Simple & cheap ways to spice up your everyday food

A lot of chefs say that if you think you need to add more salt, maybe you should think about reaching for some acid instead.

Acid as in lemon juice, lime juice, vinegars, or anything to give another flavour dimension to the dish, to brighten it up.

(Yes, I am addicted to Top Chef).

With that in mind, I’ve been experimenting with a few new favourite ingredients lately:

  • Ginger
  • Honey
  • Lemon
  • Green Onions

So far, these have been interesting flavour discoveries and I thought I’d share:

Hot drink of Fresh slices of Ginger & Honey

freshginger

With boiling hot water, throw in a good dollop of honey, and slice in fresh pieces ginger.

I usually like to dice them up into thin julienne strips.

The ginger is not too spicy or overpowering, as one might think, and it gives a good, subtle perfumey flavour to the hot drink.

You can use the ginger slices about twice or thrice, before having to discard them.

But I hate peeling ginger!!!

Me too. Until I found out this trick:

To quickly peel ginger without cutting yourself with a peeler, use a spoon to scrape the ginger. It’s super quick (quicker and easier than a peeler I’d say), and safe.

Like this:

peeling-ginger1

Via Brooklyn Farmhouse.

Use Green Onions (a.k.a. Scallions) or Lemon Zest in Sushi

green+onions+scallions

We make smoked salmon sushi a lot.

We used to love the avocado + smoked salmon mix, but as of late, we’ve discovered that thin julienned strips of green onions wrapped inside the smoked salmon in a sushi roll, is freaking AMAZING.

I am addicted.

Admittedly, I am also a scallion junkie, and will find any excuse to top any dish with them (raw and fresh), but this is really a new step for us!

It has a great light onion flavour, it isn’t too strong, and the crunch is amazing.

You’ll want to get some of the lighter green/white parts in there, or else the crunch won’t be as strong.

We’ve tried using cucumber before, but it was too mushy of a texture for my liking, and while I enjoyed the crunch, the flavour isn’t something I wholeheartedly embrace.

lemon+zest

Lemon Zest, when scraped off in small amounts, is edible and also incredible inside smoked salmon sushi.

It’s tasting sushi in a way I’ve never eaten it before.

It adds a nice, citrusy sort of chewy flavour to the sushi, and I’d suggest putting just a little rather than a lot

You don’t want to overpower the salmon.

I am going to start carrying my own tupperware boxes of grated lemon zest and julienned strips of green onion to sushi restaurants now.

Mix Lemon Juice with Soy Sauce

The Japanese have a mix like this already, called Ponzu shōyu, but I had never tried it before.

All it takes is a squirt or two of lemon juice, mixed quickly with a good splash of soy sauce, and the flavour combination is unbelievable in your mouth.

It really livens up the taste and perks up the flavour of soy sauce.

I even lightly dressed my leftover turkey deli meats in the sauce before I ate it draped over some poached eggs, and I couldn’t believe how delicious it was.

I want to try the mix with fresh salmon now.

And with lime juice.

ponzu-shoyu

So there you have it. With 4 simple, relatively cheap ingredients, you can spice up any meal quickly.

Any other suggestions on other simple & cheap flavour combinations I could try?

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About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.