Condiments are an essential part of cooking and serving food. They not only enhance or compliment main dishes, but they also add great flavor, unique texture and open up opportunities to experience new cuisines.
Every cuisine has condiments that are unique, ranging from the traditional Salsa, sambal, pickles and chutneys to contemporary mayonnaise and ketchups.
I was born into a traditional Indian family, where crafted condiments were a necessity in home cooking. Even though spices, spice blends, and pickles were commodities and widely available in every retail store, each home had their own exclusive blend of seasonings and unique combinations for their pickles and spice blends. These were used in cooking and sometimes even consumed as accompaniments with snacks and main dishes.
As a culinarian, I see great value for crafted condiments across the industry, particurarly in any restaurant or food service environment.
A wide variety of dips, sauces and condiments on a table adds another dimension of flavor to food - and few restaurants are adding authentic storylines to their dishes by serving artisanal condiments to express the strong culture behind their cuisine types, creating an opportunity to differentiate. With advancements in food technology and food preservation, more crafted condiments are also becoming increasingly available in shelf stable formats for consumers use at home.
This is a very competitive industry and many of us share similar knowledge and resources. Crafted condiments are strongly influencing the shifting trends in the industry by adding the unique selling proposition (USP) to products and dishes through its "differentiation factor". We have been witnessing these changes in both the retail market and food industry through the variety of condiments in various formats.
In the end what makes a burger, salad or rice taste unique? It comes back to the sauce, relish, salad dressing or the sambal or chutneys which are simple condiments that can add and blend complex flavours.
One of my personal favorites...Mangai Pachadi - a simple blend of green mango chunks, slow cooked with tumeric in a jaggery syrup, just seasoned with salt and finished with a tempering of black mustard seeds, curry leaves and dry red chilies.