The best flavor boosters for the home cook, according to Preeti Mistry, a former Top Chef Contestant, are detailed on the Kitchn as part of their Expert Essentials for the Home Cook series. Read on to make your dishes extra delicious!
First of all, make sure you understand how to use salt and impart its flavor to your food. Preeti recommends using salt continually while cooking, instead of just adding it when you are done. You should salt onions while sauteing to release their liquid, and salt an eggplant before you cook it.
Understand what acid can bring to dishes, not just obvious ones but in rich and creamy dishes as well. Lemon and lime juice, vinegar, tomatoes, tamarind and sumac are all great ways to add acid to your dishes to balance the flavor. You should also roast and grind your own spices. First, roast your spices in a dry frying pan over medium heat, shaking the pan until the spices smell strongly and there is a wisp of smoke. Then pour the spices onto a cool plate to instantly stop them from cooking. Once they’ve cooled down, use a coffee grinder, (although be sure to only use it for spices) to grind them for your recipe.
Preeti also recommends growing your own herbs in pots. You should grow the ones you use the most, but thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage, and parsley are absolutely necessary. Her final trick is to use salted anchovies and add them when you are sauteing onion and garlic, using your spoon to break them up. They will add a special savoriness that won’t be identifiable as coming from anchovies.