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What's a condiment you regularly use that you think most people don't know about?

I know all you chowhounds have tried and created all sorts of amazing, exotic condiments, but I'm less interested by the condiment you tried once or only pair with this one particular food or dish than I am by the condiments you use all the time and have to have in your fridge at all times.

What's a condiment you regularly use that you think most people don't know about?

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  1. We love condiments in our house -- our entire fridge door, with the except of room for 2 gallons of milk, is dedicated to condiments. :)

    I don't consider these "secret" condiments, per se, but we do have some regional condiments that we must always have in our house:

    Maggi's Tomato Chilli Sauce -- an Indian chilli sauce goes with everything from sandwiches to eggs to samosas. We go through a lot of this!
    Glory brand Chicken Rice Sauce -- Singaporean chilli sauce to go with Hainese Chicken Rice. I make my own sometimes but this is excellent for a bottled sauce and goes well with other things as well.
    TJ's Hot Sweet Mustard -- love this on a ham sandwich, or with sliced sausages or meat/cheese/cracker platter.

    9 Replies
    1. re: boogiebaby

      kochuchang
      nutritional yeast
      fermented tofu in chili oil
      Chinese black beans
      peanut gluten (small chunks of gluten stewed with soy, sugar and peanuts--Chinese store condiment)
      and some weird mushroom powder (it's white and crystalline, probably just MSG under anothe name!)

      1. re: femmevox

        I just bought some nutritional yeast and I have no idea how to use it. Any advice?

        1. re: Gloriaa

          In vegan diets it is often used to replace the flavor of cheese. Try it sprinkled on salads, pasta, omelets (if you eat eggs) or added to sauces. It isn't a strong flavor so don't be afraid to experiment.

          1. re: Gloriaa

            I grew up having nutritional yeast (we called it brewer's yeast). We always put it on popcorn. We also mixed it into orange juice and applesauce. I know it sounds odd but it's really good. My mom always put it in everything she could- meatloaf, pasta sauce, soups. You name it. I love it. I sprinkle it on salads, toss it into croutons. My boyfriend loves it (calls it the "cheesy tasting stuff). He hates anything I inform him is healthy so I haven't broken the news about it being called "nutritional yeast". I call it brewer's yeast hoping he'll just associate it with beer. (hee hee)

            1. re: Gloriaa

              My daughter has it on buttered toast. (I have Marmite, which is yeast extract, but not for the faint of heart.)

              1. re: fldhkybnva

                We use it on bi bim bap and as an ingredient in Korean recipes. I'd love to hear some other uses for it. It's delicious stuff!

                1. re: AmyH

                  Gochujang is pretty versatile. I also mix it with sriracha. Use it as:

                  Marinade for meat - especially good on pork/chicken.
                  In place of tomato paste/sauce - it's fantastic sauteed with cabbage for example.

                  1. re: joonjoon

                    This is delicious. I usually top Korean short ribs with it but you could use it many other ways.
                    http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/ssamjang

          2. I bought a bottle of raspberry-chipotle sauce at Costco. It's really good on a variety of foods. I went back to Costco to buy another bottle and they no longer carry it. It was a large bottle. I looked online, but it costs too much to make it worthwhile. I also found a 24 ounce bottle in an upscale grocery store, but at nearly 10 bucks, I passed. I went online and found a recipe and it's almost identical to the bottled stuff. I don't claim this condiment is particularly unknown however.

            1. spicy/hot barbeque sauce has usurped ketchup in my household filled with teens.

              1. Two come to mind:

                Bamboo shoots in chili oil. I mix them into my savory oatmeal for breakfast most mornings.

                Sap Sago cheese. I eat it regularly on buttered sourdough toast.

                15 Replies
                1. re: tcamp

                  The savory oatmeal sounds interesting, but can cheese really be considered a condiment?

                  1. re: gastronomics

                    Point taken. I guess because I use such small amounts, I *think* of it as a condiment!

                  2. re: tcamp

                    Savory oatmeal, finally, someone gets it!
                    I always liked jook, but want something fast in the morning. So I boil chicken broth (or pho or whatever broth), toss in chopped onion, and instant oats.
                    Just about everyone (except tcamp) thinks this is crazy.

                    Top with sesame oil or hot chili oil or japanese rice condiment, or chopped scallion, or bonito flakes, or, or

                    Bamboo shoots in chili oil sounds great.

                    1. re: porker

                      My spouse and kids think it is absurd and disgusting. Same way I feel about cereal. The bamboo shoots in chili oil smell, according to my son, like cat pee.

                      Peanuts and chopped carrots are good, too, in the oatmeal.

                      1. re: tcamp

                        "bamboo shoots in chili oil smell, according to my son, like cat pee"
                        Mrs Porker would say 'Chinese store smell' with wrinkled nose.

                        @ 6:37am it was onion/sliced mushroom/scallion/hot sesame oil.

                        1. re: tcamp

                          My people! My husband is amused by my savoury oatmeal concoctions as well. He's perfectly happy with sweetened cereal in the morning, whereas I want something that feels more like "real food." It started with steelcut oatmeal, avocado, and a runny egg, with a generous dollop of Sambal Oelek. I found one morning when I was out of avocado that some leftover roasted Brussels sprouts satisfied my need for something "green" - and since then, I've added all sorts of vegetables, whatever I have on hand.

                          My other favourite thing for breakfast is a mix of leftover rice (still warm in the cooker) with some kind of tinned or smoked fish, nori, and Japanese pickles.

                          1. re: khh1138

                            I LOVE sambal oelek in steel cut oats. I always thought that was personal weirdness. I like savory oatmeal in general. When I make it, I make enough for 4-5 days, then reheat with whatever condiments/additions seem appealing. Pickled ginger and scallions, with maybe a dash each of rice vin and soy sauce, is amazing.

                            I actually think pickled ginger is probably my favorite somewhat unusual condiment in general.

                            1. re: ErnieD

                              That's a great tip, thanks! We clearly have a similar palate...I'm a big fan of pickled ginger, too. And I also make 4-5 days worth of steelcut oats at a time, overnight in the slow-cooker. I hack off a little hunk each morning and doctor it up.

                              1. re: ErnieD

                                I also like Furikake on the oatmeal.
                                Mentioned downthread, I didn't even KNOW what "Furikake" was, even though I've been eating it over 20 years. I always bought it with Janpanese-only labelling. Sometimes, it'd be labelled as "Rice Seasoning".

                                I tried cooking it with the oatmeal, but it doesn't work well - better sprinkled on top (or straight seaweed, matchstick style).

                          2. re: porker

                            As a pescatarian, I'lll eat eggs for lunch and dinner more often than most people I know. It's funny to me how some foods ended up being designated breakfast, or lunch, or dinner foods. I haven't tried a savory oatmeal, but when I think about it, why should it be that rice is for dinner, but oats are breakfast??

                            1. re: porker

                              Think World Market would carry it?

                              1. re: gastronomics

                                I don't know about World Market (I live in Canada), but if its a mainstream American grocery store (safeway, price chopper, etc) likely not.
                                You'd want an oriental grocery, perhaps on Division between 36th and 44th (thank you Wikipedia). You'll find tons of other condiments as well.

                                1. re: porker

                                  I'm thinking common place condiments are ketchup, mustard, bbq, mayonaise, miracle whip, salsa, soy sauce, frank's, the typical dressings - ranch, italian, french, thousand island - and now I think most people, even the sort of clueless cooks, own sriracha - things like that. Things everyone has.

                                  What I'm looking for things that you think belong in that list, things you use all the time, several times a week at least - sort of "the new condiment basics."

                                2. re: tcamp

                                  Savory porridges, whether made with oatmeal, rice, barley, or something else that's similar, are fairly common in Asia. I've had them many times.

                                3. I think I should specify that by "most people" I mean non-foodie friends. Not us food geeks. :)

                                  @boogiebay - My fridge is exactly the same way except that we're lactose intolerrant so we drink almond milk. (I keep an "emergency" bottle of sriracha in my car at all times.) :)

                                  Where do you get those sauces?

                                  @John E. - I totally feel your pain! I hate when a favorite product is no longer sold at my grocery - and it seems to happen to me a lot. (I think I may be a bit more adventurous than the average shopper there. :/ )

                                  @rmarisco - sounds amazing!

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: gastronomics

                                    I get the Maggi's from the Indian store, and the Chicken Rice store is from a local Asian market. They only have it occasionally, so if I see it, I usually grab 3-4 bottles (they aren't big).

                                    1. re: boogiebaby

                                      Theres a whole thread on the Maggi variants (European vs. Oriental vs American vs...).
                                      Those little bottles can be pricey. I suggest you hit up an eastern European market where you can likely get a 30 ouncer for about $6-$7

                                      1. re: porker

                                        I think you misread my post. :) I get the Maggi chilli sauce from the Indian store. It's an Indian chilli sauce, not the same thing as the Maggi seasoning. I get my Maggi seasoning from the local Asian market.

                                        The small bottles are the Chicken Rice sauce, which is Glory brand, not Maggi.

                                    2. re: gastronomics

                                      If that's the case, zaat'ar, dukkah and (I wish) podi!