5 must-have condiments for Indian taste buds
Condiments usually mean pickled or preserved foods, sauces, or other preparations that are added to recipes to enhance their flavor or complement the dish. Sometimes the term is also used to describe such items that are added after cooking, like ketchup. Here's a list of five condiments you must have in your Indian kitchen to master the culinary art and please your loved ones.
Ketchup is probably the most-loved condiment across the world. You can find sweet ketchup, tangy ketchup, and a spicy one as well, depending on where you are. Tomato ketchup is also used while cooking dishes as a substitute for tomatoes. Although it has no nutritional value, ketchup is the go-to condiment for french fries, burgers, sandwiches, and fried chicken.
Vinegar mainly comprises acetic acid. Several types of vinegar are available in the market, based on what they are sourced from. For example rice, malt, apple cider, etc. It is a constant in Chinese cuisine and is also used in pickling. While it adds an amazing tang to the dishes, it is also widely used as a cleaning agent at home.
A liquid condiment majorly used in Chinese cuisine, soy sauce made its way into India ages ago as we Indianized Chinese dishes to fit our taste. Traditionally prepared with fermented soybean paste, brine, and aspergillus oryzae (a fungus), it is considered to contain a strong umami flavor. Soy sauce is used in chowmein, ramen, fried rice, chilli paneer, among many other dishes.
Kashundi is a Bengali variety of mustard sauce. It retains the pungent flavor from the paste of fermented mustard seeds and spices. Sometimes it tends to have added flavors of dried mangoes and olives. This popular dipping sauce goes well with fried snacks like cutlets and chops and is also used to mix with mashed potatoes, or fried saag during lunch.
Indians have a special love for their achaar (pickle). Needless to say, there is a huge variety of achaar available in the market. While almost all variants can be bought from the market, some are relatively simpler to prepare at home, provided you have enough sunlight. From our regular vegetable pickle to lime pickle to mango pickle to mutton pickle, there's something for everyone.