Hello Readers! Now, I know that today’s topic sounds extremely religious, but it isn’t. The trinities I’m talking about today are your cooking ones, which are also called Aromatics. While you may not realize this, almost every type of cuisine bases their recipes and dishes around three main ingredients for their region. This means that each cuisine style has its own trinity that is a fall back if they need something to make.
Now, I love knowing about these trinities as I cook a variety of dishes from different regions around the world, and these ingredients wind up on my shopping list every week. As a result, I have started keeping a master grocery list in my bullet journal as well as a list of cuisine menu items that we have enjoyed in our family. I also have added my trinities list to my bullet journal for quick reference. Now, some of the trinities are the same as other regions, but the use of different fats and spices or herbs will change the flavors to match the desired cuisine. I will provide you with some of the most common types of these as we go along as well. So let’s get started!
Okay, we can’t talk about cooking trinities without talking about the Holy Trinity. This is where the concept of reference derived from as in Cajun cuisine the aromatics are called the Holy Trinity. This is simple:
Onion Celery Green Bell Peppers
In most Cajun dishes, these three ingredients are the prominent flavors of the meal. Combined with the fat options of Olive Oil or Butter, they can create a mess of meals. One of our favorite dishes in our home is Jambalaya, which relies heavily on these three ingredients along with some of the spices and herbs for flavor.
Garlic, Parsley, Shallots, Paprika
Again, this is a favorite cuisine in our household, so this trinity is often found in my fridge. While they don’t have a name for their trinity, this Asian cuisine style almost always features these three ingredients in every dish:
Garlic Scallions (Green Onions) Ginger
Now, Chinese cuisine uses a different kind of fat than other culture cuisine styles. While you can substitute with a Vegetable Oil, the use of Sesame Oil is actually proper for their dishes. And it really adds a great flavor to the dish! They also like the use of ingredients that you may have for other cuisine styles but really fits with their cuisine.
Chiles, Shallots, Chives, Cilantro, Chinese Five Spice, Star Anise
This trinity is also known as the Mirepoix. It’s really a basic trinity that relies on the fat to change the flavors of the dish. But this is a common combination that many of our dishes contain:
Onions Carrots Celery
Like I said, it’s very basic and is the same as another cuisine’s trinity. However, French cuisine relies on Butter as its fat, which will change the flavor of the dish and of its mirepoix. It also relies on its spices and herbs to shape their cuisine. And often these herbs are found in your grocery basket anyway.
Parsley, Thyme, Bay Leaves, Herbes de Provence
This is another cuisine style that doesn’t have a name for its “trinity”. And this is also the first cuisine style with four ingredients rather than three for its aromatics, but a variety of Indian cuisine dishes can be derived from this quartet:
Onions Garlic Chiles Ginger
Indian cuisine also relies on a different fat that many of you may not already have but can create a nice flavor for your dishes. They use Ghee for their fats, which is a clarified butter and is becoming more popular in our culture. Indian cuisine also uses a variety of spices in their dishes, which will create a complex flavor combination for your meal.
Tomatoes, Cardamom, Cumin, Cumin Seeds, Curry Powder (or leaves or paste), Cloves, Fenugreek, Garam Masala, Turmeric
The Italians refer to their trinity as Soffritto, which is similar to another cuisine’s name. And the Italian soffritto is identical to another cuisine’s trinity. This is where fats can really be a game changer with regard to dishes and flavors. The Italian trinity is:
Onions Carrots Celery
Yes, it is identical to the French mirepoix. However, Italians rely on their fat of Olive Oil instead of butter to create their base. This is where the fat really can make a difference as anyone who has ever had Italian and French can tell you that there is a difference in flavors. Although their primary flavors are the same, the use of different fats definitely changes the taste. The Italians also rely on a variety of flavors as supplements, including meats.
Garlic, Fennel, Bay Leaves, Wine, Parsley, Sage, Prosciutto, Pancetta
Latin cuisine refers to its “trinity” as sofrito, similar to the Italian soffritto. And, like Indian cuisine, Latin cuisine contains a quartet rather than a trinity. Luckily, the quartet is likely items you pick up for every day cuisine:
Garlic Onions Bell Peppers Tomatoes
The Latin sofrito also relies on Olive Oil for its fat, but the real flavor changers are the supplements that can be found in their cuisine. Just like with Italian cuisine, Latin cuisine also uses meats and proteins to help form its flavor.
Chiles, Bay Leaves, Coriander, Cumin, Paprika, Cilantro, Bacon, Chorizo, Ham, Wine, Vinegars
This is a different mix of ingredients to form a base, and there isn’t a name for their trinity. In fact, Middle Eastern cuisine relies on five ingredients to form its “trinity” but all of them are, again, likely to be found in your pantry:
Garlic Onions Tomatoes Scallions (Green Onions) Raisins
Now, I know that raisins may seem like a strange ingredient to have as a base, but it really adds a complex element to Middle Eastern dishes that you can enjoy. Cooking Oil or Clarified Butter are used as fats in Middle Eastern cuisine, and their use of spices really changes the flavor of the base aromatics.
Ginger, Saffrom, Turmeric, Cinnamon
Thai cuisine has a trinity that is a little spicier than others. For this reason, its trinity is typically referred to as Curry pastes and its base definitely takes on its namesake. But the flavors of Thai cuisine are as complex as ever, and well worth it:
Shallots Garlic Chiles
Thai cuisine relies on Cooking Oil or Coconut Milk for its fats. I know that some of you may not have coconut milk in your pantry, but it has recently made its way into our pantry as I have been using it to make a creamer for my morning coffee! It really is a complex flavor that adds to dishes, and it’s a very rich fat to enjoy. However, their herbs may not be common pantry staples for your household. Nonetheless, they are definitely worth a try!
Galangal, Kaffir Lime, Lemongrass, Coconut Milk
And that’s it for the most common types of trinities for cooking. I hope these will make it into your own Bullet Journal for quick reference and onto your master grocery list!
Until next time,