Celebrate Differences in Your Food Flavors

Studio 5 Contributor Laura Wolford helps you blend different flavors into one dish with some ingredient inspiration.

Sweet, Spicy, Salty and Sour. These four flavor sensations are fun to mix and match to create fabulous flavor combinations that will ‘wow’ your taste buds. It’s easy to mix and match flavors, use the suggestions below to help your senses find their way to an exotic flavor town. Everything about it is just good!

Download the “Online Extra” recipe card to get some ideas of ingredients that fall into categories. Tuck the card into your recipe file for some inspiration when you need it.

Sweet: Sugar, honey, sweet peppers, rice vinegar (sweet and sour), fruit, jams and preserves, mirin, sweetened condensed milk, yams.

Spicy: Hot peppers, red pepper flakes, cayenne, black pepper, chili paste, ginger, hot sauces, paprika, mustard, horseradish, wasabi, radishes.

Salty: nuts, table salt, seasoned salt, kosher salt, pickles, soy sauce, salt-cured products, salty black beans (fermented black beans), capers.

Sour: vinegar, citrus juice such as lemon and lime, yogurt, sour cream, cherry, grapefruit.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

• 1 pound of boneless and skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″    chunks
• salt and pepper
• 1 10-ounce can pineapple chunks (reserve juice)
• 1/4 cup juice from the canned pineapple
• 1/4 cup white vinegar
• 1/4 cup ketchup
• 2-3 tablespoons brown sugar
• 2 Tbl cornstarch
• 1 Tbl cooking oil
• 1 red and 1 orange bell pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
• 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
• ½ tsp minced garlic

1 Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

2 Set aside the pineapple and whisk together the pineapple juice, vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar and cornstarch in small bowl.

3 Heat oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add the chicken and spread the chicken in batches as to not overcrowd the pan and sauté until cook through; 3-5 minutes per batch. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside.

4 Add a little more oil to the pan if needed then add the bell pepper chunks, ginger and garlic; sauté for 1 minute. Add the pineapple chunks and sauce. Turn the heat to high and when the sauce is simmering, add the chicken pieces back in. Let simmer for 1-2 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Taste and season with salt, pepper or brown sugar as needed.

Spicy Cauliflower

• 1 large head of cauliflower
• 1 Tbl soy sauce
• 2 tsp chili sauce
• 1 Tbl minced ginger

• 1 tsp minced garlic
• 1 Tbl rice vinegar
• 1 c cilantro chopped
• 1 jalepeno, minced (remove seeds if desired)
• salt and pepper to taste

Wash and cut cauliflower into large chunks. Place into a pot of boiling water, cover and boil or steam until tender – 5-8 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together remaining ingredients. When cauliflower is tender drain and place into a large serving bowl. Stir in spice mixture and serve.

Pineapple Orange Salsa

• 1 pineapple, peeled, cored and diced

• 1 and 1 green red bell pepper, finely diced
• 2 jalapeños, minced
• 1 shallot, minced
• salt and pepper to taste
• 1 Tbl lemon or lime juice
• 1 Tbl rice vinegar

Mix together all ingredients and let set. The flavors intensify as it sets.

Curried Cashew Chicken

• 2 Tbl cooking oil
• 1 tsp minced ginger
• 1 tsp minced garlic
• 2 onions, chopped
• 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
• 2 jalapeno peppers
• Salt and pepper
• 1⁄2 tsp turmeric
• 2Tbl curry powder
• 1/3 cup coconut milk

• 1 t coriander powder
• 1 t cumin powder
• 1 c yogurt
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• ¼ tsp minced cloves
• ½ cup cashews
• ¼ c cilantro chopped

Heat oil in a large frying pan; add ginger, garlic and onion, sauté for 1 minute then add chicken. Sauté chicken for 5 minutes over medium high heat. Add jalapeños half way through cooking. Season with salt, pepper and turmeric and continue cooking for several minutes. Add remaining ingredients except cashews and cilantro and cook untilwell combined and heated through. Simmer to desired consistency then garnish with cashews and cilantro.

Salty Spicy Green Beans

• 1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed
• 1 Tbl cooking oil
• 2 tsp minced garlic

• 1 jalapeno, minced
• 1 T soy sauce
• 1 Tbl rice vinegar
• Salt and pepper to taste
• ¼ c slivered almonds

Wash and trim the green beans; set aside Heat oil in a large frying pan and add the green beans. Toss the green beans around and cook till tender crisp. Add remaining ingredients except almonds and toss to coat. Lastly garnish with slivered almonds.

Mango Salsa

• 3 mango, pitted and chopped
• 2 scallions, minced
• 1 small red onion, finely diced
• 1 jalapeno, minced
• ¼ cup sugar, add more if you want it a little sweeter
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1 each red and green bell pepper, chopped
• ½ cup chopped cilantro

• 2 Tbl lime juice
• 2 Tbl rice vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and serve. This is delicious fresh or even if it has time to set a bit.

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