International pantry items like ghee, kimchi, and tahini, once considered niche, are now ubiquitous in well-stocked home kitchens in the U.S. Forthcoming titles showcase traditional and original uses for various chutneys, sauces, and spreads from around the world.
In Preserved: Condiments (Oct.), part of a new Hardie Grant series focused on food preservation, Gastronomica founding editor Darra Goldstein, chef Cortney Burns, and media executive Richard Martin survey preparations made via curing, drying, pickling, smoking, or fermentation, such as Indian achaar; Yemeni sahawiq, better known by its Hebrew name, zhug; and Haitian pikliz.
Scott Mowbray and Ann Taylor Pittman, food media veterans and coauthors of the James Beard Award–winning The New Way to Cook Light, encourage readers to level up archetypal American dishes in The Global Pantry Cookbook, an October release from Workman. For instance, shrimp and grits becomes chili shrimp—brined with sugar, sambal oelek, fish sauce, and soy—and coconut grits; bulgogi Sloppy Joes are served with Sriracha-spiced slaw; and no-churn ice cream is made with sweetened condensed milk and bits of preserved lemon. “These are concentrated flavors that have been developed over hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years of culinary tradition,” says Workman senior editor Kylie Foxx McDonald.
One spicy, garlicky condiment covered in Global Pantry is popular enough to star in a pair of books this season: The Book of Sichuan Chili Crisp by Jing Gao (Ten Speed, Sept.) and Chili Crisp by James Park (Chronicle, Aug.).
At first, Park, a recipe developer and food writer, questioned whether he was the best person to write about chili crisp; the condiment has roots in Chinese cuisine and he’s a Korean immigrant to the U.S. “But there are different kinds of chili crisps coming out—Moroccan chili crisp and Filipino chili crisps,” he says. “I saw this as an opportunity to explore my Korean identity and Korean cuisine.” His book includes riffs on Korean classics, such as chili crisp tteokbokki and chili crisp bulgogi deopbap, as well as “dishes that really make me happy,” he says, such as fiery spaghetti and meatballs and spicy, salted caramel chocolate bars.
In his book’s introduction, Park writes that Fly by Jing, the Chinese foods brand Gao launched in 2018, makes one of his favorite chili crisps. Gao says, “We introduced chili crisp to the American palate”; she was born in Sichuan Province, grew up abroad, and lives in Los Angeles. “Prior to us, there was no awareness, and even if there were, it was that old-school brand available only in Chinese grocery stores.”
Her 85 recipes include snacks and mains, cocktails and desserts; a recipe like spicy sticky date cake, she says, demonstrates that Sichuan flavors can be painted on any canvas. “For too long, Chinese food has been misunderstood,” Gao says. “I lean into the specificity of my personal story. I’m from Chengdu; we produce and source everything there. I’ve found that people are able to relate to my story, because everybody has the experience of seeking belonging and trying to find their voice.”