I was fresh out of culinary school at The Culinary Institute of America and I was a line cook part of the opening crew at Spice Market in NYC – a restaurant by Chef Jean Georges Vongerichten.
I quickly fell in love with the cuisine because it was fresh and bold and seemed to hit every taste at once! It was Southeast Asian cuisine and had flavors from Vietnam, Indonesia, even influences from China and India.
I’m always talking about how recipes are instructions for that particular meal, but once you have proper technique and flavor combos, you can create whatever you want!
Here are some ingredients to try to make something different. You can find some in your local grocery in the international sections, others you may need to go to an Asian/Indian grocery and I’ve linked some you can get on amazon!
Thai Basil: Thai basil has a purple stem and has more of a licorice flavor than regular basil. It’s native to Southeast Asia and is not a replacement for Italian basil.
Chiles: These Thai chiles add a great heat and have a distinct fruity flavor
Cilantro: Here is a delicious marinade for beef that I learned at spice market
Fish Sauce: This is one of those ingredients that STINKS but adds so much dimension of flavor. Worth a try!
Lemongrass: Here’s how I chop it. It’s one of my favorite ingredients! Lemony, floral and unlike anything
Tamarind: Here are 15 recipes that use this delicious sweet and sour pulp!
Coconut: Here is a delicious chicken coconut soup that you must try!
Ginger: Ginger along with garlic and even lemongrass is a common base of flavor in many Southeast Asian dishes, so use this instead of carrots, celery and onion to start your meal with aromatics that have an Asian flair.
I hope this inspires you to try something new this week! If you do, let me know about it and reply or tag me @plantainsandchallah on instagram!