Expose Yourself To New, Hot, and Spicy Flavours

The Spice Is Right


Sometimes it’s a little daunting to try new ingredients. Will they taste good, be worth the money, and what do you use it for, anyway?

If your eyes glaze over while you are in the grocery aisles trying to figure out what to buy, you’re in luck. Fortunately, my teenager and I have adventurous tastes, and we’ve found some great things for you! If you like hot, spicy flavours, you’ll surely like these ingredients:

  Sambal Manis Pedas: Sound like a mouthful? This hot and sweet Indonesian chili sauce is often found in the grocery store’s ethnic section, near the Indian or Thai foods. Sweet with heat, as we call it, this sauce makes an excellent dip for roasted potato wedges, pizza, slathered on burgers, and more. You don’t need much, as it’s quite hot, but it’s one of those my-mouth-is-burning-but-I-love-it hot.

  Paprika: Hot, smoked, sweet, Hungarian, Spanishthere are all kinds of paprika to choose from. Not all have heat, but you can vary or even mix them to suit your tastes. Our favourite is smoked, which imparts a delicious flavour to everything from meat dishes to eggs. You don’t need a lot to feel its impact, so despite the fact that it’s a little more expensive, it’s well worth it.

  Chorizo sausage: Dried or fresh, you can find chorizo in most specialty delis or at a good grocery store. In my experience, dried has been the easiest to find. We love it diced in chili, added to soups and stews for a spicy kick, diced and put into egg dishes, or even sliced and added to pizza. Some are hotter than others, so you may want to taste it first, and the heat may even increase over time when you’ve added it to a dish.

  Chipotles: Smoked jalapenos that are packed in spicy abodo sauce, you’ll find these canned and in the Mexican food aisle at the grocery store. They pack a good deal of heat and should be used sparingly, but when pureed, add enormous flavour to just about anything. We especially like to stir bits into salad dressings, tomato sauces, chili, soups, and more.

  Sriracha: A hot sauce that originated in Thailand and used to top pho, fried noodles, or spring rolls. If you’re itching for spice, however, this fiery condiment can be a quick way to add a little kick to dishes. We use it sparingly on anything that needs a little heat.

Spill it! What do you use to spice up your food? Are you ready to try something new? Discover anything you want to share?

She may go by the name Scatteredmom online, but Karen really is anything but scattered when it comes to the kitchen.  Churning out tasty treats within view of the Georgia Strait on Canada's west coast, Karen will hand you an organized weekly meal plan or teach you how to make meals from scratch.  As Mom to a teenage boy, she knows exactly what it takes to keep kids full and happy-which has really come in handy with her job as the Food Editor at Yummy Mummy Club.

A strong supporter of Food Revolution who has been endorsed by Jamie Oliver himself, by day Karen can be found working as a special education teaching assistant, running a kitchen and showing teenagers how to cook nutritious meals for themselves.  By night, when she's not chatting on Twitter and answering cooking questions,  she writes her popular blog Notes From the Cookie Jar, or posting mouthwatering recipes over at Chasing Tomatoes.  Not afraid to give her opinion and passionate about community, Karen spoke at Blissdom Canada 2010 and her writing has been published in Canadian Living magazine, as well as in various online publications. 

Follow Karen on Twitter @scatteredmom