn other people on to this stuff. If there's any condiment you'd like to talk about, have at it.
    Last edited by Underseer; 10-30-2018 at 02:59 AM.

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    Elder Contributor Underseer's Avatar
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    Chinese fermented bean pastes are starting to turn up in American grocery stores, so you no longer have to go to an Asian supermarket to get them.

    I'm, um, half Japanese, not Chinese, so every time someone tells me the correct name for a specific type of Chinese bean paste, it goes in one ear and out the other and I've already forgotten the name before the other person has stopped speaking. I know from experience that pretty much all of them work as the magical ingredient in mabo tofu (aka mapo tofu aka mabodofu aka… there's a bajillion spellings, OK?).


    Here's an example of one of the jars of Chinese fermented bean paste you might find in an American grocery store.

    Mapo tofu is popular all over Asia (probably why there are so many spellings), not just China where it originated. It's easy to make and super cheap, so it's a recipe worth knowing for anyone cooking on a budget. You can add a few cheap veggies to it to make it a little healthier (I usually add carrots, mushrooms, and/or eggplant). One pound of ground pork can be divided into fourths and frozen, since 1/4 lb is more than enough. This dish requires very little meat, which is in part why it's so cheap. It's mostly tofu and the bean paste, fresh ginger, soy sauce, and chili oil provide more than enough flavor to compensate for the large amount of tofu.

    Anyway, the fermented bean paste is a condiment in its own right and can be used to augment just about anything that could benefit from a really strong bean flavor. Add a little dollop (use it sparingly because it packs a big flavor punch and can easily overwhelm whatever you're adding it to) to a can of baked beans and tell people it's "Szechuan Boston baked beans." It's really tasty in chili. One of these days, I'm going to sneak some into a batch of refried beans either for use in a burrito or as a side with a Tex-Mex meal.

    If you've ever ordered certain dishes from a Chinese restaurant and wondered "Why is there so much bean flavor when I only see a handful of black beans?" fermented bean paste is probably why.

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    Gochujang

    If you watch any American cooking shows, no doubt you've already seen people using this ingredient. This is what most of the containers look like at the grocery store:


    Despite how it's spelled, I was told to pronounce it "ko choo zhōn."

    Anyway, because it's on so many of those TV cooking shows, it's starting to turn up in regular, non-ethnic grocery stores in America. It's basically miso paste mixed with a metric fuck-ton of dried hot peppers.

    You can take a mapo tofu recipe, omit the sauces, use a fuck-ton of this, omit the meat, and you'd have a vague approximation of a Korean dish I can't remember the name of right now.

    Oh, and don't you dare make bulgogi, or Korean tacos of any kind without this stuff. Preferably this stuff and a nice, extra dark Korean or Japanese sesame oil.

    For experimentation, this will make magic in marinades for any meat (especially beef), is also good on sandwiches, and is my brother's secret ingredient for his homemade BBQ sauce.

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    Veteran Member Treedbear's Avatar
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    One thing I don't like about most Chinese condiments (anything in a jar) is the huge amount of salt. The same with boxed Indian foods. That said, it seems the Chinese use fermented bean paste in almost everything. I need to look for the low salt versions as with soy sauce and worstershire sauce. BTW, anyone use fish sauce? I bought one of the better brands (Red Boat) but can't get paste the rotten fish smell.

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    I like straight ole frenches mustard.

    For fries, I like ketchup, but (but, I say), it should be on the side for dipping, not smothered over the fries. (That's important).

    When I have nuggets or chicken strips, BBQ sauce please, not ranch's or the like.

    Can chili be considered a condiment? Goes great with hotdogs and sausage dogs.

    A-1 sauce for steak.

    Thousand island or French or Italian for salads (which includes lettuce and cucumbers).

    For pulled pork, a mustard based (lighter) BbQ sauce.

    Salt and pepper for the most part. Depends, but those are the staples.

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    Elder Contributor Underseer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    One thing I don't like about most Chinese condiments (anything in a jar) is the huge amount of salt. The same with boxed Indian foods. That said, it seems the Chinese use fermented bean paste in almost everything. I need to look for the low salt versions as with soy sauce and worstershire sauce. BTW, anyone use fish sauce? I bought one of the better brands (Red Boat) but can't get paste the rotten fish smell. …
    If you put soy sauce in something and the result is too salty, put less soy sauce in it next time.

    That goes double for fermented bean paste. It's not just the salt, but that intense bean flavor can easily overpower everything else if you use too much of it.

    Everything in moderation, right?

    BTW, anyone use fish sauce? I bought one of the better brands (Red Boat) but can't get paste the rotten fish smell.
    Not at home.

    Most of the time, I hate fish sauce, but every once in a blue moon, I get a craving for it. When that happens, I go to a Vietnamese restaurant to satisfy the craving.

    It's funny. In Japanese cooking, a lot of effort is put into suppressing those very flavors that appear in fish sauce. I find it fascinating that the Japanese run away from those flavors, while Southeast Asians embrace those flavors. (I'm half Japanese if that matters.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Underseer View Post
    Gochujang

    If you watch any American cooking shows, no doubt you've already seen people using this ingredient. This is what most of the containers look like at the grocery store:

    I have a bottle of this in my fridge.

    I don't have a lot of rhyme or reason when it comes to picking condiments and sauces. I usually just pick from whatever shelf I'm looking at, and tend toward hearty/spicy varieties. The sweetest I get are BBQ sauces, and sometimes Sweet Chili, but I'll usually mix that with hot pepper.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Underseer View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    One thing I don't like about most Chinese condiments (anything in a jar) is the huge amount of salt. The same with boxed Indian foods. That said, it seems the Chinese use fermented bean paste in almost everything. I need to look for the low salt versions as with soy sauce and worstershire sauce. BTW, anyone use fish sauce? I bought one of the better brands (Red Boat) but can't get paste the rotten fish smell. …
    If you put soy sauce in something and the result is too salty, put less soy sauce in it next time.

    That goes double for fermented bean paste. It's not just the salt, but that intense bean flavor can easily overpower everything else if you use too much of it.

    Everything in moderation, right?

    BTW, anyone use fish sauce? I bought one of the better brands (Red Boat) but can't get paste the rotten fish smell.
    Not at home.

    Most of the time, I hate fish sauce, but every once in a blue moon, I get a craving for it. When that happens, I go to a Vietnamese restaurant to satisfy the craving.

    It's funny. In Japanese cooking, a lot of effort is put into suppressing those very flavors that appear in fish sauce. I find it fascinating that the Japanese run away from those flavors, while Southeast Asians embrace those flavors. (I'm half Japanese if that matters.)
    I had two Tuna Poke Bowls today. My kidneys are saying "Maybe not. Everything in moderation. I love it too much, but it also has a fair amount of sodium..."


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    I admit that I am extremely fussy. My three favorite sauces are Fischer and Wieser's Charred Pineapple Bourbon sauce, which is delicious on grilled salmon or steak. For pork tenderloin, I prefer Braswell's Select, Cherry Balsamic Grilling Sauce, and for grilled or stir fried chicken, I prefer Iron Chef, Orange Sauce glaze with ginger. I can usually find the first two at Amazon, or in a large store in Atlanta that sells fancy sauces. The orange sauce is sold at our local Ingles.

    My husband cooks for me so I have no recipes to share. I just love those three sauces.

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    Oh, I forgot. If you want a cheap, not too spicy barbecue sauce, try Kraft's brown sugar sauce. It's great on baby back ribs.

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