Fab Natural Cooking Staples

Learning about the hidden sources of MSG in one of my favorite cooking ingredients was very disheartening, but I was determined to find an alternative to what I thought was my alternative to regular bouillon. I scoured the Internet looking for “All Natural” or “Organic” vegetable bouillon with no hidden MSG, but to no avail. Every time I thought I’d found one, I was disappointed by an ingredient like “yeast extract” or “malt extract” which are MSG indicators. After a thorough search I decided to try to make it myself.

I was fortunate to stumbled upon two wonderful recipes for Vegetable Bouillon and Tempero.

The recipe for Vegetable Buillon is from an online recipe journal called 101 Cookbooks which is a natural cooking site with a wealth of information, and amazing recipes. I’ve included the ingredients below,

5 ounces / 150 g leeks, sliced and well-washed
7 ounces / 200g fennel bulb, chopped
7 ounces / 200g carrot, well scrubbed and chopped
3.5 ounces / 100 g celery
3.5 ounces / 100g celery root (celeriac), peeled and chopped
1 ounce / 30g sun-dried tomatoes
3.5 ounces / 100g shallots, peeled
3 medium garlic cloves
9 ounces / 250g fine grain sea salt
1.5 ounces / 40 g flat-leaf parsley, loosely chopped
2 ounces / 60g cilantro (coriander), loosely chopped *I added a little mushroom for added depth of flavor.

I find myself using this bouillon on anything savory dish in place of salt because it creates a depth of flavor that you just can’t get from plain salt, with the benefit of not having to worry about what’s in it!

Tempero is a Brazilian cooking staple that is as flavorful as it is simple; it made from basil, parsley, leeks, scallions, onions and garlic with salt to preserve. I have yet to cook a Brazilian dish, but this sauce is great in anything you’d put basil, garlic and onions in.
20120919-202355.jpg For the full recipe and instructions, check out the blog post A Sauce to Crow About, by Mama Minutia.

In both of these recipes, there seems to be a lot of salt, but it’s important to remember that the salt is the key to making the ingredients stable. Without the precise amount of salt (don’t skimp!) these sauces will spoil faster. Don’t worry about over salting, just add either bouillon to your recipes instead of salt, in very small amounts.

Both of these cooking pastes are amazing cooking staples that I regularly rotate between in meals. They add a “wow, that’s delicious” factor to all of your dishes, and you’ll be tempted to use them in everything. Seriously. and now I’m contemplating creating other flavors to cook with. I’m seriously thinking about making a scotch bonnet sauce to add heat to certain dishes, using just scotch bonnet peppers, salt and onions.

Even if you weren’t a bouillon user before, I promise your cooking will greatly benefit from these wonderful ingredients. Try the recipes out, and let me know what you think!

Check out my previous post, Hidden MSG in My Favorite Cooking Base.


2 responses to “Fab Natural Cooking Staples

  1. So these are ‘pastes’ that you can put into to dishes almost like you would stock and it makes everything taste better? Sounds intriguing – I am going to go check out those posts you linked to. Thanks!

    • I would say yes and no. It’s similar to stock in that it adds flavor to dishes, but It’s different because you would use MUCH less than you’d use if you were using a stock. I think I like the phrase “flavor concentrate” best describe what these are. Please check them out and let me know if you try them!

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