Condiments and seasonings are used to give flavour or bring out the flavour in the dish. Different cuisines have their own tradition in the use of herbs, spices and sauces. Some products are universally used, such as ketchup or soy sauce. Many foodstuffs would taste bland if not for some kind of flavouring. Spices used to be a luxury only the wealthy could afford but are now sold in most supermarkets.
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Salt and Pepper
Salt and pepper can be added at the cooking stage or at the table, to any savoury meal or soup. The different kinds of salt include refined table salt, sea salt made from evaporated seawater and unrefined rock salt sold as crystals. Ground black or white pepper is used for seasoning.
Herbs can be added at the cooking stage or at the table. Some herbs, such as basil add sweetness. Some have a strong flavour, such as those used in Indian cooking like coriander and cumin. Parsley is used marinara sauce and commonly used as a plate garnish.
The most common spice is garlic, typically used in Italian dishes and in garlic bread. Indian cooking uses different blends of spices, the most common being cardamom, cumin and ginger. Turmeric is also used for its golden colour
Tomato ketchup is popular, particularly with fries. Barbecue sauce is popular with steaks and burgers. Horseradish sauce is eaten with roast beef and tartare sauce with fish. Chilli sauce is eaten with spicy Mexican food. Sweet and sour sauce and soy sauce are typically used to flavour Chinese dishes. Japanese food is flavoured with teriyaki sauce and hoisin sauce, Japanese cooking often involves miso, a fermented soya bean past. Mayonnaise is used in dips and salad dressings and as an accompaniment to salads.
Mustard is a paste made from ground mustard seeds,vinegar and seasonings. There are different kinds of varying strengths. American mustard is mild and sweet, as are most German ones. English mustard is quite hot and French mustard, such as Dijon, is quite pungent.
Relishes and Pickles
Popular relishes and pickles in the U.S. include Pickle Relish, a sweet accompaniment, Chow-chow, which is pickled vegetables in mustard, and generally any pickle with cucumber and spices. American relishes are usually made with sugar, salt and vinegar. Favourites across the world include the gherkin pickle and piccalilli, which is sour pickles and vegetables.
There are various types of vinegar. The most popular includes balsamic vinegar, made from cooked grapes and used in Italian cooking. Malt vinegar, made from malting barley, is popular in the U.K. and is used on the traditional ‘fish and chips’. Wine vinegar is made from white or red wine and is used for Italian dishes.
Salsa is Spanish for sauce and in 1991 this condiment surpassed ketchup as the most popular condiment in the U.S., according to madehow.com. Salsa is traditionally made from chopped tomatoes, chilli peppers, onions, garlic and herbs such as cilantro and oregano. It's most popular as a dip for chips, but is also used as a burger topping and goes great with eggs. Salsa has myriad uses in Spanish and Mexican cooking.
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