After recent tabloid reports of a supermarket rush on jars of a deeply addictive new Belgian caramel biscuit spread, it’s time to get ahead of the next big food fads. Here, the food writer Tim Hayward gives a sneak preview of five things you’re going to need in your store cupboard this year. Stockpile them now in case they run out.
1. Black garlic
While it looks like one of those traditional Chinese ingredients that has been around since the stone age, black garlic was, in fact, developed quite recently as a health supplement in Korea. It’s made by subjecting normal cloves to gentle heat over many weeks, until they become black, sweetish and loaded with umami. Black garlic adds complexity to dishes and has already experienced something of a craze in the US.
A citrus fruit with a taste halfway between grapefruit and tangerine, this is a popular flavouring in Japanese cuisine and is available as a concentrate liquid in tiny bottles. Anyone old enough to remember when we bought our lemon juice as concentrate in a small plastic bottle should please keep very quiet. This is kinda “Zen” and, like, totally not Jif.
Shrimp’n’grits is a southern US thing; a kind of cornmeal porridge, enriched with butter and cheese and topped with grilled prawns and bacon bits. That doesn’t do it justice. It’s so staggeringly delicious that grown men with names like Bubba can be reduced to tears by it.
Beetroot is good for your system and so joyless to eat that it must be spiritually elevating – but at least it also looks lovely on the plate. As a bonus, it usually has zero food miles. It grows here in the UK and nobody else – save the Australians – will eat it.
5. Sriracha hot sauce
Sriracha is a time-honoured and authentic Vietnamese condiment but that’s not what we’re talking about here. What you need is the stuff that chefs have kept secretly on the shelf for years as a flavour enhancer to liven up staff meals; a distinctive red bottle with a green cap and a picture of a rooster on it. This is sriracha from the Huy Fong Foods company, who launched it in California in 1980. When you absolutely, positively, have to wipe out every taste receptor in your mouth, accept no substitute.
Tim Hayward is an FT Weekend contributing writer and author of ‘Food DIY’ (Fig Tree). His article on food and courtship is in FT Weekend Magazine
Letter in response to this article: