Chinese cuisine

Pandemic has created demand for the ‘rare and unknown’, says global ingredient supplier Red Rickshaw

Revealing the trends ahead for 2022, Jyoti Patel said major food makers should keep in mind that Covid-19 restrictions have made consumers feel more disconnected from the world than ever before. Therefore, “Giving people the opportunity to taste rare ingredients from faraway lands is a great way to connect them to the places they dream of visiting, the vacation experiences they wish to return to, or the faraway lands they call home. .”

Patel was inspired to create Red Rickshaw due to the personal difficulties she faced when trying to source and source authentic Indian ingredients in the UK. It has since grown into an online retailer of world ingredients for home cooks and supplier to many Michelin starred restaurants. Jyoti then launched FeastBox to “educate and guide customers”​ on how to authentically use rare and unknown ingredients in their cooking. FeastBox hopes expand its recipe box offerings to Europe and beyond. “By providing our customers with unique ingredients from around the world, we can enable them to embrace different cultures and develop a deeper understanding of where their food comes from,” says the founder.

Previously, Red Rickshaw mainly supplied Indian ingredients. But it has since expanded its product offering to include ingredients from other cultures and cuisines. “During the lockdown, when many of our communities were cut off from their source of ingredients, we have expanded our global offering to include ingredients for African, Thai and Chinese cuisines, and we hope to continue to source a wider selection of ingredients from kitchens also we are expanding.

Red Rickshaw innovates with three unique ingredients to meet end consumers’ cravings for exotic flavors: Gochujang Paste, Candied Lemons and Garden Eggs.

“While the UK food scene has undoubtedly changed over the past few years, with new and exotic ingredients becoming increasingly popular among adventurous shoppers, there are still many ingredients that remain unknown to UK consumers,” Patel explained.

Gochujang Paste

“At Red Rickshaw, we have seen a largely unknown ingredient called Gochujang (Korean red chili paste) paste gain significant popularity. from Netflix such as Squid Game. This paste, often known as “Korean ketchup”, has been a central part of authentic Korean cuisine for years. Made from fresh, high-quality ingredients, this product offers a rich flavor and a distinctive aroma to dishes. Gochujang paste can be easily incorporated into everyday meals. It’s truly versatile with so much cooking potential. It can be used to spice up classic Korean recipes and stir-fries. or simply added to any dish that needs a quick burst of heat and sweetness.

Candied Lemons

“While canned lemons have traditionally been seen as an exclusive ingredient in Middle Eastern tagines and other North African stews, in recent years they have become more readily available in the UK. As a result, Britons are beginning to discover the flavor and excitement that candied lemon can bring to everyday cooking. These lemons, preserved whole in a brine of salt and water, have a much more intense flavor than normal lemons and can bring a delicious citrus flavor to many meals. For example, you can cut these foods in half and roast them with potatoes, meat, vegetables. You can also mix them with yogurt to make your own tahini or incorporate them into a homemade stuffing.

garden eggs

“Garden eggs are a small white fruit most commonly found in parts of Africa. They are part of the eggplant family and are packed with nutrients including potassium, vitamin B1 and vitamin B6, which help boost energy levels and promote overall health.With the rise of plant-based diets, classic eggplant has grown in popularity as an easy, high-fiber substitute for meat in dishes Similarly, garden eggs are prized for their ability to absorb intense flavors and will no doubt play a huge role as a meat substitute by many who opt for more sustainable vegetarian and vegan diets this New Year. .

All rare and unknown ingredients sold by Red Rickshaw and FeastBox are sourced from their country of origin. “By sourcing ingredients from their country of origin, we are able to bring a taste of these cultures to the UK and beyond,” Patel said. “It’s because the more we learn about food, the more it helps us appreciate the shared humanity of others and the many flavor opportunities available in global cuisines.”

“There are still many ingredients that remain unknown to consumers”: Jyoti Patel, Founder and CEO of Red Rickshaw and FeastBox

Working with local farmers to provide “the best quality ingredients locally available” brings benefits in taste, nutrition and sustainability, Patel said.. “In the UK, we have all become largely accustomed to a world where most fruit and vegetables are within easy reach, even when they are not in season in this country,” she says. “As consumers, we need to better understand where our food comes from and how it’s grown and stored, and choose to buy for quality over convenience when sourcing our food.”

Supermarkets have a long history of reducing fruit and vegetable transit times, using wax coatings and irradiating in an effort to preserve fruits and vegetables to extend shelf life and reduce food waste. For too many consumers, however, that “means eating flavorless ingredients that may have been kept cold for a very long time,” Patel said. “If you have tasted a tomato outside of this seasonal window, you will know that the taste is almost like water with a much less intense flavor and freshness because the tomato does not have much flavor when it is is consumed out of season.”

Not only will these practices change the taste of these ingredients, but they will also change the nutritional values, she added. “It’s not healthy for us to consume ingredients that have been gassed or irradiated in any form, especially when we have an abundance of high-quality, seasonal ingredients.”

Eating fresh fruits and vegetables in season is also better for the environment, she added.

About 96% of the environmental impact of food production occurs before the transportation or packaging phases, usually due to artificial and intensive mass farming methods. Red Rickshaw says it optimizes its supply chain to ensure ingredients are sourced in the least harmful way.

“By bringing the world’s best produce to people in the UK and beyond, we want to help the food industry and foodies embrace global biodiversity and balance the global diet, so that it is not too focused on unsustainable livestock and high-yield, low-nutrition cash crops,” she observed.

“For example, eating Kenyan beans in season is better for the environment than eating a locally sourced apple that has been refrigerated for 9 months. So it’s important that shoppers look beyond supermarkets to find sites Reputable websites where you can source these hard-to-find ingredients that have been quality checked to ensure the highest standards.

However, is it a challenge for buyers to prepare meals with unknown ingredients?On average, FeastBox meals take around 25-45 minutes to prepare,” Patel revealed. “Each recipe box is delivered straight to your home with the exact amount of ingredients needed, along with step-by-step, easy-to-follow, weeknight-friendly recipe cards explaining exactly how to prepare meals with the ingredients, including some might be unfamiliar to them, but we guide them.