What’s The Most Exotic Item In Your Kitchen Pantry?

I love to cook!

As I travel and cook in various homes, I continue to be amazed at the exotic items I find in kitchen pantries. It seems that everyone is influenced by the regional cuisine of their childhood.

For example, in my pantry you will find a special sauce for burgers that I discovered as a young boy growing up in Chattanooga, TN while working as a cashier for a locally owned burger stand. It is a secret recipe that has stood the test of time. The finished product is called, appropriately, “sauceburgers.”

I also have a collection of Thai spices and products such as Palm Sugar, Cardamom and Coriander for my Thai Massamum dish.

Question: What is the most exotic item in your kitchen pantry?

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24 Responses to “What’s The Most Exotic Item In Your Kitchen Pantry?”

  1. My African Hot Pepper http://deborahbarnett.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/dsc_0007.jpg

    The funny this is – I first got it in Ethiopia and thought I had this really special thing and was so worried about using it all. Then I found the exact one in the International store in the downtown farmer’s market. So now I use it freely on EVERYTHING!

    (it’s pictured on my blog recipe for Jamaican meet patties).

  2. Mace: Not particularly exotic but an often overlooked spice. It is made from the ground up shell that is taken off of nutmeg.

    Mace loves to be on pork or potatoes. Take some baby reds or fingerlings add butter, salt, pepper, capers (or lemon juice), garlic and mace.

  3. Oh man, I love cardamom! A friend introduced me to Ethiopian food a long time ago, and it’s since been one of my favorites. Cardamom features prominently in Ethiopian food, and spiced coffee.

    Probably the most exotic thing in my pantry at the moment is tahini (I make hummus all the time), but there’s also nuoc mam (fish sauce – used in Thai and Vietnamese food) and smoked salt.

  4. Galangal powder, Gula Jawa (palm sugar), Kafir leaves, and Pandan paste (made from Screwpine). I use all of these and more in Indonesian cooking.

  5. I use curry powder a lot but would love to try curry leaves. Anyone else use these?

  6. My pantry isn’t terribly exotic. We keep a lot of coriander though, my husband has a chicken recipe that takes a good amount of coriander.

    Some people have a favorite type of food or grew up with a certain culture of food preparation the prefer. I don’t really have that – I grew up in the midwest, so I always say I cook Midwestern style. Unfortunately not enough people have visited the midwest, so I have to explain that its like church potluck food. :)

  7. Organic Coconut oil. I use it in cakes, stir frys and as a hair conditioner..

  8. Use lots of herbs and spices. Make lots of soups. Couple that come to mind: Not so uncommon but used together – minced garlic, chipotle chili powder and smoked paprika powder in my chipotle pumpkin soup. Minced garlic, basil and cayenne in roasted pepper tomato soup. Can’t cook without my spice and herb shelf.

  9. Currently, the most exotic item is berebere from a recent trip to Ethiopia…score another one for Ethiopian food on your list!

  10. I’m a nut for interesting new ingredients and pick stuff up all of the time. Roasted Szechuan Pepper Salt, wild fennel pollen, pomegranate molasses, italian pine cone bud syrup, Chilean Carica, a dozen kinds of vinegars, and I can’t live without white truffle butter. Some of these are not real exotic, but some people may not be familiar with them. And I have a great lavender herb blend from Hawaii that’s great with roast chicken. Just playing now with raw coconut crystals and coconut flour. Fun!

  11. Robin Whitson August 2, 2011 at 14:28

    My salt collection. I have about 20 different varieties of salt. Sometimes we put them out for a tasting when we have people over for dinner. It is amazing how different salt can taste. I started collecting salts when we went to The French Laundry and had 3 different salts with various courses.

  12. Hi there,…It’s interesting topic. Since I run a food portal called Portal Kuliner, I have a lot of exotic items in my pantry. You name it and I’ll get it from my table.

Created by Randy Elrod

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