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The All-Mighty Condiment

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?

Jonathan
http://buildingmybento.com
http://collaterallettuce.com

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

      1. 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. My dad would sometimes make sandwiches from leftover gravy.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ennuisans

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

            3 Replies
            1. re: Gloriaa

              What is La Bomba? Forgive my ignorance.

              1. re: HungryBaby

                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

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

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

              Pickle chips without the requisite burger

              1. 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. Gojugang!

                    I think it's the ultimate condiment

                    15 Replies
                    1. re: C. Hamster

                      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

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

                        1. re: Tripeler

                          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

                            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

                              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

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

                                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                    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

                                      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

                                        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

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

                                        1. re: JMF

                                          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

                                            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

                                              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

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

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

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: LeoLioness

                                  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

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

                                    1. Aji verde
                                      Tomatillo salsa

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

                                        1. 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

                                            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

                                              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

                                                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

                                                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

                                                  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

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

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: Gastronomos

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

                                                  1. re: ennuisans

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

                                                  2. re: Gastronomos

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

                                                    1. re: Gastronomos

                                                      one of these plastic jars per hot dog:

                                                       
                                                      1. re: Gastronomos

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

                                                         
                                                    2. 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

                                                        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

                                                          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

                                                            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

                                                              YUM!

                                                              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

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

                                                          1. re: JMF

                                                            Hooray for you!

                                                            Care to share your methods and suggestions?

                                                            1. re: rainey

                                                              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

                                                                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

                                                                  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

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

                                                            2. re: rainey

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

                                                              1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                                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

                                                                  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.

                                                                  Jonathan
                                                                  http://buildingmybento.com
                                                                  http://collaterallettuce.com

                                                                2. re: BuildingMyBento

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

                                                              2. Pimento cheese.

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

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: grumblebee

                                                                  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. From scratch peanut sauce for satay.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: akachochin

                                                                    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!