My name is Mara, and I love Flavour. There, I admitted it. Even though I grew up in the age of TV dinners, Kraft Dinner (still delicioso), and the almighty RAGU spaghetti sauce, I adore a plethora of taste sensations on my tongue.
I’ve talked before about how my mother taught me the basics and beauty of Jewish cooking and feeding a family and my Dad taught me how to get creative with cooking. He’s also the one who exposed me to all kinds of incredibly diverse cuisines while my friends were still eating meat and potatoes. With him, we roamed the city: the simple elegance of French Bistro, real Chinese food in Chinatown, spicy Indian eats, Pakistani butt burners, Jamaican Jerk and more. It was with him I first tasted Sweetbreads (EW!), saw frogs legs (EW!) and watched as he pulled a whole skinned seahorse out of his seafood hot pot (EW!)
As you can see I have slight to moderate issues with alternative proteins.
But I do like FLAVOUR! Especially when no haggis was killed in its making.
Makes sense that I enjoyed a sneak preview of the new McCormick’s Flavour Forecast for 2016. I’ll be honest, I’m excited about this year’s food. I want to eat ALL of it. My faves are representing: Off-the beaten-track and underexplored Asian Fare like Malaysian (remember when I made Gado Gado?) and Filipino; The evolutions spicy (I’m a Rubinoff and my tongue is numb); and the elevation of protein packed pulses as the perfect canvas for all things delicious (the UN is celebrating 2016 as the International Year of the Pulse).
Is yours? It should be. Because the emerging trends and flavours for 2016 (and beyond), as identified by a global team of McCormick chefs, food technologists and flavour experts, is crave-inducing:
Heat + Tang: Spicy finds a welcome contrast with tangy accents to elevate the eating experience.
Think: Peruvian chilies like rocoto, ají amarillo and ají panca paired with lime or Sambal sauce made with chilies, rice vinegar and garlic
Tropical Asian: The vibrant cuisine and distinctive flavours of Malaysia and the Philippines draw attention from adventurous palates seeking bold new tastes.
- Pinoy BBQ, a popular Filipino street food, flavoured with soy sauce, lemon, garlic, sugar, pepper and banana ketchup
- Rendang Curry, a Malaysian spice paste, which delivers mild heat made from chilies, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, tamarind, coriander and turmeric
Blends with Benefits: Flavourful herbs and spices that add everyday versatility to good-for-you ingredients.
- Matcha, paired with ginger and citrus to balance its slightly bitter notes
- Chia seed made zesty when paired with citrus, chili and garlic
- super spice (trendy) Turmeric blended with cocoa, cinnamon and nutmeg to make for a unique sweet sensation
- Flaxseed combined with Mediterranean herbs to add depth and interest to savoury dishes
Alternative “Pulse” Proteins: Packed with protein and nutrients, pulses are elevated when paired with delicious ingredients.
- Pigeon peas, called toor dal when split, traditionally paired with cumin and coconut
- Cranberry beans, (borlotti)perfectly enhanced with sage and Albariño wine
- Black beluga lentils make unique with peach and mustard
Ancestral Flavours: Modern dishes reconnect with native ingredients to celebrate food that tastes real, pure and satisfying.
- Rediscover ancient herbs like thyme, peppermint, parsley, lavender and rosemary
- Incorporate Amaranth, an ancient grain of the Aztecs that’s also used for seasoning, and which brings a nutty, earthy flavour
- Mezcal, a smoky Mexican liquor made from the agave plant
Culinary-Infused Sips: Incorporate 3 classic culinary techniques into mixology to provide new tastes and inspiration.
- Pickling combines tart with spice for zesty results
- Roasting adds richness with a distinctive browned flavour
- Brûléed ingredients provide depth with a caramelized sugar note
But enough about the world flavours and more about how to eat them. I’m particularly intrigued by Banana Ketchup. You heard me. And doesn’t it sound divine?
Banana ketchup is a popular Filipino condiment made from mashed bananas, sugar, vinegar and spices. It’s eaten alongside fried rice and noodles, eggs, hot dogs, burgers, fries, fish, pork and chicken. Or I guess, with a spoon?
BANANA KETCHUP (makes 4 cups)
What You’ll Need:
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil
- 1 cup (250 mL) finely chopped onion
- 2 tsp (10 mL) McCormick Gourmet Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp (5 mL) McCormick Gourmet Ground Jalapeño Pepper
- ¾ tsp (3 mL) McCormick Gourmet Ground Turmeric
- ¼ tsp (1 mL) McCormick Gourmet Ground Allspice
- 4 ripe bananas, mashed (about 2 cups/500 mL)
- ¾ cup (175 mL) white vinegar
- 6 tbsp (90 mL) sugar
- 2 tsp (10 mL) Club House Sea Salt Grinder (I hope you have one of these. I can’t live without mine)
- ½ cup (125 mL) water
What You’ll Do:
- Heat oil in medium saucepan on medium heat. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic, jalapeño, turmeric and allspice; sauté 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Stir in bananas, vinegar, sugar and sea salt. Bring to simmer on medium heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Let cool 10 minutes.
- Spoon mixture into blender or food processor; cover. Blend on high 1 minute or until smooth. With centre part of cover removed and blender on, slowly pour in water and blend until the consistency is similar to traditional ketchup.
How to store: Keep refrigerated in a clean, tightly covered container or jar for up to 2 weeks.
So will you make it?
About the McCormick Flavour Forecast: Since its inception in 2000, Flavour Forecast has been tracking the growing interest in heat and identifying upcoming spicy flavours including chipotle, peri-peri and harissa. Flavour Forecast serves as a catalyst for innovation for McCormick and across the food industry. Globally, this year, McCormick is launching 56 new consumer products inspired by Flavour Forecast trends, and will collaborate with food partners from chain restaurants to beverage and snack producers – to help them do the same.