My favourite condiments

I am often asked which pots and pans one should have in the kitchen, but never about which basic condiments to stock.

Well, they are just as important as they bring lots of flavour to the food you cook. When my mother helped me to stock my very first kitchen, she gave me rice, soya sauces and salt to start me off.

Today, my kitchen would have brown rice, artisanal soya sauces (I get them from a man who still makes his own) and sea salt flakes, as I like biting into them. To that list, I would add Worcestershire sauce, mustard (English, please), black peppercorns and honey.

No vinegar, as I rely on lemons.

Also, no more tomato ketchup as a bottle takes months to use up. Instead, I buy little packets like those found at fast-food outlets.

No chilli sauce either - the bottles take ages to finish as well. Instead, I save those little packets given away by food stalls, mix the contents up to suit my own tastes and freeze those in little plastic containers for use over time.

As for spices, my fridge always has a good curry powder, as well as chilli, turmeric, coriander and galangal powders, for use in a hurry.

By the way, I buy them in little jars, again for freshness, and spice company McCormick offers a good range in small sizes.

Sylvia Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 15, 2015, with the headline 'My favourite condiments'. Print Edition | Subscribe