Friday, October 23, 2009

Exciting new ingredients

I can spend hours in asian grocers and healthfood stores, I love checking out all the weird and exciting bits and pieces. I usually end up buying a bunch of random things with all the best intentions but never actually get round to doing anything with them. I really should make a rule that I'm not allowed new stuff until I have mastered the old stuff....

Anyway, today I went to the South Melbourne Markets and picked up a few things I had been thinking I should try.

Virgin Coconut Oil
Blackstrap Molasses
Chia Seeds
Cacao Nibs
Chewy dried bananas (ok, so these aren't new to my pantry but I am in love with them)

I don't actually know what to do with these, but I'm gonna try the seeds and nibs with my muesli. Maybe um, mix in a teaspoon of the molasses with my muesli too?? Perhaps a tahini and molasses 'coffee' - surely that would be great? Perhaps the molasses can go with soysauce, mirin, and rice wine for a richer teriyaki?

And I'm thinking the coconut oil can go in stirfries and curries. No other ideas for it though.. not sure how coconutty it tastes and smells.

Does anyone use these ingredients regularly?

I also spotted some chili fermented tofu in a jar which I think I will have to try next time - Chinese Blue Cheese so I hear. Has anyone tried it?

Plus I saw Rose Water - I loooooove rose flavoured stuff (ok, I've only had icecream and turkish delight and tea, but I looooove it). What else can you do with it?


  1. I have used many of these items for baked goods. Molasses is great for gingerbread, while coconut oil is an interesting substitute for other oil/butter in cookies, cakes and icing. Cocoa nibs are great in sweet cookies instead of choc chips (but use less). I must have sweets on the brain right now!

    You've come up with some good savoury ideas already, but I can add one: coconut oil goes into this excellent raw coleslaw.

  2. Thanks for the link Cindy. Sounds easy and delicious! I don't really have much of a sweet tooth for baked goods, creamy stuff could be good though?

  3. I live in South Melbourne :)

    I also love organic/healthfood stores, I spend forever just browsing, imagining how I could use things.

  4. I was trying to comment you earlier, but then blogger went down. :/

    I posted my link though on myspace, facebook, twitter, and vegan forums.


  5. What an exciting bunch of ingredients! Molasses is great in making stews or soups dark and intense and I love it in baking. Coconut oil seems to be used by people like heidi of 101 Cookbooks and ricki of Diet Dessert and Dogs instead of butter or oil in baking. I have sometimes used cocoa nibs in a dried fruit and nut mix for baking etc.

  6. There is a restaurant called PHO (Vietnamese food) where I live and they have a supermarket attached to the restaurant. I always go in their and will spend over a hour just looking at everything. Most of it is not in english (sigh) but I enjoy looking at the stuff. HAHA :)

  7. Chia Seed
    I was just looking at a page and this happened to be on it!

    Chia seeds have tremendous nutritional value and medicinal properties. 30% of the chia seed's oil is Omega 3 oil. 40% of its oil is Omega 6 oil. This provides the nice balance of Essential Fatty Acids. These seeds are easy to digetst and do not need to be ground as Flax Seeds do. Chia seed slows down how fast our bodies convert carbohydrates into simple sugars. This leads scientists to believe that the chia seed may have positive benefits for diabetics. Chia seeds are high in fiber and in healthy oils making them an excellent addition to a detoxification program. They also provide antioxidant protection.

  8. All the ideas in the comments above are great! There's a Pistachio-Rosewater Cupcake recipe in VCTOTW... I've never tried it, but it sounds intriguing!

  9. Kelly, that cupcake flvaour sounds great, but I must be the only person in the world who doesn't care for cakey stuff. I'm starting to think rosewater made into a syrup for fried bananas or icecream or pancakes?

    Mads, doesn't chia seed sound great! AND it turns out it is pretty much flavourless and goes soft when wet so can go anywhere - I added to my muesli.

    Traci, thanks for the tips!

    Johanna, sounds like a good idea adding molasses to soups - it's a pretty strong flavour so I imagine you only need a little.

    Amy, yep, it's almost as fun as shoe shopping.

    Well, I used all 4 of those ingredients already. Chia seeds and molasses in my muesli. Coconut oil for my tofu scramble. And cacao nibs on my muesli and on my icecream - they are gorgeous and I am in love.

  10. I really like to mix blackstrap molassas into my apple pies.

  11. Yeah I bet that would be great Jeannette - and that's one sweet baking thingy I actually like.

    I mixed the molasses into my teriyaki sauce mixture for tofu - it was great! I think it made it caramelise more and get stickier - yum!