The Holy Trinity of Cooking

June 20, 2011

You may have heard of the terms like holy trinity, mirepoix, or sofrito; all of which refer to three ingredients that represent the base of a national cuisine.  Each “trinity” is usually chopped very fine and sautéed all together in oil or butter to release their flavor.  These ingredients are commonly vegetables, seasonings, and/or herbs.  If you want to start experimenting with different cuisines, it is important to know their trinities. Here is a list of some you may or may not know about.

Brazilian cuisine: Dende oil, coconut milk and malagueta pepper (used in the Northeast region).

Cajun/ Creole cuisine: Celery, bell pepper, and onion.

Chinese cuisine: Scallions, ginger, and garlic.

Cuban cuisine: Garlic, bell pepper, and onion

French cuisine:  celery, carrots, and onion (mirepoix).

Greek cuisine: Lemon juice, olive oil, and oregano.

Indian cuisine: Garlic, ginger, and onion.

Indonesian cuisine: Garlic, chili peppers, and shallots.

Italian cuisine: Tomatoes, garlic, and basil (used in the South of Italy).

Japanese cuisine: Dashi, mirin, and shoyu (similar to soy sauce).

Korean cuisine: Garlic, ginseng, kimchi (fermented cabbage).

Mexican cuisine: Uses 3 types of dried chili peppers to make mole sauce- ancho, pasilla, and guajillo.

Spanish cuisine: Garlic, onion, and tomato (garlic is substituted for olive oil in the Catalan region).

Thai: Kaffir lime, lemongrass, and galangal (relative to ginger).

West Africa:  Habaneros or scotch bonnets, onions, and tomatoes.


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