THE ESSENTIAL PANTRY – Adding subtle flavour

Looking ahead, we will be sharing tips, recipes and insight to enhance the home dining experience. Whether you are a novice or master in your kitchen you'll learn to get creative with basic pantry essentials to navigate any recipe and make it your own.

So how do you season a dish without over-doing it? The shelves in a well-stocked Cantonese home are full of dried seafood called ‘hoi mei’ [海味] (sea flavours). Often used in soups or added into stews and fried rice for instance, dried shrimp, conpoy, anchovies and kelp are umami-packed - offering a savoury richness that doesn't require additional salt.

A simple trick to boost any dish is grinding your dried seafood to a fine powder and incorporating it into sauces, stews or even over roasted potatoes. If you’re in Hong Kong, dried seafood can be easily found at specialist shops, many located in the Sheung Wan neighbourhood. A little goes a long way- try a combination of ground seafoods for your own exotic blend or mixing with salt and garnishing over seafood, roast chicken or steaks.