10 Ingredients You’ve Never Used Before

Variety is said to be the spice of life. Experimenting with new ingredients is a great way to keep things interesting in your kitchen and at the dinner table. The Foodpairing® Tool now contains over 1,700+ ingredients from around the world. First try your hand at creating something completely new with these 10 exciting ingredients.


Fruity Tropical Rambutan

Rambutan are native to the tropical climates of Southeast Asia. The word rambutan means hairs, referring to their yellowish-green hairy spikes and red leathery exteriors. The flesh inside is similar to that of lychee, with a more mild, grape-like flavor. Try this recipe for a summer rambutan curry.

Try pairing rambutans with mango, cucumber, rose, licorice, Emmental, veal sweetbreads, crab and Darjeeling tea.


Kamut® ancient grains

Kamut is a protein-rich, organic heirloom grain that traces back to the ancient cultivar, khorasan. Nearly double the size of most grains, kamut has a chewy texture and a nutty, buttery flavor. Try this recipe for Umami-rich Kamut risotto with Butternut Squash.

Try pairing kamut with apples, rambutan, tomatoes, beef, horse mackerel, sharp cheddar, Korean doenjang, Remy Martin XO Cognac Fine Champagne, Japanese sencha and Darjeeling teas.

bacuri foodpairing matches

Amazonian Bacuri

Bacuri is an aromatic South American fruit that closely resembles papaya in color and shape but grows mostly wild in the Amazonian rainforest. The tart, flavorful pulp surrounding its seeds is typically consumed fresh and used in juices, jams, jellies and ice creams. Try this recipe for Bacuri Mousse.

Try pairing bacuri with nectarines, yellow bell peppers, cilantro, cloves, feta, pork belly, salmon and Metaxa.


Peruvian Ají Mirasol

Ají Mirasol is the sun-dried version of the fresh Peruvian ají amarillo chile pepper. The mature, orange pods turn yellow when cooked. This medium to spicy pepper is favored in many dishes, sauces and condiments for its bright, fruity flavor.

Try pairing ají mirasol with buffalo mozzarella, mandarins, ginger, chervil, jasmine, horse mackerel or Cointreau.


Indian Long Peppers

Long peppers are used in Indian cuisine as both a seasoning and a spice. They have a milder heat than Tellicherry black peppercorns, tempered with sweet notes of nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom, leaving a pleasant tobacco-like finish. Read more about long peppers on Serious Eats.

Try pairing Indian long peppers with mangoes, avocados, parsley, cumin, Gruyère and orange bitters.


Edible Backyard Marigolds

Marigolds have many applications, from organic backyard gardening to vinegar infusions. Their petals and leaves can be consumed raw or blanched, fresh or dry, sweet or savory. Use edible marigold petals as a cheerful accent to brighten up any fresh salads or plates. In “The Forgotten Art of Flower Cookery,” author Leona Woodring Smith says:

“Pull entire petals from the stem, and as you hold them firmly in your hand, with scissors cut off the white (or pale greenish) ‘heels,’ as this could give a bitter taste if not removed.”

Try pairing marigolds with grapefruit, carrots, rosemary, nutmeg, Vacherin cheese and Genever.


Korean Perilla Leaves

Not to be confused with Japanese shiso, perilla leaves or “gaennip” as they are called in Korean, are commonly consumed raw or pickled like kimchi in Korean cuisine.

Try pairing perilla leaves with apricots, passionfruit, guava, tomatillos, duck, Tahitian vanilla, cocoa powder, gorgonzola, lambic beer and port.


Sustainable Pout Whiting

Pout whiting, also called pouting, is a small, bycatch species of cod that is making an appearance on more and more sustainable seafood menus. Characterized by roasted popcorn and buttery aromas, this fish also contains some floral and citrus notes (Read more about the Pouting’s flavor profile). Find a recipe for Pout Whiting with Orange – Carrot – Ginger soup.

Try pouting paired with lychee, pear, fava beans, wheatgrass, kaffir lime leaf, kamut, hazelnuts, Gruyere, soy sauce, coffee, and Don Julio® Tequila blanco.


Tart Mexican Tomatillos

Consumed either raw or cooked, Mexican tomatillos are the key ingredient used in salsa verde. Tart and puckery when green, the red or purplish varieties have a sweeter taste. Tomatillos have a high pectin content, which makes them perfect for incorporating into sauces, jams or preserves.

Try pairing them with apricots, radishes, shiso, saffron, Fourme d’Ambert cheese, roasted chicken, grey mullet and green tea.


Ayurvedic Turmeric

Closely related to ginger, turmeric is a popular ingredient in Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi cuisine. Used either fresh or in its bright orange powder form, its slightly bitter spiciness and earthy, mustard-like flavor is said to provide many health benefits.

Try pairing it with fennel, bergamot, basil, cardamom, Gruyère, sausage and cognac.

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foodpairing tool combinations

Together with the help of our global network of chefs, bartenders and governmental partners, we source ingredients from all over the world. Is there an ingredient you’d like added to our database? Email us at info@foodpairing.com!

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