Everyone has their own way of doing things. Especially when it comes to cooking. Family recipes that are passed from generation to generation, many of which have some…unusual amendments to well known dishes.
People have been sharing some of their must try secret ingredients that revolutionise traditional cooking.
Here are some of the strangest secret ingredients we’ve found.
#1. Lemon in pasta
Next time you’re cooking pasta, instead of reaching for the salt shaker, why not grab a lemon? People use lemons in their pasta dishes to cut down on their sodium while boosting flavour. Works well in either tomato or creamy based recipes for a little extra zing.
#2. Coffee on steak
Put some pep in your steak, with a dash of…coffee? Fine espresso grounds mixed into a rub with oregano, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper and chilli flakes makes for a rich flavour.
#3. Chocolate in chilli
For adding a little richness into your chilli con carne, sprinkle in some chocolate chips along with your salt and pepper. Dark chocolate is best for that deep, aromatic flavour.
#4. Peanut butter in burgers
This trick ensures your homemade patties get crispy on the outside, while the inside stays nice and juicy. Add a dollop of smooth peanut butter to the ground beef for the ultimate burger recipe.
#5. Salt on apples
The reason apples turn brown when sliced is oxidation – where the flesh is exposed to oxygen which causes enzymes to react, turning it brown. To stop this happening, submerge your apple slices in cold water seasoned with a pinch of salt. The salt also helps boost the apple’s natural sweetness and counteract any bitterness.
#6. Honey on pizza
Some people put sugar on their pizza crust to make it golden brown. Using honey not only helps achieve that mouth watering golden colour, but it also helps keep the dough moist, while enhancing the flavour. Honey is antibacterial, which helps stop mould, meaning your pizza will last longer, too.
#7. Soy sauce on ice cream
Soy sauce does not sound like an obvious choice when getting ready to enjoy a bowl of ice cream. However, soy sauce actually enhances the sweetness of ice cream. Why not give it a try?
#8. Ketchup on popcorn
Make tangy popcorn everyone will love by adding a dash of ketchup to the mix. Mix 3 tbsp ketchup with 2 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp sugar in a saucepan and cook on a medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Drizzle it over some popcorn and bake in the oven for 12 minutes at 300F.
#9. Salt in hot chocolate
Bring out the chocolatey flavour with a pinch of salt in your mug. Same goes for chocolate cake, pudding, brownies – anything chocolate!
#10. Banana in spaghetti
This one really surprised us. But, it turns out, the sweetness of banana, combined with a hearty meat sauce makes for an exciting and flavourful combination.
#11. Vanilla in tomato pasta sauce
Add ½ tsp vanilla extract in with your tomato pasta sauce to help blend all the flavours together.
#12. Sprite in pancake batter
The bubbles from Sprite (or even champagne if you have some lying around) help make your pancakes light and fluffy.
#13. Coffee in chocolate cake
We’ve already mentioned how some people swear by adding salt to their chocolate dishes. Another great chocolate combo ingredient is coffee grounds. Next time you’re baking a chocolate cake, making a milkshake or a tray of brownies, add in some coffee for a rich flavour.
#14. Pickle juice in chilli
The vinegary tang of pickle juice adds an ‘umami’ flavour to dishes like chilli, marinara sauce, baked beans and even soups. Plus, the acidity gives dishes some extra freshness.
#15. Cinnamon in your pot roast
Adding a dash of cinnamon in your pot roast gives it an interesting, exotic flavour that will delight your dinner guests and keep them guessing.
#16. Mayonnaise in chocolate cake
This does NOT sound appetising, whatsoever. But, when you think it through, mayonnaise is mostly eggs and oil. And the people who swear by this ingredient say you definitely can’t taste the mayonnaise. It just makes the cake more tender and moist. Some even add it to boxed cake mix to make their taste more homemade!
We’ve also heard of sauerkraut being used in chocolate cake recipes to give it a tang and keep it moist. Worth a try, perhaps?
#17. Orange peel in spaghetti sauce
This hack involves keeping the peel from an orange and letting it dry over a few days. Add a piece of the dried peel into your spaghetti sauce to give a subtle, natural sweetness to the dish.
#18. Vegemite, Marmite or fish sauce in bolognese
People have a lot of suggestions when it comes to bolognese sauce, but some of the most common surprise additions were yeast extract such as Marmite or fish sauce. This gives the dish an ‘umami bomb’ of flavour.
#19. Lapsang souchong tea on steak
Add some ground lapsang souchong tea leaves to your steak rub to give it that lovely smoky, leathery flavour. It also works well in Mexican dishes like chilli and spicy rice.
#20. Prune juice in beef stew
Not such a ‘secret’ ingredient, but surprising nonetheless – TV chef Marco Pierre White recommends adding prune juice to your beef stew. The sweetness helps round out the flavour of the stew and nicely compliments the vegetables. Prunes have also been used in several of the winning recipes for the world championship chilli cook offs. So, next time you’re cooking a beef dish, throw in a couple of prunes and see what happens.
Cooking doesn’t need to be boring, especially with some of these bizarre suggestions to try out!
Perhaps you have some weird and wonderful secret ingredients you can’t do without. Why not share them with us? If you love cooking, Kitchen Rank can help you find the best gadgets and appliances around.