Sometimes I follow recipes to the letter, but most of the time I stick to preparations that allow me to absentmindedly add a pinch of this and a dash of that to achieve a perfectly seasoned plate. There are, of course, the basics like salt and pepper, but more often than not, I find myself reaching for the bottle of fish sauce. This umami-laden Southeast Asian staple made from fermented fish may sound like an odd ingredient for pasta dishes or salad dressings, but its saltiness and — I'm just going to say it — stinkiness provide an interesting slant on what would otherwise be a run-of-the-mill dish.
So tell us: what's your go-to seasoning when you cook?
Photo: Susannah Chen