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Is your fried food falling flat? Is your chicken or fish missing that flavorful kick? One mistake many new cooks make is that they think the grease adds all the flavor. Not true! What truly makes fried food worthwhile is your seasoning mix. After a few years of experimenting and taste-testing, I believe that I have found the perfect combo for a flavorful, mouth-watering seasoning mix for all fried foods! I do not have exact measurements, as I have been using this mix for years. I usually use about one to two tablespoons of each personally, if I had to estimate. Play around with portioning and see how these seasonings work individually and as a group for yourself!
Born and raised in Louisiana, a lot of Tony Chachere and Slap Ya Mama are thrown wildly into our dishes. I suppose most people assume that spice equals flavor. This is not true. Spiciness and flavor are two totally different things. In fact, I actually don’t like spicy foods, so this list does not include any ingredient that will make your food hotter, even if it is classified as a spice.
Garlic (Powder, Minced, or Sliced)
Garlic is the flavorless dish’s best friend. Whether it is powdered, minced, or sliced, it's one of your most powerful weapons in the kitchen. Garlic is going to give your dish that extra something that you can’t quite put your finger on when it feels like something is missing. The best way to incorporate this delicious vegetable into a fried meal is mixing garlic powder into your batter or dry rub. Be careful not to overdo the use of this ingredient—it can also easily ruin a dish when used in excess.
Similar to garlic powder, onion powder has a strong onion smell and taste. I recommend using it the same way as the garlic powder. Be careful not to use too much, as it can overpower a dish easily. Don't use this to season onion ring batter, either unless you REALLY like onion flavor!
Ah, lemons, the citrusy, delicious, and acidic fruit. Lemon is a great way to give any dish that extra bit of flavor or succulence you may feel is missing. Using lemon pepper is an easy way to incorporate that delectable tang into a batter or dry rub. This seasoning will give your fried food a delicious zest that no one will resist.
Salt or Sea Salt
You can’t have fried food without salt! Salt is going to be one of your strongest and most useful tools to getting your fried food closer to restaurant quality. Without salt, your batter and meat will taste bland and the taste of the flour (if that is what you so choose to use for your batter base) will be very obvious. Using too much will upset your stomach, but using too little will leave your tongue disappointed. The amount of salt to be used is usually determined by dietary restrictions and personal preference, so play around with what works for you as far as portions go.
Red, the color of intimacy and passion. Paprika is a delectable spice (as I said, yes, it is a spice. It is not spicy, however) that gives a beautiful red-brown color to your batter and meat. I use paprika in everything I cook. A tablespoon of paprika is enough to give any fried dish a potent piquancy that will bring your friends back for more. Use paprika if your dish is missing that red-hot, fiery passion that even K.F.C. can’t give you!
And there you have it!
That’s my list for the best combination of seasonings, herbs, and spices to make your fried food pop! I hope you enjoy your new seasoning mix. Good luck and happy cooking!