The Best Exotic Condiments

It is time to ditch the ketchup in favor of more exotic condiments. While American palates have grown fond of the sweet tomato-based sauce, there is a world of alternative condiments out there that are vying for your taste buds – and we aren’t talking about mustard and mayo. The vast popularity of Sriracha hot sauce has opened the doors to new sauces with which to adorn our plates. Here are some of the most interesting flavor-boosters on the market today:

This is the original alternative condiment. However, it has become so popular that it is difficult to say whether it can still rightly be called “alternative.” The spicy/sweet sauce is made in California where the factory has come under fire recently as a public nuisance. Despite threats to shut it down, the Sriracha keeps flowing.

Fish sauce
A staple of Thai cuisine, fish sauce adds a distinctive depth and umami to all kinds of dishes. Traditionally, it is added to curries for a little kick but people have been known to experiment adding it to everything from stir-fry to fried chicken.

Yuzu kosho
Made in Japan from the citrusy zest of the yuzu fruit, chili peppers and salt, this tangy paste is ideal for adding a kick to oysters and eggs. It comes in green or red depending on the type of chili used, and is great for marinating meat or as a dressing on soba noodles.

Very popular in Spanish and Latin American cuisines, sofrito is a multi-faceted sauce that can be used for anything from a base for stew to a condiment. A combination of chopped and sauteed onions, peppers, cilantro and tomato, sofrito comes in a wide range of styles, providing many opportunities for home chefs to personalize their own.

A spicy paste from North Africa, harissa is central to Moroccan cuisine. While adding significant heat to a dish, the popular condiment is also extremely complex, an addictive combination. The specific recipe varies from region to region, but all harissas are united in their use of red chilis, olive oil, garlic and salt. To that basic mixture is often added anything from cumin and mint to caraway seeds and coriander.

All these exotic condiments offer a kick of flavor to almost any dish. Online cooking school students can have fun experimenting with different combinations and applications in their own home cooking.

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