Weird and Wonderful
You may never have tried these ingredients, but they’re easier to use than you think!by Leslie Clark
The kitchen is a great place to get creative, and trying new ingredients is a perfect way to spice up your mealtime routine. Here are some unconventional foods to add to your repertoire; they might even become new favourites!
Also known as pitaya, you may have seen these prickly pink fruits at an Asian market or maybe in your regular grocery store. Cutting one open exposes white flesh with hundreds of tiny black seeds. They have a sweet flavour and texture sometimes compared to kiwifruit. Eating them raw is the best way to go — they would be great served as a part of a dessert fruit platter with papaya and mango, and they can also be juiced.
Zucchini is a popular ingredient in many styles of cooking, but its flowers can be eaten also. They’re picked when only slightly opened, and are used in many different ways. In Mexican cooking they are stirred into soups, but can also be stuffed, battered and fried.
Normally we expect to see sauerkraut (a pickled cabbage dish from Germany) on our Oktoberfest sausages, but ExtremeChocolate.com has other ideas. Namely, using it as an ingredient in cake batter! If you’re feeling adventurous, check out their recipe for Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake.
A striking version of a familiar vegetable, blue potatoes were first grown in South America. When raw, their skin is purplish, and it turns blue when cooked. You can use blue potatoes any way you’d use white or red-skinned potatoes. They can also be mixed with more familiar varieties to add visual interest; for example, in a salad or for homemade potato chips.
Many Mexican recipes combine chili peppers with chocolate — some mole sauces, for example — but it’s a combination that is still unfamiliar to many. In addition to putting chocolate into savoury dishes, you can also switch up chocolate desserts by adding hot chillies, as in the cupcakes pictured. Several companies, such as Lindt, also carry chocolate bars containing chillies.
Whether you’re experimenting for fun or want to serve something different to guests, branching out and trying new things will add some excitement to your kitchen!