Raise your hand if you're familiar with, whether as something you've said or heard, a variant of "...but doesn't it all taste the same? I could never give up meat because I like flavour."
Here are a few ingredients see as key in adding that extra little bit of oomph to any savoury dish.
A splash of this and a pinch of that
- Anywhere you need that little bit of extra depth, whether in gravy, pies, stews, wherever, then Marmite is your friend. Obviously you realise it's a must-have staple for anything revolving around your typical Sunday roast.
- I dismissed soy sauce for many years because I hadn't had anything other than cheap darkened soy juice. Find yourself a quality soy sauce. In fact, find yourself many. There's light soy sauce and dark soy sauce (milder but richer in colour), tamari, and a number of other options. Vegetables and stocks will come to life with a generous splash.
- Nutritional yeast, also known as "nooch" in some circles, is a staple in any vegan's store cupboard. It's a deactivated yeast with a nutty flavour which complements salads, potatoes, sauces and dressings, stir-fries, and more.
- Dark Miso pastes are another excellent method of adding a deep and rich flavour to a dish. Light miso is good too, but the sugar content is higher so be careful when using to "beef" up a meal!
- A personal favourite is red wine vinegar, a condiment I use in gravy for a roast dinner. A little bit goes a long way and it adds a full and zingy taste to stocks and pies.
- That said, I suppose it's a little unfair to discount the all important red wine and white wine, both capable of lifting any dish from the depths of dullness to the height of flavour.
- Dried shiitake mushrooms make a fabulous addition to any stock. Seriously. If these aren't in your store cupboard, get yourself to an East Asian grocer and get some.
- The darkest of dark chocolate has the capability of adding some serious depth to a dish. Sound odd? It's been used in Central and South American savoury cooking for many, many years.