10 Secret Ingredients That Will Make You a Master Chef

Whole Spices

AUTHOR: Ben Rice

Get ready to uncover the hidden secrets of master chefs with our collection of 10 secret ingredients that will make you a culinary genius. These special ingredients, carefully chosen for their extraordinary powers, have the ability to take your cooking skills to a whole new level.

1. MSG

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Mono-sodium-glutamate (MSG) is the key to successful Asian cooking used instead of salt for many Asian dishes such as fried rice. Asian comedy YouTuber ‘Uncle Roger’ is a famous proponent of this flavor enhancer. “Fui Yoh!” is Uncle Roger’s catchphrase when he sees a home chef sprinkle this magic dust into their recipes.

2. Fresh Garlic

Fresh Garlic
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This one seems obvious, but adding fresh garlic instead of garlic powder takes food to a different flavor league. “The smell of fresh onion and garlic cooking is my culinary aphrodisiac,” proclaims a home chef. Here’s my addition: cut your garlic cloves in half and remove the inner sprout before to avoid bitterness.

3. Salt

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“Salt,” comments the next thread leader. “Too many people shy away from it. Taste as you season.” I agree that too many people use far too little salt. Salt acts as a flavor magnifier — even for sweet products. Want your chocolate brownie to taste even more chocolatey? A sprinkle of sea salt will strengthen the sugary notes.

4. Shallots

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“Want to make your food taste like restaurant food?” asks the next contributor, a chef. “Salt, butter, and shallots.” Shallots are naturally sweeter than onions, giving a dish more depth. Writer’ tip: fry in olive oil first, then finish in butter to stop the butter from burning.

5. Mustard

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I like this suggestion, as mustard is more than a condiment. One commenter shares how mustard is good for cooking lean chicken parts because “it keeps them from being dry.” I stir equal parts honey and mustard into my gravy for all roasting meats.

6. Onion and Garlic Powder

Onion and Garlic Powder
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Garlic and onion powder always have a place on my shelf. They add body to a stock, but no dry rub is complete without them. Garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper are my go-to spices when cooking,” declares a kindred spirit.

7. Cheese and Chili Powder

Chili Powder
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“Have you tried cheese and chili powder in your scrambled eggs?” is a question further down the thread. It is rhetorical, but my response is: yes! Make eggs great again with this simple combination.

8. Achiote Paste

Achiote Paste
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I have never tried this Central American chili and garlic paste. Still, I may order some based on the next contributor’s statement: “Ever since I discovered achiote, I’ve been making my chicken better than Chipotle!” Now that is fighting talk.

9. Molasses

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Thick, syrupy concentrate from raw sugar cane juice is perfect for great baked goods. “If it’s cookies, Molasses,” says a proud mom. “My boys love (it) when I make them [sic] cookies.” Molasses is one of those old-school ingredients your grandparents used a lot, and it works in many key sweet recipes.

10. Whole Spices

Whole Spices
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Finally, a great tip if you use spices in your cooking. Nothing beats the taste of freshly-ground turmeric or cinnamon. Asian cooks swear by fresh, whole spices in cooking. “I started using them in the last month or so, and my cooking has improved exponentially,” claims a fan. Do you have an ingredient to add to this list?

This thread inspired this post.

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