What makes something taste Italian or Cajun or Moroccan? Whether crafting vinaigrette, seasoning chicken, or developing a soup, understanding the flavors of ingredients that help to define various cuisines can be deeply useful.
Every cuisine has its regional variations; Basque cuisine is vastly different from the classic dishes from Provence, but they’re both French. So consider this a shorthand reference to a few culinary stereotypes. Don’t overdo it. Try incorporating two to four ingredients from a cuisine group to tilt a flavor profile in that general direction.
dark roux, onions, celery, green pepper, tomatoes, parsley, cayenne, Cajun spice blends, blackening seasonings, lemon, scallions, andouille sausage, crab, shrimp
butter, shallots, onions, celery, carrots, thyme, tarragon, herbs de Provence, bay leaves, chives, chervil, capers, red and white wine, truffle, soft cheeses, Dijon mustard, mushrooms, cream
tandoori spices, garam masala, curry, yogurt, coconut milk, basmati rice, tamarind, cardamom, cumin, coriander, cilantro, fennel, garlic, saffron, fenugreek, dried chilies
garlic, onions, celery, basil, pesto, prosciutto, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, mozzarella cheese, pine nuts, tomatoes, artichokes, olives, olive oil, oregano, lemon, fennel, flat-leaf parsley, red pepper flakes, rosemary, white beans, balsamic vinegar
miso, sesame seed oil, sesame seeds, rice vinegar, sake, soy sauce, wasabi, ginger
oregano, lemon, olives, tuna, rosemary, bay leaves, thyme, olive oil, lamb, garlic, feta cheese, tomatoes, red onions, fish, shellfish
cumin, chili powder, hot sauce, green peppers, oregano, lime, garlic, onions, celery, cilantro, tomatoes, scallions, black beans, Cheddar cheese, avocado
mint, lemon, harissa, saffron, turmeric, parsley, cilantro, honey, olives, almonds, dates, raisins, chickpeas, eggplant, green bell peppers, carrots, lentils, onion, ground ginger, paprika, cumin, cayenne, figs
ginger, garlic, scallions, shallots, lemongrass, Thai basil, cilantro, fish sauce, shrimp paste, soy sauce, coconut milk, sesame seeds, sesame oil, rice or sweet wine vinegar, cilantro, lime, oyster sauce, galangal, hot chili peppers
Where this information came from
This is excerpted from The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn with permission from Viking/Penguin.