5 Flavor Elements

Simple, good cooking comes down to balancing salt, fat, acid, sweet and a little bit of “kick”! Pizza is a great example. The dough might be mild on its own but add some tomatoes (acid + sweet), cheese (fat), salt and basil (that little bit of “kick”), and you have flavor.

So, let’s start with the essentials that deliver these 5 flavor elements. I’ve developed the following framework so you may choose your own ingredients that pair well with carbs, vegetables and protein. The table below has been populated with what could be affordable and long lasting. You can follow this as a starting point or choose your own – just remember you want balancing flavors so try not to skew ingredients to just 1 or 2 flavor elements.


*Oils/fat: If cooking with meat, always always take advantage of the fat to flavor the oil.

**Sauces or pastes: Pastes or sauces can be made at home but can takes abit of effort and time, and so I’m focusing on store bought options that will reduce your stress in the kitchen. My essentials include a) soya sauce b) miso paste c) black bean paste d) English mustard. With just a small quantity (usually a tbsp), these pastes pack a lot of flavor that can really bring out the flavor in a dish.

***Roots: Root vegetables are cheap, fibrous, very versatile (stir fries, soups, stews, roasts, salads) and have a long shelf life so go for this always.

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