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The All-Mighty Condiment

BuildingMyBento Sep 7, 2013 10:16 AM

BBQ tempts you
The lingering smoke, the meat
Ssamjang's the true goal

I'm not always in the mood for eating something- a falafel sandwich, Korean bbq- but I am much more likely to crave the condiments that go with those, or other dishes.

But what's a condiment? Sometimes you'd see a hummus sandwich on offer, but hummus is just as welcome on falafel or köfte. The closest ketchup gets to being the main attraction is Campbell's tomato soup, but that's an insult to ketchup, to be sure. Maoz has a few things I'd be glad to have by their lonesome.

In any event, do you ever want to eat something solely to serve as a vehicle for the extras? Have you tried say, wasabi or kaymak with tacos or scones, respectively?


  1. a
    akachochin Sep 13, 2013 07:40 AM

    From scratch peanut sauce for satay.

    1 Reply
    1. re: akachochin
      rainey Sep 13, 2013 07:55 AM

      AMEN! I tried about a dozen recipes before I came up with the one that was right for me. But, once done, besides satay, it makes a great sauce to toss noodles in and even a dip for veggies.

      I love that stuff!

    2. grumblebee Sep 11, 2013 02:31 PM

      Pimento cheese.

      Crackers, crudites, bread, chips... no matter. The STAR is that delicious, creamy, fatty, spread of awesomeness.

      1 Reply
      1. re: grumblebee
        Veggo Sep 13, 2013 08:13 AM

        PC is a bit more than a condiment, but after I learned here what a boost it gets from a bit of cayenne I sure have been making it often.

      2. r
        rainey Sep 11, 2013 09:06 AM

        Did anyone say vinegar? I am actually much more enamored with vinegar than wine. Wine tastes "unfinished" to me and I have been known to open a favorite vinegar and take an occasional sip.

        It brightens all kinds of things from berries to soup and the right one elevates simple steamed vegetables to showstoppers.

        My very favorites are a syrupy balsamic named Villa Manodori and a Sauvignon Blanc made by Katz in Napa but I'm also very partial to a light fruity pomegranate vinegar bottled by Spindel Farms in Southern California. Can't forget seasoned rice wine vinegar. I was, like everyone else, brought up thinking the choice was apple cider vinegar or white vinegar until I tasted how lively seasoned rice wine vinegar was.

        14 Replies
        1. re: rainey
          fldhkybnva Sep 11, 2013 09:11 AM

          Vinegar (see above). I don't actually drink wine but on more than one occasion some might describe my vinegar consumption as wine. I love the stuff in nearly any variety. I love apple cider as well as malt

          1. re: fldhkybnva
            rainey Sep 11, 2013 09:21 AM

            I see we're of like minds. ; > I always feel so awkward as a person for whom food is important but wine is so not.

            But vinegar? That's a different thing for me. It's essential.

            1. re: rainey
              JonParker Sep 11, 2013 09:30 AM

              This made me wonder how much vinegar I have. I counted 14 different kinds, not counting duplicates (i.e. balsamic was one vinegar even though I have several different kinds).

              While I was in there I cut up a fresh Mortgage Lifter tomato from the garden, drizzled it with olive oil and sherry vinegar, and I'm eating it right now.

              1. re: JonParker
                rainey Sep 11, 2013 09:43 AM


                After you have thoroughly enjoyed that, cut another one open and salt it with smoked salt. Not one of those heavy oily ones but a flaky one with just the right hint of smoke. Heaven!

          2. re: rainey
            JMF Sep 11, 2013 11:12 AM

            Vinegar! I make all kinds, literally dozens, from all types of wines, beer, cider, mead, etc..

            1. re: JMF
              rainey Sep 11, 2013 02:13 PM

              Hooray for you!

              Care to share your methods and suggestions?

              1. re: rainey
                JMF Sep 11, 2013 02:29 PM

                Somewhere on here or home cooking is a lengthy thread about vinegar making. If you can't find it, why don't you start one on the home cooking board.

                1. re: JMF
                  Gloriaa Sep 11, 2013 02:31 PM

                  Biggest mistake I ever made was telling my husband I was interested in making vinegar. Guess what I got for my birthday? Turned me off for life.

                  1. re: Gloriaa
                    JMF Sep 11, 2013 02:36 PM

                    I bet it was a big ole red wine vinegar mother. A darn ugly thing, even if you are used to it.

                  2. re: JMF
                    rainey Sep 11, 2013 02:39 PM

                    OK. Thanks. I'll go looking for it/them.

              2. re: rainey
                BuildingMyBento Sep 12, 2013 06:27 PM

                Have you tried the "drinkable" vinegars? They seem to be slightly popular in East Asia.

                1. re: BuildingMyBento
                  fldhkybnva Sep 12, 2013 08:03 PM

                  Aren't they all drinkable? But in all seriousness, perhaps my local Asian grocery might carry these and I can save my throat and teeth the trauma, semi jk

                  1. re: fldhkybnva
                    BuildingMyBento Sep 13, 2013 03:23 PM

                    I was passing through a department store food hall in Tokyo when I was first offered a taste of "drinking vinegar." I can't remember all of the flavors, but strawberry and apple seemed common.

                    Sure, you can go into a specialty store and sample some balsamics/flavor-infused vinegars, but the ones I saw in Japan and China were to straight up drink.


                  2. re: BuildingMyBento
                    rainey Sep 12, 2013 08:13 PM

                    Do you mean shrubs? No I haven't yet. I'm happy to just sip my vinegars.

                2. Gastronomos Sep 10, 2013 10:13 AM

                  a hot dog is nothing more to me than a vehicle for a jar of mustard.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Gastronomos
                    ennuisans Sep 10, 2013 11:23 AM

                    A friend once told me that pasta was merely a "red sauce delivery device".

                    1. re: ennuisans
                      JonParker Sep 10, 2013 01:16 PM

                      One of the things that kills my diet is treating a baked potato as a sour cream & butter delivery device.

                    2. re: Gastronomos
                      Perilagu Khan Sep 10, 2013 02:08 PM

                      I dunno. The glass tends to stick in my craw.

                      1. re: Gastronomos
                        Gastronomos Sep 10, 2013 06:16 PM

                        one of these plastic jars per hot dog:

                        1. re: Gastronomos
                          JonParker Sep 10, 2013 07:38 PM

                          I like that, but the truth is I prefer this:

                      2. r
                        rainey Sep 9, 2013 11:40 PM

                        Homemade mustard can be better than what you spread it on. Easy too.

                        Soak mustard seeds for a couple days in a brine of water and vinegar. Brown seeds are more firey than yellow. Or make any blend you prefer. Whirl them with a stick blender until they're as coarse or fine as you like (you won't get it really, really fine with a stick blender but some texture is half of why you're making it yourself). Taste it and season with a bit of salt and whatever else you like: some horseradish, roasted garlic, honey, herbs, etc, I like to take some of the edge off mine with some kind of jam like fig or onion. Make yours more intense with some jalapeño jam if that's what floats your boat.

                        Let it sit another day or two in the fridge to get rich and mellow then thin it if necessary. This is another opportunity to add flavor. Use beer, wine, more vinegar, fruit juice, mayo, water, whatever you like.

                        The possibilities are endless. The flavor exactly what pleases you and maybe something you've never gotten to try before.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: rainey
                          fldhkybnva Sep 10, 2013 07:00 AM

                          Homemade mustard sounds amazing and I love mustard. What ratios do you use for your brine or does it not matter much? I'm sure you could really vary the flavors which would be great, do you have a favorite?

                          1. re: fldhkybnva
                            rainey Sep 10, 2013 03:18 PM

                            I use 3/4 cup of vinegar and 1/3 cup of water as the brine for 1/2 cup of mustard seeds. Once it's brined I start with 1 1/4 tsp of honey and 1 1/2 tsp of salt and go from there.

                            I my favorite was a combination of well balanced and fruity pomegranate vinegar from Spindel Farms (that Whole Foods no longer seems to carry and I don't know what I'll do without...) and a balsamic and fig jam. But you can't go wrong if you use your own preferences and tastebuds as your guide.

                            My husband and I have always liked mustard and kept quite a few in the fridge. I made this on a lark a couple years ago and we never buy mustard anymore!

                            1. re: fldhkybnva
                              JMF Sep 11, 2013 08:45 AM

                              There are tons of recipes for mustard on the web. I've made all kinds, yellow and brown and mixed. Whole seed, partially ground, and smooth paste. And have used bourbon, brandy, liqueurs, dried fruit, nuts, all kinds of spices, etc. It's fun and easy. I just bought both brown and yellow the other day when I finally ran out of all my last ones in the fridge.

                            2. re: rainey
                              Dirtywextraolives Sep 10, 2013 10:07 AM

                              What a fantastic idea! Thanks for the inspiration! Of course, I've got several open jars already......better start finishing those up!

                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                INDIANRIVERFL Sep 10, 2013 11:38 AM

                                I remember homemade mustard as a kid in the 60s. Came as a dry packet with the frozen egg rolls. Mom would add water, and it really cleaned out the sinuses!

                                1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
                                  rainey Sep 10, 2013 03:22 PM

                                  I've heard that one of the attractions to the baseball field in Cleveland is the mustard. Never been to Cleveland. Couldn't say. But there are two rival families that contend that they make the "authentic" mustard from Cleveland Stadium.

                            3. BobB Sep 9, 2013 07:34 AM

                              I eat gefilte fish solely as a vehicle for as much fresh-made horseradish as I can pile onto it.

                              1. tcamp Sep 9, 2013 06:48 AM

                                Aji verde
                                Tomatillo salsa

                                1. mtlcowgirl Sep 8, 2013 11:59 AM

                                  Matouk's, but not as a condiment. I used it as a glaze in cooking.

                                  1. fldhkybnva Sep 8, 2013 11:44 AM

                                    My meals are often inspired by the condiment I plan to eat with it. A few favorites
                                    -Chili Garlic Sauce/Hot sauce in any form really but I have 4 or 5 favorites - eggs are a vehicle for hot sauce
                                    -Vinegar - salads are a vehicle for a shot of acid
                                    -Mustard - I will squirt it on anything, eggs, burger, steak, chicken, it's really all about the mustard

                                    1. l
                                      LeoLioness Sep 8, 2013 11:22 AM

                                      I use french fries as a vehicle for really good homemade mayo.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: LeoLioness
                                        JonParker Sep 9, 2013 11:43 PM

                                        I also use them as a vehicle for malt vinegar.

                                        My real answer would be hot sauce. I keep several different kinds in rotation, all with different uses.

                                        1. re: JonParker
                                          fldhkybnva Sep 10, 2013 07:01 AM

                                          How could I forget about fries and malt vinegar, used to be a vehicle for ketchup and malt vinegar but now just a vehicle for malt vinegar, I don't even like fries that much. Now I just pour malt vinegar on whatever I can, turkey club wraps or sandwich or popcorn.

                                      2. JMF Sep 8, 2013 07:57 AM

                                        If you consider pickled ginger like served with sushi, or wasabi as condiments, I make and eat both by themselves. Tzatziki I will have with crackers, potato chips, bread, or just eat with a spoon.

                                        Occasionally I like a good dose of super hot sauce first thing in the morning instead of caffeine or painkillers. The endorphin rush takes care of my early morning joint pains, and leaves me mellow for hours.

                                        I also like spoonfuls, or even small glasses of vinegar. Balsamic, or one of the dozen or so I make myself. Mostly straight, sometimes cut with cold water as a drink.

                                        Fresh, raw, homemade sauerkraut. Tart, tangy, crisp, deliciousness; and crazy healthy with all those pro-biotics.

                                        A local sushi place has a great house made ginger/carrot salad dressing. I'll buy that and then some celery, zucchini, or yellow bell pepper and slice them up to use as a vehicle to get the dressing in m mouth.

                                        1. chartreauxx Sep 7, 2013 07:47 PM

                                          nuoe cham ga: thai sweet chili sauce.

                                          improved everything from sandwiches to fried rice, steamed rice, salads, spring rolls (to dip), and macaroni+cheese.

                                          amazing, balanced, sweet, sour, spicy, savory... love the stuff.

                                          second place for me is balsamic vinegar.

                                          1. C. Hamster Sep 7, 2013 04:01 PM


                                            I think it's the ultimate condiment

                                            15 Replies
                                            1. re: C. Hamster
                                              Dirtywextraolives Sep 7, 2013 07:37 PM

                                              I agree, tho it's a tie for me between goochujang, sesame sauce for shabu shabu & Youki brand paste made with yuzu, salt & chiles. I use all of them on my lettuce wraps, and the sesame sauce is *awesome* on fried rice.

                                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                                Tripeler Sep 7, 2013 07:41 PM

                                                Is this "Youki brand paste" you mention called "Yuzu Kosho?"

                                                1. re: Tripeler
                                                  Dirtywextraolives Sep 7, 2013 07:47 PM

                                                  It may be, I can't read Japanese..... It's a smallish light green tube, and I get it at my local Japanese supermarkets in LA.

                                                  1. re: Tripeler
                                                    chartreauxx Sep 7, 2013 08:05 PM

                                                    if it's really a yuzu, salt, and chili paste, then by definition it's yuzu kosho. looks like youki makes a variety of condiments, yuzu kosho among them.

                                                    1. re: chartreauxx
                                                      Dirtywextraolives Sep 8, 2013 07:45 AM

                                                      Well, I know for sure that is the list of ingredients, just don't know what it's called since the English label was ripped off, and the ony English printed on it is Youki ;)

                                                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                                        chartreauxx Sep 8, 2013 07:50 AM

                                                        i speak/read japanese; can you post a picture of the label? sorry, curiosity is piqued :-)

                                                        1. re: chartreauxx
                                                          Dirtywextraolives Sep 8, 2013 01:26 PM


                                                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                                            chartreauxx Sep 10, 2013 01:47 PM

                                                            yep! it's yuzu kosho. ゆず (yuzu) is obviously the name of the japanese citrus fruit; it can also be written as 柚子. 胡椒, also written こしょう and pronounced koshou (long ohh sound on the end) means pepper. the writing recommends this condiment for use on soba, udon, etc. thanks for the pic!

                                                            1. re: chartreauxx
                                                              Dirtywextraolives Sep 10, 2013 02:10 PM

                                                              You bet, thanks for the info, now I will sound knowledgeable as I know what to call it, next time I go to the Japanese grocers! It's addictive, soooo good!

                                                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                                                chartreauxx Sep 10, 2013 08:01 PM

                                                                my boyfriend really likes it on chicken :-) it's also good added into pesto-type sauces, or as part of salad/cold pasta dressings.

                                                              2. re: chartreauxx
                                                                JMF Sep 11, 2013 08:42 AM

                                                                Yuzu Kosho can also be found in red and green versions.

                                                                1. re: JMF
                                                                  Tripeler Sep 12, 2013 08:06 PM

                                                                  I have never heard of the red version. Might that be "kanzuri" which is dark red, but looks very much like yuzu kosho?

                                                                  1. re: Tripeler
                                                                    Silverjay Sep 13, 2013 06:15 AM

                                                                    S&B makes it and it's available on Amazon. Obviously, they use red peppers and it's spicier. I've also had sweet versions of the green type at restaurants in Fukuoka. A lot of restaurants in Kyushu and Shikoku make and sell their own.

                                                                    1. re: Silverjay
                                                                      Tripeler Sep 13, 2013 07:04 AM

                                                                      Thanks, Silverjay. I have never seen or heard of it. Will try it if I run into it. However, the restaurants that make their own would get my vote.

                                                              3. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                                                Tripeler Sep 10, 2013 09:21 PM

                                                                Not one of the best brands, but still a pretty good one. If you can easily find it, then that's great.

                                                  2. 4
                                                    4Snisl Sep 7, 2013 03:55 PM

                                                    Toum. I love garlic!

                                                    1. s
                                                      suzigirl Sep 7, 2013 03:51 PM

                                                      There are places I go around here strictly for the condiments.
                                                      El Greco for the tzatziki
                                                      Rice box for the dumplings. The sauce rocks
                                                      Pegasus for the feta dip on the potato coins.
                                                      Mi Tierra for the vinegar hot sauce. It is impossible for me to figure it out and I cannot speak columbian. Wah. It is awesome.
                                                      The Honey Tree for the Greek dressing.
                                                      Lays potato chips just for the french onion dip.

                                                      So many more.

                                                      1. bagelman01 Sep 7, 2013 03:43 PM

                                                        Sauerkraut>>>>happy to eat a plate without the hot dogs or sausage underneath

                                                        Pickle chips without the requisite burger

                                                        1. g
                                                          Gloriaa Sep 7, 2013 03:37 PM

                                                          La bomba. I love it on bread or grilled cheese. Sooooo good.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: Gloriaa
                                                            HungryBaby Sep 8, 2013 01:30 PM

                                                            What is La Bomba? Forgive my ignorance.

                                                            1. re: HungryBaby
                                                              Gloriaa Sep 9, 2013 06:00 AM

                                                              It is an Italian condiment made with Calabrian peppers, mushrooms, eggplant....the one I like the best is from tuttocalabria and the name of the sauce is hot spread sauce. I've always called it la bomba! I have tried all of the ones I could find and this one is my favorite. You have to try it, it really is the best condiment ever!

                                                              1. re: Gloriaa
                                                                BuildingMyBento Sep 12, 2013 06:20 PM

                                                                A condiment with eggplant that's not baba ghanouj? I've gotta try that! What kind(s) of mushrooms?

                                                          2. e
                                                            ennuisans Sep 7, 2013 02:03 PM

                                                            My dad would sometimes make sandwiches from leftover gravy.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: ennuisans
                                                              rainey Sep 9, 2013 11:29 PM

                                                              I'm with your dad! I think cold gravy is as excellent on a turkey sandwich or a pot roast sandwich as it is on the hot entree for exactly the same reasons. It really moistens up a sandwich as well.

                                                              If it's a turkey sandwich I also put spread some cranberry sauce on the other slice. ; >

                                                            2. HungryBaby Sep 7, 2013 01:22 PM

                                                              Nuoc Cham!! Absolutely an amazing condiment (vietnamese). Its sweet, sour, funky, salty, acidic. It goes well over salad, vermicelli noodle salad, soup, and even over some mussels. It also makes a great dipping sauce. I got the recipe from the exec chef (Karen) at Boston's Myers&Chang (great restaurant BTW). That condiment is a hit at all my dinner parties. Definitely a must try, if you haven't done so already.

                                                              1. linguafood Sep 7, 2013 01:08 PM

                                                                Good mayonnaise.
                                                                Scotch bonnet hot sauce.
                                                                Compound butter.
                                                                Hollandaise & béarnaise.
                                                                Tzatziki & that fab garlic sauce for döner kebab.

                                                                1. Bob Martinez Sep 7, 2013 12:52 PM


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