Inventory – The 2016 Edition

As I promised in my last post, I have made a complete photograph-supported catalogue of my pantry, along with notes about items.

Looking at the items over and over as I photographed them, photo-edited them, titled them and captioned them, the following ten categories emerged:

  • Chinese cuisine
  • Japanese cuisine
  • Thai cuisine
  • Indian cuisine
  • What do I do with this? Make more kimchi?
  • Things I put in drinks
  • Ready-to-eat
  • Just use already
  • Unique flavourings
  • Staples & Condiments

I can’t imagine others care too much to read everything, but if you have been following along for this long, then I suggest you at least skip to the “Just use already” section. That is where the biggest challenges are.

Chinese cuisine

I have a lot of Chinese pantry items, which is entirely no surprise to me. I’ve had a pantry full of Chinese items since I was a student living in Chinatown.

There are only two things in this section that I feel like I need to make an effort to use: the raw peanuts and the spicy chili crisp. I can see myself using the peanuts for various things, but I bought them for a specific recipe. If I don’t use the spicy chili crisp, then I am under utilizing my newest cookbook, Lucky Peach 101 Easy Asian Recipes.

Chili bean paste
Chili bean paste

Ash taught me that you can add chili bean paste to lots of stuff for instant yum.

Spicy chili crisp
Spicy chili crisp

I bought spicy chili crisp because the Lucky Peach 101 Easy Asian Recipes told me to.

Red bean chili paste
Red bean chili paste

Red bean chili paste AKA Doubanjiang. Necessary for a variety of Chinese sauces.

Black bean paste
Black bean paste

Black bean paste. Necessary for a variety of Chinese sauces.

Fermented black beans
Fermented black beans

Fermented black beans are not as stinky as advertised, at least, not to someone who likes washed aged cheeses.

Chinese dried chilis
Chinese dried chilis

Two or three Sichuan dishes and this bag of Chinese dried chilies will be used up.

Taiwanese rice
Taiwanese rice

This brand of Taiwanese rice is the tastiest rice I’ve found, with a buttery nutty flavour, but it’s totally inappropriate for anything but Chinese dishes, and requires a lot of lead time for soaking.

Chinkiang vinegar
Chinkiang vinegar

I will never be without Chinkiang vinegar again. I’d love to see what I can do with this outside of Chinese dishes.

Shaoxing rice wine
Shaoxing rice wine

This brand of Shaoxing rice wine is the cheap stuff for cooking. Apparently the good stuff is drinkable.

Black fungus
Black fungus

I’ve used some of this black fungus twice already. A little goes a long way, since they expand so much when hydrated.

Raw peanuts
Raw peanuts

My friend Daniel described a great way to prepare raw peanuts as a snack with Sichuan pepper, but I forget the method now.

Sesame oil
Sesame oil

I included sesame oil for completeness.

Hoisin sauce
Hoisin sauce

I included hoisin sauce to remember that I have it.

Japanese cuisine

My Japanese pantry items fall into two categories: supporting ingredients to make a mean miso ramen with homemade ramen noodles, and a bunch of odd ball stuff. Maybe if I was the kind of person who made rice bowls, these items would make any sense.

Not cataloged: the plastic onigiri form that I bought but never opened.

Furikake
Furikake

I bought furikake for the first time recently. I used it once that same day.

Black sesame seeds
Black sesame seeds

Delightful! Though these particular black sesame seeds might be stale.

Spicy sesame oil
Spicy sesame oil

Spicy sesame oil is a yummy garnish for ramen.

Sodium carbonate
Sodium carbonate

When you bake sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) in a low oven, you convert it to sodium carbonate, which is an ingredient in alkaline noodles AKA ramen noodles.

Matcha soba noodles
Matcha soba noodles

I impulse bought matcha soba noodles when I was picking up standard soba noodles one time.

Nori
Nori

I keep around a package of nori sheets to cut up as garnish in Japanese noodles or rice bowls.

Tsuyu sauce
Tsuyu sauce

I bought these bottles of tsuyu sauce to replenish my stock to have with udon, but I didn’t replenish my udon stock.

Panko
Panko

I bought panko flakes to make breaded deep fried mushrooms, but then made marinaded mushrooms instead.

Miso paste
Miso paste

I’ve had this tub of miso paste in my fridge for months, but it is still good. I should make miso ramen again.

Kikkomon soy sauce
Kikkomon soy sauce

I included Kikkomon soy sauce for completeness.

Thai cuisine

Geez, I have everything in stock but the fresh ingredients for another Thai sticky rice feast. I guess I should schedule one.

I should also finally make the recipe that called for split mung beans, and try to make the dessert sticky rice at least once.

There are two more items in this list that I could move to the “Just use already” section: pandan pudding mix, and the chicken curry sauce. That sounds like a weeknight meal right there.

Sticky rice
Sticky rice

I was really into sticky rice for a while. I should not give that up, or at least, not until this bag is done.

Split mung beans
Split mung beans

I bought this to make a sticky rice dish with, but then didn’t make it. Typical.

Red sticky rice
Red sticky rice

Red sticky rice is used in desserts, which require a lot of lead time to prepare, which is why I fear I won’t use this.

Holy basil seasoning paste
Holy basil seasoning paste

Combine this holy basil seasoning paste with minced meat as directed for a delicious “dip” for vegetables and sticky rice. Part of a Thai sticky rice meal.

Laab seasoning mix
Laab seasoning mix

Laab seasoning mix makes preparing laab at home dead easy.

Tom Ka paste
Tom Ka paste

I’ve had such great luck with other pastes and mixes from this brand, that I decided to try branching out and make my favourite soup, tom ka, at home sometime.

Nam prik ong paste
Nam prik ong paste

Combine this nam prik ong paste with minced meat as directed for a delicious “dip” for vegetables and sticky rice. Part of a Thai sticky rice meal.

Thai chicken curry sauce
Thai chicken curry sauce

I’ve had such great luck with other pastes and mixes from this brand, that I decided to try branching out. I have no idea what the flavour of this “Thai chicken curry sauce” will be like.

Thai red curry paste
Thai red curry paste

I prefer to buy Thai curry paste in these packets so I don’t have a big open jar to feel guilty about. This is the red variety.

Thai green curry paste
Thai green curry paste

I prefer to buy Thai curry paste in these packets so I don’t have a big open jar to feel guilty about. This is the green variety.

Pork rinds
Pork rinds

Turns out pork rinds are a standard accompaniment to a Thai sticky rice meal, which is why you find them in Asian shops.

Tamarind
Tamarind

I bought tamarind to make mango salad, which I have done twice but holy this is so much tamarind.

Palm sugar
Palm sugar

I use this occasionally in Thai cooking. It lasts forever.

Pandan pudding mix
Pandan pudding mix

This pandan pudding mix was an impulse buy during a shopping trip of purely impulse buys. When to make it?

Coconut milk
Coconut milk

Coconut milk is not something I have a problem using up. I always seem to have it in the wrong size, though.

Fish sauce
Fish sauce

I included fish sauce for completeness.

Indian cuisine

I recently committed myself to make rava upma and also a fish curry. I also bought dried mango powder, which I have not even researched how to use. So, yeah, I see at least three projects in this list.

Coarse semolina
Coarse semolina

I bought coarse semolina recently to make rava upma. Question: can I use this interchangeably with the Weizengrieß we eat for breakfast?

Black mustard seeds
Black mustard seeds

I bought black mustard seeds to make rava upma.

Raw cashews
Raw cashews

I bought raw cashews to make rava upma. I used up that bag for something else and bought this bag as a replacement.

Mustard leaves in curry sauce
Mustard leaves in curry sauce

These mustard leaves in curry sauce were an impulse buy when I was buying the things to make lentils one evening, but then the lentils were more than enough to feed us. They are labelled as ready-to-eat, so I should just eat them already.

Dried mango powder
Dried mango powder

Just before I committed to buying dried mango powder on impulse, I read that it adds a tangy sourness to dishes. Yes please!

Fish curry masala
Fish curry masala

I bought fish curry masala when someone I trust about Indian food told me that this is a trustworthy brand. I’ve liked fish curry when I’ve had it, but never order it because I think the probability of being disappointed is high.

Panch phoron
Panch phoron

I prepared this panch phoron following a recipe, not realizing that it has a name and you can just buy it ready-mixed. I have enjoyed it with lentils and potatoes.

Mixed hot pickle
Mixed hot pickle

I included mixed hot pickle to remember that I have them. I eat these with Indian foods, and occasionally with hard cheeses.

What do I do with this? Make more kimchi?

I could have called this section “Korean cuisine” but that would be a lie since all you can do with these things is make more kimchi. Last time I made kimchi, the smell during fermentation disgusted Fronx so much we never ate the kimchi, which is super sad.

Long story short, if you are looking to make kimchi, please consider taking my stock of salt and chili.

Bonus challenge: am I able to make anything else with the shrimp paste?!

Coarse sea salt
Coarse sea salt

I bought this huge bag of coarse sea salt to make kimchi. This was the smallest size you could buy.

Korean chili flakes
Korean chili flakes

I bought this huge bag of Korean chili flakes to make kimchi. This was the smallest size you could buy. I also used them to make chili oil once, but found them to be too mild for that purpose.

Shrimp paste
Shrimp paste

I bought shrimp paste for making kimchi. It is not actually a paste but tiny shrimps. You need only a tablespoon for every two cabbages worth of kimchi. How will I ever use this up?!

Things I put in drinks

Sorting the collection of pantry items, a section emerged: things I have for the purpose of putting in drinks. For the most part, I don’t need to be reminded to use these, but maybe I should remind myself to stop buying salty sweet things to put in drinks: four kinds is enough!

Oh, and maybe I could make a Moroccan stew sometime instead.

Preserved lemons
Preserved lemons

I put preserved lemons at the bottom of sweet fizzy drinks and cocktails, plus I will often add a teaspoon of the brine. Maybe I should actually cook something with them.

Chinese salted plums
Chinese salted plums

I put Chinese salted plums at the bottom of sweet fizzy drinks and cocktails. Very good with ginger beer.

Salted apricots
Salted apricots

I put salted apricots at the bottom of sweet fizzy drinks and cocktails. If this seems weird, note the glass pictured on the label.

Thai pickled limes
Thai pickled limes

I put Thai pickled limes at the bottom of sweet fizzy drinks and cocktails.

Instant matcha ginger latte
Instant matcha ginger latte

I picked up this instant matcha ginger latte mix in the summer. We mixed it hot and served on ice, which was tasty!

Powdered lemon peel
Powdered lemon peel

I was way into making tea with powdered lemon peel two years ago.

Celery salt
Celery salt

Celery salt is a key ingredient in everyone’s favourite tomato-based cocktails, and useless for pretty much anything else. Correct me if I am wrong.

Matcha tea
Matcha tea

I bought this matcha tea powder for mocktail experiments.

Ready-to-eat

Okay, so these are ready to eat so I should just fucking eat them. Fuck yeah.

Sardines with white wine
Sardines with white wine

I bought these sardines with white wine because that fish is so cute! And because I like having tinned fish around, especially sardines.

Sardines with lemon
Sardines with lemon

Mmm sardines with lemon. The thing about sardines is they aren’t cheap, but the best way to eat them is straight from the tin. They are luxury lazy food.

Roasted red peppers
Roasted red peppers

Roasted red peppers are a ready-to-eat food. How are these not eaten yet?

Baked beans
Baked beans

These baked beans are very likely to be eaten, and when they are it will likely be straight from the can on buttered toast.

Just use already

Here it is. The real reason I did an inventory.

This is the list of items that make me feel like a hoarder. I save things for a special time instead of diving in. Or I buy one ingredient on impulse with a grand plan and then I promptly forget about that plan until I see the item kicking around a drawer.

These are the things I can’t let go of. Until I see that it expired. Or worse, it has no expiry but after five years I finally toss it. (Goodbye, gooseberry jelly that bob made. I’m sorry.)

I vow to use, prepare, or otherwise make something with each of these jewels.

Instant tapioca
Instant tapioca

This Instant tapioca package doesn’t have an expiry date on it, but I think it might pre-date Fronx. Do you think it’s still good?

Soybean paste
Soybean paste

I bought this soybean paste for a reason. I just have no recollection what that reason was. I think maybe something in Hot Sour Salty Sweet.

Ancho chiles
Ancho chiles

Look how big and glossy and beautiful these ancho chiles are! I shouldn’t let them go to waste.

Long pepper
Long pepper

Apparently, long pepper used to be as common as peppercorns during the spice trading days. I bought these on impulse from the fancy spice shop in Zurich, with a vague plan to make something sweet yet spicy, like pepper shortbread.

St Lawrence Market churrasco chicken sauce
St Lawrence Market churrasco chicken sauce

I don’t even know if this bottle of St Lawrence Market churrasco chicken sauce is from last year, or even longer ago. Do you think it is still good? It has no expiry date …

Clam bouillon
Clam bouillon

I intended to use this clam bouillon to make Caesers.

Flattened rice
Flattened rice

I bought flattened rice on impulse from the fancy spice shop in Zurich when we were there in the spring.

Cheese culture
Cheese culture

I ordered cheese culture from Amazon to make curds.

Rennet
Rennet

I ordered rennet from Amazon to make curds.

Wild rice
Wild rice

Mike Wood gave me this peanut butter jar full of wild rice when he visited us just before moving from London back to Canada. He described a method for popping it like popcorn by dipping a sieve of it into hot oil.

Canned pumpkin
Canned pumpkin

I’ve been hoarding this canned pumpkin for so long that it’s past its due date. I think I can still use it if I use it this month.

Pectin
Pectin

I keep thinking I’ll make jelly. I’ve thrown away at least one box of pectin like this and one bag of pectin sugar since the last time I actually made jelly.

Dry yeast
Dry yeast

I think I bought dry yeast to make challah with, even though the other times I made challah I used fresh yeast. Hrmm.

Pumpkin butter
Pumpkin butter

This pumpkin butter was a gift from Kristin and Sebastian. I lost it among our other spreads.

Amanda cod roe
Amanda cod roe

Morgan gave us this can of Amanda “luksusrogn”, or “luxury roe”. Morgan suggests pan frying slices of it. According to the Amanda Seafoods website, ”The only limit is your imagination.”

Unique flavourings

These items are the ones that I think “Hey, I should use that!” when I see it while digging around when I am already in the middle of cooking, but they don’t make me think “Ugh, why haven’t I used that already?”

There are also some items in my uncatalogued spice collection that could go in this section, such as citric acid, berbere, fenugreek seeds, lemon peel. The rest of the things in jars, including Sichuan peppercorns and white sesame seeds, are likely to get used by way of the other items in the inventory.

Dried limes
Dried limes

I bought dried limes after popping into a shop called Iran Shop to see if they carry Persian sweet lemons. (They do, in season.) I put this in some soup recently, with delicious effect.

Hot mustard powder
Hot mustard powder

I admit I bought this hot mustard powder for the tin. I also swear I used to use mustard powder a lot but now never do.

Cinchona bark
Cinchona bark

I had such high hopes for you, cinchona bark. I still have unused bottles of tonic syrup. To be fair, even if I drank only my own syrup, I think I would have some left.

Kecap manis
Kecap manis

Kecap manis is Indonesian soy sauce. It is thicker, sweeter, and less salty than standard soy sauce. I bought it to go with tempeh. Turns out Fronx doesn’t really like tempeh.

Pomegranate molasses
Pomegranate molasses

Sara bought pomegranate molasses to make a delicious Persian chicken dish. I occasionally take it out and taste a few drops of it.

Staples & Condiments

And here is everything else. All this stuff I could have just left out, really. I expect to use this stuff, maybe not soon, but soon enough.

I wanted to include these items so I can know if I have them without checking. That said, I omitted flour, white sugar, neutral oil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, handful of prepared mustards, jams, honeys, and teas.

Balsamic creme
Balsamic creme

I’ve drizzled this balsamic creme on a few things. I like having it around.

Maple syrup
Maple syrup

I must not let this Grade C maple syrup go to waste!

Golden syrup
Golden syrup

Michele left the rest of this tin of golden syrup here after making a pecan pie.

Yellow canned tomatoes
Yellow canned tomatoes

I swear yellow canned tomatoes are yummier than red canned tomatoes.

Chickpeas
Chickpeas

It is always good to have a can of chickpeas around to toss into a salad or throw in a curry for extra protein.

Jasmine
Jasmine

I don’t know why I photographed jasmine when I excluded all other tea.

Basmati rice
Basmati rice

This is some random brand of basmati rice that I picked up in an emergency once.

Popping corn
Popping corn

Fronx doesn’t like popcorn, and he looks at me funny when I eat it.

Basmati rice
Basmati rice

As you can tell from how much is already consumed, basmati rice is not in danger of being uneaten.

Dutch cocoa powder
Dutch cocoa powder

Fronx claims he bought this. Fine, but I like to have a box of Dutch cocoa powder around so you can surprise yourself by your ability to make cocoa.

Thai short grain rice
Thai short grain rice

Thai short grain rice is my favourite go-to fast cooking all-purpose rice.

Sticky rice powder
Sticky rice powder

I bought sticky rice powder as a gluten-free thickener. I’m not going to be upset if I don’t use this for anything else.

Dark brown sugar
Dark brown sugar

I try to keep a bag of dark brown sugar around in case I can’t find it in shops when I want it. It has a tendency to not always be in stock.

Thai red chili sauce
Thai red chili sauce

There is no way this Thai red chili sauce will go unused. Maybe I can do something else besides dip chicken in it, though.

Worcestershire sauce
Worcestershire sauce

I included worcestershire sauce to remember that I have it.

Vanilla extract
Vanilla extract

I included vanilla extract mostly for completeness. I am happy to have it when I need it. I used it three times in December.

Sugar beet syrup
Sugar beet syrup

Sugar beet syrup is what passes for molasses in Germany. It doesn’t go bad. I use it every now and the.

Rice vinegar
Rice vinegar

Rice vinegar is good to have around, even if you rarely use it.

Peanut oil
Peanut oil

I have no recollection if I bought peanut oil for a reason or not.

Cider vinegar
Cider vinegar

I included cider vinegar to remember that I have it.

Red wine vinegar
Red wine vinegar

I included red wine vinegar to remember that I have it.

Sambal oelek
Sambal oelek

This will get eaten by Fronx no problem. Sambal oelek is a go-to sandwich spread for him.

Next step: actually make a plan to use everything

Thumbs up
Let’s do this!

Now that cataloging the inventory is done, I’ll research recipes and make plans for the items.

9 thoughts on “Inventory – The 2016 Edition

  1. Wow, you did it! That’s an impressive pantry, especially considering you moved not too long ago. Here are my comments on things you asked about:
    Sesame seeds: You can probably just toss them since they go rancid so quickly.
    Coarse semolina: You might just have to cook it longer, but it should work.
    Shrimp paste: There are tons of recipes that call for it, especially Thai. Of course the only one I can think of now is homemade curry paste, but that seems like more trouble than it’s worth.
    Celery salt: I use it in tuna salad instead of regular salt.
    Tapioca: Should still be good. I’ve only had tapioca go bad once, and it just disintegrated when I added the milk. Might have been from being too banged up though.
    Berbere: It’s really good on grilled chicken.

    Like

  2. I’ve never had access to enough gooseberries to make jelly out of them. So either you threw out some other jelly, or someone else’s. I’m happy not to know 🙂

    Like

  3. I enjoyed looking at your pantry list complete with photographs! I feel like it gave me a little glimps through the window into your life.

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  4. Yes, enjoyed the overview of your pantry items. The celery salt can go into soups, stews, gravies and of course to rim a ceaser.

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