Eight foods in the world food aisle you have to try
By Hannah Mendelsohn
When it comes to cooking the phrase the world’s your oyster really does ring true. Especially now that British supermarkets are stocking more and more foods from every corner of the globe. Here are some of the gems hidden away in the world food aisle that are guaranteed to liven up your cooking.
This fragrant herb mix is a popular ingredient in many a Middle Eastern dish. Even though its name means “thyme” in Arabic, the eponymous herb is combined with sesame seeds, marjoram and sometimes sumac to create the mix. It’s versatile too – use it to add flavour to roasted veg, breads and meats, mix it with olive oil for a delicious dip or sprinkle into salad dressings for added oomph. The za’atar possibilities are endless.
This nutty spice mix, originates from Egypt and is best served with pitta – dip the toasted flatbread in olive oil, then in dukkah and you’re good to munch. The mix is simple – hazelnuts, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds and sesame seeds are toasted then blitzed. It’s also a delicious seasoning so sprinkle liberally over salads, roasted vegetables, hummus or rice for an Egyptian crunch.
Originating in Jamaica, jerk cooking is a traditionally meat-centric style of cooking where meats are marinated in a hot spice mixture – jerk spice. This seasoning is now readily available in supermarkets, so if you’re looking for a way to spice up (sorry not sorry!) your chicken, add this to your cupboard asap. The main ingredients are allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers – it’s for hotheads only. These days it’s also used to season anything from fish to beef to tofu, so there’s sure to be a recipe for everyone.
This condiment is the key to good homemade hummus. Tahini’s origin is unclear but it’s a prominent ingredient in Eastern Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and North African cuisines. It’s even found in some Chinese and Southeast Asian cooking. It’s made from toasted sesame seeds and can be enjoyed as a dip in its own right, as well as in other dips like hummus, baba ghanoush and halva.
Wasabi is a plant that’s also known as Japanese Horseradish and in paste-form it’s a key condiment for sushi. It tastes similar to hot mustard or horseradish and it’s now readily available in supermarkets – the perfect finishing touch for your homemade sushi.
Known as the national condiment of Tunisia, although Harissa originally hales from this North African country the hot chilli pepper paste can be found in cooking across the Maghreb region. Red peppers are the key ingredient, however it can vary with additions of anything from garlic to lemon juice. In Saharan regions it can even have a smoky flavour. It’s a versatile condiment that is ideal as a marinade for meat or as a dressing.
If you’re looking for a new mixer, we have you covered courtesy of this Polish juice. Made with apple, lime and cactus Sabina, Melting Pot’s Polish Social Media Editor, says that in Poland: “Someone will always bring it to house parties. You usually end up drinking it with vodka.”
We couldn’t help but include something from the American section, so if you want to indulge in a spot of Americana this one’s for you. Supermarkets are full of American classics these days, from Nerds to Twinkies, but our pick is the iconic Lucky Charms cereal. If you don’t want it for breakfast, you can bake with it too – a win-win in the Melting Pot book.