Crave Magazine

Lockdown Chefs

Wannabe chefs are getting experimental in the kitchen – with as many as one fifth confidently able to cook up a mouth-watering Japanese feast.

Rather than shying away from cuisine from other countries Brits are embracing foreign tastes and flavours up to three nights a week.

An in-depth study into the cooking habits of the nation found more than half of adults have tried to recreate dishes they have tried when abroad – drawing inspiration from countries like Italy, Japan, India and Mexico. And nearly half have even tried to make their British dishes a little more exciting by using alternative ingredients such as Miso paste, Wasabi, soy sauce, ginger and chillies.

Bonnie Chung, founder of Japanese home cooking brand Miso Tasty, which commissioned the research into 2,000 adults said: “This survey shows there is a real thirst at the moment for innovative cooking with great flavours.

“We are seeing an emergence of people who are passionate about food, unafraid to experiment with scratch cooking to either replicate dishes they’ve enjoyed abroad, or to put a little twist on their home comforts.

“It can be hard to find the right ingredients to get that flavour you know you’ve tasted and liked elsewhere, but reassuringly Brits seem excited to try new pastes and sauces.”

And the lockdown has had an impact on attitudes to cooking too, with just under half of those polled claiming to have become more adventurous in the kitchen since lockdown, to stave off the boredom. This goes some way to explain why many adults are producing their own unique creations, put together with random ingredients from the back of the cupboard.

Dishes aptly named ‘closing down sale’ and ‘hotchpotch’ have been fashioned out of foodstuffs left over. While ‘lockdown surprise’, ‘leftover surprise’ and ‘mish mash’ have been designed by those trying to be frugal with ingredients when trips to the supermarket are restricted.

Bonnie Chung from Miso Tasty added: “The great thing about having staple ingredients in your cupboard, such as miso paste, soy sauce, or Worcestershire sauce, is that even on days where other foodstuffs seem sparse, you can cobble together something really delicious.

“Having a well-stocked spice and condiments cupboard can mean leftovers and freezer staples can be turned into something surprisingly tasty.”

“We see it as our mission is to change the perception that Japanese food can be difficult to create and encourage more people to try miso paste in dishes – so inventive home cooks have more options up their sleeve when it comes to rustling up delicious meals.”

And when the country returns to normality, with trips to local food stores becoming again a pleasurable browsing experience rather than a once-a-week necessity to stock up, adults seem keen to invest in ingredients to cater for a wider range of dishes.

Katsu curry, paella, boeuf bourguignon, moussaka and ramen are among the meals Brits want to try and cook from scratch.

In the meantime, many are keen to spice up their cooking by using ingredients such as marmite, lemon zest, miso paste and garlic paste to make dishes such as soup, noodles, curry and pasta more exciting.And varying home-cooking during this period is being embraced – as many find ways to tackle lock-down boredom.

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