Nine Ingredients That Add Tanginess In Foods

Sheena Joseph | Aug 10 2019
Image credits: Flickr

Balancing flavours is the key to producing a delicious dish. But some ingredients are crucial than others. We are, of course, not talking about salt. Adding a pinch more or less salt will make a huge difference. However, sometimes everything is right but not perfect. The missing factor is tang. That subtle yet sharp flavour capable of making or breaking the dish. If you take a look at your pantry, there will be several ingredients with the purpose of adding tanginess to food. Here are some of those clever ingredients that adds a tangy twist to the food.

1. Vinegar

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Even if you are not obsessed with vinegar, pick up at least four types of vinegar from the supermarket. They can add tanginess to any dish. Vinegar made of high-quality ingredients is flavour bombs. Vinegar is basically sour wine. It is made by adding bacteria to different types of alcohol and fermenting. 

Distilled white vinegar is the most common one and it has an intense, sharp flavour. Other kinds of vinegar that can pep up your salads, sauces, and marinades are white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, champagne vinegar, red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, sherry vinegar, and malt vinegar. Balsamic vinegar is an Italian ingredient made from the juice of freshly crushed whole grapes and malt vinegar is made from barley.

2. Berries

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Most berries have a sour-sweet aftertaste. They can be added to dishes fresh and dried. Most of the time, people store berry goodness as a jam or marmalade. But dried berries are the best addition to baked goods. We are not only talking about pies. Fold a handful of dried berries to cookie dough and cakes. They will create a strong and vibrant flavour palette against the sweetness of the frosting. The tanginess will cut through the high fat of brownies too. If your berry world ends with strawberry and gooseberry, explore more because there are countless berries with distinct flavours. Some of the popular ones are blueberry, blackberry, boysenberry, cloudberry, cranberry, dewberry, and goji berries.

3. Lemon

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Lemons and limes can alter the taste of the dish with little effort. Even lemon zest can add tanginess to the dish. Lemon cake, key lime pie, lemon tart, and lemon cheesecake are popular dishes that utilised the tanginess of these citrus fruits. However, adding lemon in a dish is tricky. It can quickly overpower the dish. Start with a few drops of lemon juice and add more if needed. Lemon is added to savoury dishes also to balance the spiciness.

4. Orange


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Hiding behind the sweetness of oranges, there is a refreshing tartness that comes out in marmalades and candies. Oranges can do wonders in the kitchen with their tanginess. The orange rind or zest packs a punch. Pairing oranges with beetroots creates a delicious combination. The tanginess of orange goes well with the heavy sweetness of the beetroot. Oranges slices add texture and flavour to salads. But, they do wonders in meat-based dishes. The classic French dish - duck à l’orange has survived the test of time. Orange peel is also used in the marinade for this dish.


5. Tomato

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Tomatoes are probably the most used tart factor in Indian kitchens. They are used in sauces and curries to add tanginess without the addition of any packaged ingredients. Making tomato sauce is the easiest way to pep up a pasta dish. However, too much tomato can make the whole dish sour. It can even mess up a simple omelette. The goal is to balance the acidity. The riper the tomato, sweeter it is. Take your pick wisely. But, if you added too much tomato, try balancing it with a pinch of baking soda or sugar.

6. Wine

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You may have seen that chefs are deliberately pouring wine to the pan. Wine is an excellent addition to sauces. The alcohol in the wine will evaporate leaving behind the rich flavour. Adding a small quantity will change the game. The more you boil it down, the more intense the flavour will be. It is a great addition in marinades. Sherry can be used in baking too. Redwine is suitable for meat-based dishes like steaks as the tannin in it acts like palate cleansers. Lightly flavoured wines go with delicate flavour combinations. And bold ones are suitable for heavy and hearty foods.

7. Cheese

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Cheese is one of the most celebrated ingredients of all time. It has the power to elevate any boring dish. Popular cheese varieties are fontina, cheddar, gouda, asiago, provolone, taleggio, gruyere, and parmesan. Grilling cheeses like brie and camembert make amazing appetisers. Halloumi and panela are often added to main courses as chunks. They can also be added to mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs. Parmesan is perfect for broths, pasta sauce, and risotto. Cheese is a hit among dessert lovers too. Some of the popular ones are goat cheese puddings, triple cheese cheesecake, apple pie sundae, and goat cheese ice cream.

8. Sour Cream

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Sour cream is commonly used in European and American cuisine. It is used as salad dressing and topping for baked potatoes. Sour cream is added to the mix for cakes, cookies, doughnuts, and scones to balance the sweetness. In fact, simply topping fruits with sour cream will make a delicious dessert. However, it is most popular as a dip for chips and crackers. In Eastern Europe and Russia is a soup condiment. Since it is a dairy product, it is a good source of fat and protein too.

9. Yoghurt

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Yoghurt is an easy replacement for sour cream. It is often paired with rich meat-based dishes to cut through the heaviness. Yoghurt has more healthy bacteria than sour cream. Yoghurt can be used in the marinade for chicken too. You can also add plain yoghurt to salads after chilling it in the refrigerator for a few hours. Frozen yoghurt can be used as a dip for chips and crackers too. You can also turn the yoghurt into buttermilk and use in desserts. Buttermilk is a key ingredient in red velvet cake.