Just for fun:The "weirdest" ingredient.

What was the most weird thing you ever used as an ingredient - for lack of a better option or cause the recipe called for it?



Greenstuff June 30, 2012
The Singapore airport has an M&Ms store with ~3-foot-tall M&M characters (plain and peanut) holding slices of durian and looking pretty dubious.
petitbleu June 30, 2012
Yup, good old durian. I like the flavor, and I agree that I has a funny smell, but it doesn't smell all that bad to me. I guess that's what working on a goat farm for years does to your sense of nasal propriety. Also, dried scallops I used for a homemade xo sauce. Stinky but delicious.
mensaque June 30, 2012
Gotta love Stewie!!!One of my favorite characters ever!
lorigoldsby June 28, 2012
When I read your question, I was reminded of one of my husband's favorite episodes of "The Family Guy" where Stewie over pronounces the H in Whip...aka "miracle whip" and then he says "whierd" instead of weird!
Cade June 28, 2012
Salt of hartshorn (Ammonium Carbonate). When researching old Scandi cookie recipes, this came up from time to time - made of reindeer antler powder - used before baking soda. Needless to say, I did not get any. King Arthur Flour's website sells it, however.
Greenstuff June 30, 2012
I have some hartshorn and use it occasionally. It does make a crispy cookies, and after baking, there is no lingering ammonia smell.
mensaque June 27, 2012
When I mentioned the lime on the misspelled pumpkin candy before...It wasn't until hours later that I realized how crazy I sounded!It sounded like I was talking about lime juice,but what I meant was the white powder used to paint walls.Is lime the right word for it or am I way off?
pierino June 27, 2012
Durians (supposedly) smell like dead people walking. Except that the flesh is extremely sweet. So, I guess get in touch with your inner zombie. I know where to buy them but they still kind of scare me, and I'm not usually scared by food.
pierino June 26, 2012
And now I keep looking at those durians in the Korean supermarket...
Panfusine June 26, 2012
LOL.. I don't believe F52 has a recipe calling for Durians though...
mensaque June 27, 2012
What are durians(asked the brazillian girl)?
Ophelia June 25, 2012
Dried Jellyfish. but I already knew that I liked Jellyfish salad, so it didn't seem that strange.
I've cooked Geoduck stomach, it turns out that the best part of the beast, cut thin and quickly fried with a little garlic; up until I was in my early teens we had just ground up the foot and made fritters.

Honestly I think those little silver dragees that people put on cakes are pretty weird, especially since it says on the container that they aren't edible (I think that's only true in the US though). We use to put those and borage flowers on all our birthday cakes.
mensaque June 27, 2012
We have silver espheres for decoration in Brazil but I think they're made out of cassava starch but I agree.The tiny ones I even like cause they give it a crunch,but the bigger ones make food seem full of nails.
bugbitten June 25, 2012
I'd say epazote. I may never understand it, but I keep using it for black beans.
threefresheggs June 24, 2012
Yeast. Yeast is definitely weird weird stuff. Also, do you know where cream of tartar comes from? Seriously. I am endlessly amazed that collectively we figured out all this crazy alchemy we call cooking.
SKK June 24, 2012
Mensaque, once again you have started a very interesting conversation. To second boulangere's question, how are you doing?
mensaque June 25, 2012
I'm like House now...witty with a cane.Just for a while.
ChefOno June 24, 2012

I can't compete here. All I can come up with is green coffee beans. Not that I think they're strange, but guests find them and the roasting process quite curious.

shoresdiver June 24, 2012
Years ago, when I was trying to save money by making my own, rather than buying it at a restaurant, I attempted hot and sour soup. Tree ear fungus was an exceptionally strange ingredient (at least to me), but the soup came out OK.... Buying the laundry list of ingredients ended up costing more than just buying it out, though.
Panfusine June 24, 2012
I use it everyday & have been eating it all my life, but I still feel Asafetida is the weirdest ingredient around... especially the big lumpy types that need to be pinched off into bits or puffed up in the microwave & microplaned into dishes.
Its sticky resin from the roots of the wild fennel plant. & stinks to high heaven in its raw state, but boy, transforms so magically when toasted in oil..
SKK June 24, 2012
Panfusine, Asafetida - must it come from wild fennel? Would gardened fennel have it the sticky resin you are talking about?
mensaque June 25, 2012
In good old portuguese,asa fétida means stinky wing!
Panfusine June 25, 2012
SKK.. I don't think its the same as the wild fennel that grows in the US, according toWikipedia, the entire plant emanates that characteristic asafetida stink..
Reiney June 23, 2012
Homemade tempeh was a new one for me - soybeans with about a 1/4" fuzzy grey-black mould growing on top. Also a revelation when twice-cooked in a delicious Indonesian-style curry sauce.

And I made some pretty decent kangaroo stews when living in Australia (not an ingredient I consider weird, but many do).
allans June 23, 2012
I wanted to cook authentic Thai and I had to make ingredients for ingredients for the finished dish. Weird for me was using "Shrimp Paste". The recipe called for the quantity (something like 1/4 cup) to be wrapped in foil, then the foil pack had to be heated in a skillet. If the smell of the shrimp paste wasn't bad enough - once it got warm neighbors thought I was cooking dirty diapers! The house reeked for most of a week. The recipe, however, was delicious.
mensaque June 25, 2012
I had an similar experience with some chicken kidneys once.House smelling like a public lavatory for two days...
boulangere June 23, 2012
Can't think of anything exceptionally weird yet, either. But how are you doing since your surgery? Are you able to go downstairs now? Good to hear from you.
mensaque June 25, 2012
I'm much better,thanks,B.I did not have surgery...just wore a cast for 2 months and stayed off my foot for another month.Now I'm using a cane for climbing stairs and trying not to strain it too much.Missed you too.
SKK June 22, 2012
What is normal to me, based on where I live, like goeey ducks, is very unusual in other parts of the world. I have two unusual ingredients that I tried cooking. One is alligator and two is possum. They were both in Louisiana. Alligator I will do again, possum never. I am language deprived, I only speak English. Don't know how these ingredients translate in Portuguese. Love your questions, Mensaque.
pierino June 24, 2012
Actually SKK, they do have Cayman in Brasil---related to gator. Brasil was among the states that did have influence on the Creole cuisine of that great Melting Pot, New Orleans. Out in the bayous of Lousiana they also cook nutria. Think of them as an aquatic opussum except that they are not a marsupial. They were introduced from somewhere else, I forget where.
SKK June 24, 2012
Thanks, Pierno, interesting note about Cayman in Brasil. I lived in Louisiana, Patterson to be exact and in those days nutria was trapped for its fur. I was never tempted to eat it. Nutria was introduced from South America. Now I live in Seattle overlooking the Ballard Locks and the Ship Canal and nutria are right out there eating their aquatic plants and mussels.

Another interesting note is down the road at my fish monger I can purchase frozen alligator raised in Hagerman, ID which is outside of Twin Falls. http://www.mtexpress.com/2001/01-03-07/01-03-07alligator.htm

mensaque June 25, 2012
Alligator would be our "jacaré"...like a crocodille,common in the Amazon.My mother ate it once and said it was delicious...like a very wite and firm fish fillet.And possum...would translate into "gambá".Similar to a big rat,sprays like a skunk only without the cuteness.Thanks for all the love,SKK.XOXO.
mensaque June 25, 2012
My mom makes a mean okra!
jmburns June 22, 2012
About 20 yrs ago I wanted to make authentic black beans and it called for "epazote". Absolutely unable to locate. Last week in the supermarket they had it in the fresh herb section. Now to find the recipe again. LOL.
kbckitchen June 22, 2012
Well it wasn't really weird but once for cooking club we did a bleu cheese challenge so all dishes had to include it. It was overload!
pierino June 22, 2012
I'm having a tough time with this one because I don't think of food as wierd. More thought required....
mensaque June 25, 2012
Love Gorgonzolla but blue cheese tastes weird enough for me,kbc!And to put some litgh on how did I think of this question:my great grandmother used to make a pumpikin candy that required leaving the pumpikin in a soak of lime and watter.The next day,she had to wash it for qiute a while and soak it again in fresh water to remove it.All that to create a crunchy candy crust and still maintain a soft interior.Weird enough for you,pierino?
mensaque June 25, 2012
Hey,pierino...I've been meaning to ask you:how was the work on New Years?I got hurt around that time when I gave you the tips for the brasillian menus and was wondering if my message was usefull to you.
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