Top 10 Ingredients for 2023 Countries | Cooking With Jade

Top 10 Ingredients for 2023 Countries

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Top 10 Ingredients for 2023 Countries
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As a helpful service to all my cookbook readers (I can’t thank you enough), I thought I would list the top ten ingredients for the countries represented in this book. These lists should make your shopping a little easier. If there is a country you plan to “visit” frequently in your kitchen, the ingredients listed below should be your staples. I recommend starting at the top, with the most popular ingredients, and working your way down.

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Mexico:

One of the things I love about Mexican cuisine is that it is easy to whip up vegetarian – or even vegan – meals without sacrificing freshness and flavor. Don’t believe me? Take a look at Mexico’s Top 10 ingredients: plant-based heavy-hitters like corn, beans, tomatoes, and avocados are all accounted for. Best of all, these ingredients are relatively cheap and plentiful, even here in the States. With these ingredients and my recipes, cooking a delicious Mexican meal should be no problem.

  1. Corn (Maize)
  2. Beans
  3. Tomatoes
  4. Avocado
  5. Chiles (e.g., Jalapeño, Habanero)
  6. Lime
  7. Cilantro
  8. Cumin
  9. Oregano
  10. Tortillas

Brazil:

If I had to describe Brazilian food in one word, it would be “hearty.” Dishes like the beloved feijoada straight up warm the soul. Luckily, I don’t have to describe this diverse cuisine in one word, so I will also throw in words like “flavorful,” and “tropical.” The list below backs me up, with ingredients like acai, guava, plantains, and coconut. Some of these ingredients might be hard to come by at your typical supermarket, which is why I recommend making a trip to a specialty store to stock up. You’ll be glad you did. 

  1. Rice
  2. Beans (Feijão)
  3. Manioc (Cassava)
  4. Plantains (Banana-da-terra)
  5. Beef
  6. Coconut
  7. Palm Hearts (Palmito)
  8. Farofa (Toasted Manioc Flour)
  9. Açaí
  10. Guava (Goiaba)

Japan:

Given that my birth mother is from Japan, and that I took an incredible trip to that beautiful country to help understand my Japanese heritage, these ingredients are very familiar to me. It starts with rice, the staple of Japanese cuisine. As many Japanese chefs will tell you, rice is what makes or breaks a sushi roll, as well as many other Japanese dishes. Rice is also an important ingredient in sushi vinegar, which is essentially rice vinegar enhanced with sugar and salt. Other popular ingredients like soy sauce, dashi, and miso paste bring big umami flavor–one of my absolute favorite flavor profiles.

  1. Rice
  2. Soy Sauce
  3. Nori (Seaweed)
  4. Tofu
  5. Mirin
  6. Sushi Vinegar
  7. Dashi (Fish Stock)
  8. Miso Paste
  9. Ginger
  10. Wasabi

China:

Balance and contrast are important concepts in Chinese cooking, which is why this list presents so many contrasting flavors. We’ve got sweet (hoisin sauce), bitter (ginger), spicy (Sichuan peppercorns, five-spice powder), and savory (soy sauce). If you like to experiment with contrasting flavors, keep these ingredients handy. Luckily, I’ve got a few recipes for you.

  1. Rice
  2. Soy Sauce
  3. Garlic
  4. Ginger
  5. Green Onions (Scallions)
  6. Tofu
  7. Sichuan Peppercorns
  8. Five-Spice Powder
  9. Hoisin Sauce
  10. Bok Choy
mexican ingredients

India:

India has more vegetarians than any other country in the world (and it’s really not even close) and that vegetarianism is reflected in India’s Top 10 ingredients. This is one of the reasons I cook Indian food so often. And with filling staples like rice and lentils, chances are you won’t even miss the nutrients that meat provides. Other ingredients like yogurt, tomato, ginger, and ghee (a clarified butter found in many curries) bring color, fragrance, and flavor. And now my mouth is watering. Time to whip up that tandoori tofu recipe.

  1. Rice
  2. Lentils (Dal)
  3. Spices (e.g., Turmeric, Cumin, Coriander)
  4. Ghee
  5. Yogurt
  6. Tomatoes
  7. Garlic
  8. Ginger
  9. Onions
  10. Paneer (Indian Cheese)

Nigeria:

I didn’t have a ton of experience with Nigerian food until I made my trip to that country just a few months ago. Some of the ingredients, like tomatoes, onions, and yams, were very familiar to me. Others, like egusi (essentially, stewed melon seeds) and Maggi seasoning (a dark liquid flavor enhancer that was actually invented in Switzerland) were new and eye-opening. Since my return, I’ve had a lot of fun cooking with these ingredients whenever I’m craving Nigerian food. Which is to say, quite often.

  1. Cassava
  2. Yams
  3. Plantains
  4. Palm Oil
  5. Groundnut (Peanuts)
  6. Egusi (Melon Seeds)
  7. Tomatoes
  8. Scotch Bonnet Peppers
  9. Onions
  10. Maggi Seasoning

Egypt:

I love Egyptian food because, like Indian food, it has a lot to offer vegetarians and vegans. Fava beans and lentils are great sources of protein, especially when they’re enlivened with some of the seasonings on this list. And is there anything as versatile as pita bread, which can be dipped, wrapped, or stuffed? When I need a filling, flavorful snack or quick vegan meal, I probably return to these ingredients more than any other. 

  1. Fava Beans
  2. Lentils
  3. Pita Bread
  4. Rice
  5. Garlic
  6. Onions
  7. Cumin
  8. Coriander
  9. Mint
  10. Olive Oil

Greece:

I feel like Greek food gets pigeonholed in this country. One of the world’s oldest cuisines is so often reduced to a few dishes, namely, gyros, baklava, and Greek salad. But Greek food is a complex cuisine that emphasizes freshness above all else. Freshness and olive oil, which is found in nearly every Greek dish. And make sure you don’t skimp on the olive oil, as it can make the difference between a good Greek meal and a great one. And feta, like parmesan, should be bought by the block; avoid the crumbled variety if you can. Sorry, coming down off my soapbox now…

  1. Olive Oil
  2. Feta Cheese
  3. Olives
  4. Tomatoes
  5. Oregano
  6. Garlic
  7. Lemon
  8. Cucumber
  9. Yogurt
  10. Phyllo Dough
mexican ingredients

Italy:

Chances are, you’re already quite familiar with these ingredients: pasta and parmesan are about as common in American kitchens as corn and potatoes. The key is getting the best ingredients possible. This might mean grating a block of parmesan, instead of sprinkling it out of the can. It might also mean growing tomatoes and basil in your garden. And, dare I say, it could even mean making your own pasta! Sure, it’s a lot more work, but it will all be worth it once you dig into that delicious Italian meal. 

  1. Pasta
  2. Tomatoes
  3. Olive Oil
  4. Garlic
  5. Basil
  6. Parmesan Cheese
  7. Mozzarella Cheese
  8. Prosciutto
  9. Balsamic Vinegar
  10. Risotto Rice

France:

Frankly, it’s hard to use too much butter or wine in French cooking–probably why French food is so delicious. While French cooking is famous for its techniques, the quality of the ingredients is equally important. I recommend using homemade Dijon mustard (ideally); a good wine; and a fresh, crusty baguette, for example. Many of France’s most popular ingredients involve dairy, but you can use vegan substitutes without giving up too much flavor. Check out my handy list of substitutions for more info. 

  1. Butter
  2. Wine (e.g., Red and White)
  3. Baguette
  4. Garlic
  5. Shallots
  6. Thyme
  7. Cream
  8. Brie Cheese
  9. Escargot
  10. Dijon Mustard

Jamaica:

Jamaican cuisine is close to my heart for a couple reasons. For one, it’s part of my heritage. But I also love it because it prizes rich, complex flavors from herbs and spices like thyme, ginger, and allspice. And it brings the heat with Scotch bonnet peppers and seeds. In fact, if I were to make a “Chef Jade’s Top 10 Ingredients” list, it would probably look a lot like the list below. No wonder I cook so much Jamaican food.

  1. Allspice
  2. Scotch Bonnet Peppers
  3. Thyme
  4. Ginger
  5. Pimento (Scotch Bonnet Seeds)
  6. Coconut Milk
  7. Ackee
  8. Callaloo
  9. Green Banana
  10. Jerk Seasoning

United States:

Of course, I can’t forget the good ol’ U.S. of A. As you’ll notice from even a cursory glance at this list, meat reigns supreme here–though I’m working to change that in my small way. Unlike most of the other lists included here, you won’t find a lot of seasonings and spices: just simple staples. But that’s not to say that American food is boring! I defy anyone to try my grilled cheese and tomato soup recipe and tell me that our national cuisine lacks flavor. 

  1. Beef
  2. Chicken
  3. Potatoes
  4. Corn
  5. Tomatoes
  6. Wheat (used for Bread)
  7. Cheese
  8. Apples
  9. Bacon
  10. Peanut Butter

Canada:

Is anyone shocked that maple syrup is the top ingredient in Canada? There’s a reason they have a maple leaf on their flag. But Canadian ingredients go well beyond syrup and the infamous Canadian bacon (aka peameal bacon). Canada’s favorite ingredients include excellent seafood (salmon, arctic char, and lobster), as well as exotic meats (bison), and seasonal ingredients like wild berries. And, of course, who could forget the fries, cheese curds, and gravy that comprise what might as well be Canada’s national dish: poutine? It’s the perfect comfort food for those cold Canadian winters.

  1. Maple Syrup
  2. Salmon
  3. Bison
  4. Wild Berries (e.g., Blueberries)
  5. Peameal Bacon
  6. Poutine Ingredients (Fries, Cheese Curds, Gravy)
  7. Arctic Char
  8. Canola Oil
  9. Lobster
  10. Nanaimo Bars (a Canadian dessert)
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If you enjoyed this article or have suggestions on how we can improve it, please leave us a comment below. Also, make sure to check out other cooking lesson articles I’ve created – here.


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