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Guide: Whatever the Cuisine, Get Your Aromatics Right Every Time

What would pesto be without basil? Wouldn't it be bland without a little garlic and some olive oil? Ingredients such as these combine perfectly together, creating a well-balanced, aromatic dish, with heaps of flavor. Every cuisine makes use of a variety of base ingredients such as garlic, onions, celery and carrots - and these base ingredients can be used for everything from sauces to sautés.  

Cooking with aromatics 

Aromatics are a combination of vegetables and herbs, heated in some fat at the start of a dish. We cook in this order because the heated fat helps the ingredients release addictive aromas, which create deep flavors within the dish.

This guide takes a look at some of the most common aromatics used for Chinese, French, Indian, Italian, Latin, Middle Eastern and Thai foods, whilst also offering other supplement ingredients. It goes without saying that you need not use all the ingredients listed. 

Aromatics around the world
 

Cajun 

Aromatics around the world

Aromatics used: Onion, celery, green bell pepper

Fats: Cook the above in olive oil and/or butter

Supplement with: Garlic, parsley, shallots and paprika 

 

Chinese 

Aromatics around the world

Aromatics used: Garlic, scallions (green onions), ginger

Fats: Fry in cooking oil

Supplement with: Chilies, shallots, chives, cilantro, Chinese five spice, star anise 

 

French (Mirepoix - Chopped vegetable cut) 

Aromatics around the world

Aromatics used: Onions, carrots, celery

Fats: Cook with butter

Supplement with: Parsley, thyme, bay leaves, Herbes de Provence 

 

Indian 

Aromatics around the world

Aromatics used: Onions, garlic, chilies, ginger

Fats: Heat the above using ghee

Supplement with: Tomatoes, cardamom, cumin, cumin seeds, curry powder (or leaves, paste), cloves, fenugreek, Garam Masala, turmeric 

 

Italian (Soffritto) 

Aromatics around the world

Aromatics used: Onions, carrots, celery

Fats: Fry in olive oil

Supplement with: Garlic, fennel, bay leaves, wine, parsley, sage, prosciutto, pancetta 

 

Latin (Sofrito) 

Aromatics around the world

Aromatics used: Garlic, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes

Fats: Cook with olive oil

Supplement with: Chilies, bay leaves, cumin, paprika, cilantro, bacon, chorizo, ham, wine, vinegars 

 

Middle Eastern 

Aromatics around the world

Aromatics used: Garlic, onions, tomatoes, scallions (green onions), raisins

Fats: Use cooking oil and/or clarified butter

Supplement with: Ginger, saffron, turmeric, cinnamon 

Thai (Curry pastes) 

Aromatics around the world

Aromatics used: Shallots, garlic, chilies

Fats: Cook with cooking oil and coconut milk

Supplement with: Galangal, Kaffir lime, lemon grass, coconut milk 

 
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