Domestic Diva Awards is The Singapore Women’s Weekly’s yearly highlight of the best products that help us live, work and eat better. This year, over 800 products across 101 food categories, ranging from cooking essentials to festive snacks and vitamins & supplements were nominated. The winners were decided through public voting in an online survey, and Editor’s Pick, recognising the best in their fields.
The basis of any good meal is flavour.
And being busy modern women who have to juggle so many hats and roles in our lives, we just don’t have time to cook down a sauce or baby a stock over the stove for hours to build flavour into our dishes. It is precisely for this reason that this list of the best oils, soups, stocks and sauces is crucial to elevate any meal you cook.
While fad diets will demonise their use, oils and fats are key to delicious cooking as many flavour compounds are actually fat-soluble – think about why we bloom herbs and spices in oil. In addition, oil also contributes to a richer mouthfeel that adds points to the overall taste experience. The final flourish of sesame oil or olive oil to a dish also imparts another layer of aroma and flavour.
Soups and stocks, on the other hand, can be used in two ways. The first is to use them as a soup with added ingredients to pair with rice or noodles or transformed into a hearty steamboat to feed a large crowd of people easily. The second is to use them to cook with. A ladle of stock in place of water will greatly boost flavour.
Then there are sauces such as oyster sauce and soy sauce that provide a hit of umami and savouriness that regular table salt can’t. Or perhaps ketchup and chilli sauce to elevate a humble plate of french fries. Finally, premixes simplify the process of making complicated dishes such as curry, laksa and tom yum soup while pasta sauces make for a quick weeknight meal.