- Bottle of 14 ounces
- An unusual ingredient with a wide range of creative uses
- Add zip to your barbecue sauce, drizzle around foie gras or add delicious sweetness to your breads
Label changed but hurrah! I found my favorite quirky ingredient!
I’ve been using this stuff ~12 years; the chef who introduced me to it has used it over 25; once I stopped buying it off him when he’d get a case in, I bought it at middle eastern stores. The brand of it was, for a long time, simply “Indo European” because that is the importer down in Glendale, Cali; Al Wadi is one of their brands, and that is the brand they attached to this particular product for retail use whereas restaurants seem to get bulk cases of the Indo European branded ones. Seeing this one, I had a hunch it would be the same thing; their website made me almost certain. My last bottle was about a third of the way down and I’ve been using it a lot lately, so I decided to browse Amazon and here it is, that quirky octagonal “domanco anjar” vessel with the “superior quality” foil label and gold aluminum lid… Glad I looked online before calling around! I tried both side by side, and it’s definitely the same stuff–same geographic source, distributor, texture/thickness, and taste (label excepted).
What I’m a little confused by is the size here vs in the stores, which I’m guessing is just an Amazon error I figure is worth mentioning–here it’s listed as 14oz vs 10oz being what it is cataloged on the site and in the store and what I own for *both* brands. Don’t be surprised if your bottle is 10oz; while my two labels differ in how they express contents (one says net WEIGHT, which would, at 18g per tablespoon, be 12.7oz; the other just says 10 ounces), the volume matches: 20tbsp=295mL=1.25cups=10 fluid ounces. Regardless, Indo European is the parent company to Al Wadi (I have plenty of other stuff by them, too, and most are quite yummy), so if you suddenly can’t find this OR Indo European brand, you can always check their site to see if they streamlined it into another line. 😉
While my 5 stars and review title should say enough about my opinion of it, I saw some curiosity over the use of this stuff, so here are some thoughts/experiences.
My most frequent (though not quite my favorite–see checklist below) use for it is LAMB. Instead of mint *ick* I like my lamb stuffed with port-soaked cherries and the like… I get local (super fresh), sustainable, grass-eating lamb cut to my liking at the butcher and immediately take a Ziploc freezer bag and shove herbs aplenty (sprigs of thyme being something I never omit), Meyer lemon peel and some of the juice and often a few slices of it, too… sometimes Maille coarse whole grain mustard (the whole seeds–it’s NOTHING like yellow or even brown or Dijon really), vinegar–red wine vinegar from Italy and sometimes local honey wine vinegar… some vanilla extract with a bit of the bean scrapings (home made), and really as it is mood dependent, the rest often changes–sometimes raspberry balsamic vinegar, Benessimo making a nice clean cheap one, sometimes grade B Vermont maple syrup drizzled in, sometimes unsulfured Uwharrie molasses–it’s all a quirky, ever-changing mix, spices also changing often in contents and proportions. I ALWAYS let it marinade at least 48 hours in this vinegary mix that is essentially air-tight slush (oh and I trim all the fat off the lamb before marinating, using the fat separately) and in cooking,this often comes into play. I’ll have whatever fruit–cherries or some kind of berries–simmering if they weren’t wine-soaked, sometimes in balsamic depending on how much vinegar and what kind OF vinegar I used in the marinade (condiment quality aged balsamic isn’t sour like you’d expect, and no matter what goes in with the lamb, it’s never a LOT of acid, just enough to make the fruit and savory flavors bold and binding)… and no matter how I cook it–oven or lately on the stove right in with the fruit reduction–at the end, this gets drizzled on it, often when in the pot I’m slicing the lamb into strips–I leave it medium rare. Blackberries make it gorgeous and purple; strawberries bring its sweetness out more; I’ve noticed the “sour” cherries (ie Chukar) in the PNW aren’t sour at all to me so while my preference is to get intense types already, if I use local kinds, they often are made more tart with this… this zings like tart cherries SHOULD. Oh, when I stuff lamb with the cherries-it all depends on the cut–it’s a baking project, and a light zigzaggy drizzle of this makes a nice crusty top when, after getting it almost to temp, I broil it VERY briefly.
Anything high quality balsamic or raspberry balsamic can do, so too can this. It’s also great for zinging up sweet or bland things. Ice cream topping, check. Salad dressing base, check (and it’s already thicker than vinegar bases and if seeds bug you in raspberry vinaigrette, this can sub nicely if you tone down the vinegar a touch). Making “tarts” actually tart, check. Same with “energy bars” with those kind of pitiful dried craisin type things (I always go unsweetened), check. Swirling into fruit smoothies that aren’t quite as strong as you wanted, check. Pretty homemade pop component that freezing doesn’t make too weak, check. Helping sad dehydrated fruit seem like it’s fresher than actual when cooking with them (fruit-dependent), check. Adding to drinks-alcoholic fruity ones, lemonades, stuff you buy blue/blackberry syrups for, even some teas with either hibiscus or fruits or that you wish had those things, check (also: cold weather: fruiting up cheap gloggi/gluhwein that you’re heating up, hopefully with lots of whole spices in the bottom of the pot and some golden raisins in the mugs, check). Being the 6th spice to 5 spice powder for certain recipes, possible check. Candying almonds and other nuts toffee-like with a light dusting of spices and sugar on the outside, check. Candying those nuts sans spices and bringing a fantastic surprise to a dessert they get used in, big check. Using with savory warm herbs and a bit of merlot for simmering then quick-searing duck breasts, oh lord yes, check and a golden star for a job well done! Finally, while potentially not “kosher,” making your lover taste even more delectable … CHECK, PLEASE!
Pomagranate mollasses made tasty cookies
Nothing like it!
A little goes a long way. Speedy delivery also a plus. Highly recommend.