The Holy Grail Pantry Staples Chefs Always Keep Stocked
Including an immune-boosting superpowder.
Published Apr 9, 2020 12:00 AM
Introducing: the multipurpose seasonings and holy grail canned goods our favorite foodies always have on hand. They’ve seen them through thrown-together snacks and elaborate dinners; they’ve been trotted out for cold-busting warm drinks and hearty soups. Best of all, they’re all available to purchase online or at a local supermarket, so you can expand your cooking repertoire while hunkering down at home. Here’s to stress-free dining.
The Immune-Boosting Superpowder
Recipe inspo: We use it in curries and eggs, and in milk—the original “turmeric lattes” are called haldi doodh. Heat up a cup of milk (I use oat or macadamia), add ¼ teaspoon of turmeric, ¼ teaspoon of ground cardamom, a pinch of black pepper, and ½ teaspoon of honey. Simmer for three to four minutes, then pour to serve.
The One-Size-Fits-All Blend
Recommended by: Gaby Dalkin, blogger behind What’s Gaby Cooking. Origin story: It’s been my go-to blend since culinary school; there’s a bit of a Mediterranean vibe to it, which is super-appreciated right now when we’re all just traveling from our kitchens. It’s the one seasoning I have in my back pocket that can make anything sing.
Recipe inspo: I use it on literally every kind of roasted vegetable—sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, mushrooms. I’m currently getting them from my local CSA. I also put it in a salad dressing, mixed into olive oil and vinegar for an extra punch of flavor.
The Universal Sauce Base
Recommended by: Aishwarya Iyer, founder of Brightland. Origin story: I discovered these tomatoes a couple years ago after visiting Bianco Pizza in Arizona; until then, I hadn’t given a second thought to the canned variety.
Recipe inspo: We use them in pizza sauce; I like to mix them with Calabrian chilis, basil, garlic, and olive oil. Karen Palmer also created an amazing pasta sauce recipe last summer for Brightland using the tomatoes, which I go back to again and again.
The Spicy Kick
Recommended by: Laura Wright, blogger behind The First Mess. Origin story: Ground chili is incredible! A bit spicy and fruity, with a hint of smoke and acidity. I’d been using Diaspora Co.’s single-origin turmeric for a couple years now, and when I placed my most recent order, I threw in a jar of its chilies. They add so much to basically everything I’m cooking. (Editors’ note: Wright’s pick is currently available for preorder, but if you can’t wait, we also love this blend from The Spice House.)
Recipe inspo: Ground chili balances out the heat in soups and stews, like my sweet potato coconut milk one. Also, it’s the perfect finishing touch on top of a creamy dip or as a chili flake substitute on a bowl of pasta.
The Dressed-Up Basic
Recommended by: Alison Wu, blogger behind WuHaus. Origin story: It wasn’t until I started creating my own recipes that I realized what a big difference it makes when you pay attention to the quality of staple ingredients. I think that Maldon sea salt is the standard for excellence. It has a clean taste and a nice, flaky texture that adds depth to every dish.
Recipe inspo: Basically everything savory that comes out of my kitchen gets finished with a light sprinkling of this. I use it with lime juice to marinate coconut for a plant-based mango ceviche, and to top off snacks like Medjool dates and nut butter. If you know anyone who likes to cook, a box of Maldon sea salt is a small, thoughtful gift idea that goes a long way.