Some ingredients have the power to transform a dish, making it richer, bolder, and more exciting. We asked chefs for their personal game changers – and the creative ways they work magic.
TAMARIND & STAR ANISE CHEESE DIP
From Holly Jivin, the chef de cuisine at the Bazaar by José Andrés at the SLS Beverly Hills in Los Angeles
START TO FINISH: 30 MINUTES
> 1 tbsp star anise
> ½ cup milk
> ½ cup heavy cream
> 230g goat cheese
> Tamarind juice concentrate
> Extra-virgin olive oil
> Vegetable chips (like sweet potato, beet, carrot, and plantain), for serving
1. Lightly toast star anise. Use a spice grinder to grind into a powder. Set aside.
2. In a saucepan over medium- low heat, stir together milk and cream until warmed.
3. Remove from heat, add goat cheese, and use a stick blender to whip until smooth. Season to taste with salt.
4. Refrigerate mixture. Once cold, use a hand mixer to whip until light, 1 to 2 minutes. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
5. Scoop half into a bowl, drizzle with tamarind concentrate, sprinkle lightly with star anise powder, and drizzle with oil. Add remaining dip to the bowl and repeat toppings. Serve with vegetable chips.
Tamarind is tart yet sweet, which complements the earthy tang of goat cheese. And star anise, which can be overpowering alone, rounds it all out.
– chef Holly Jivin
From Gaurav Anand, the chef and owner of aRoqa in New York City
START TO FINISH: 3 HOURS, 15 MINUTES
> ¼ cup Greek yogurt
> 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
> 1 tsp red chilli powder
> 1 tsp ground coriander
> ¼ tsp ground turmeric
> ½ tsp garam masala
> Juice of 1 lemon
> 12 medium shrimp, cleaned and deveined
> 2 tbsp butter, melted
> 1 tsp mustard oil (found in speciality stores or online, or substitute a mixture of 6 parts canola oil to 1 part mustard powder)
> ½ tsp red pepper ﬂakes
> Chaat masala spice mix
> 2 tsp cilantro, chopped (for garnish)
1. In a large bowl, stir together the ﬁrst seven ingredients. Then add salt to taste. Add shrimp and toss to coat. Refrigerate for 3 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 180 deg C. On a baking sheet, toss the marinated shrimp with butter, mustard oil, red pepper ﬂakes, a pinch of salt, and a generous pinch of chaat masala. Bake until cooked through, about 5 minutes. (Or you can sear the shrimp in a pan with the seasonings.) Garnish with cilantro and serve.
PLAY WITH SPICE
The bold taste of mustard layers in some richness when combined with spices like turmeric and chilli powder and aromatics such as garlic and ginger. And it pairs perfectly with shrimp.
– chef Gaurav Anand
ASPARAGUS AND SPRING ONIONS WITH BACON
From Soogil Lim, the chef and owner of Soogil in New York City
START TO FINISH: 1 HOUR, 15 MINUTES
> ½ cup rice vinegar
> ½ cup water
> 2 tbsp sugar
> 1½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
> 6 spring onions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
> 4 to 6 slices bacon, cut into 0.6cm batons
> 2 garlic cloves, smashed
> 24 stalks jumbo or extra-large asparagus, trimmed, and sliced on the bias
> Black pepper
> 12 mint leaves, thinly sliced
> ¼ cup crushed salted peanuts
1. In a small saucepan, bring the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt to a boil. Place ⅓ of the white parts of the onions in a jar or a small bowl, pour pickling liquid over them, and set aside for at least 1 hour.
2. Place a pan over medium heat; when warm, add the bacon. Once the fat starts to render, add the garlic. Remove cloves when garlic starts to turn golden brown. Stir the bacon to brown evenly, then remove from pan and reserve.
3. Drain any excess fat from the pan, leaving enough to cook the vegetables. Return to heat and add the remaining white onion parts. Cook until tender, then add the asparagus and sauté until crunchy but cooked, about 2 minutes, drizzling in water as needed to keep vegetables from sticking. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Remove pan from the heat and add cooked bacon, along with mint and peanuts. Toss gently. Before serving, top asparagus with pickled spring onion and thinly sliced fresh green onion parts.
GIVE IT SOME BITE
A little bacon is enough to add depth and heartiness to spring vegetables.
– chef Soogil Lim
PHOTOS DANNY KIM
FOOD STYLING JAMIE KIMM
PROP STYLING SARAH CAVE/EH MANAGEMENT