Food trends come and go and the start of another year means the latest fads hailed as the culinary “must eat” in the coming months are revealed.
Whether hot and spicy or super greens, it’s going to be a bumper season in the larder and your palate can expect to sample some new – and old – delights offered on a plate.
Some of the food stars to look out for are detailed below, although this by far from being a definite list:
It looks like humble vegetables, often just the sideshow of a meal, could be taking centre stage in 2016. Even self-confessed meat lovers could be swapping their fillets for cauliflower steaks, say those in the know. We could also see standalone vegetarian dishes being served up with tags such as “burnt” or “charred”, according to website purewow.com.
Poultry could be 2016’s meat of the moment. If you like your chicken, particularly fried, you’ll be happy to see the bird getting some recognition during the year. Places like Shake Shack – which will open in City Centre Muscat in 2016 – have a new chicken sandwich on the menu.
Some like it hot and it’s set to heat up in the kitchen in 2016 with new spices coming to the fore. Omani and Middle Eastern cuisine already sees its far share of sassy seasonings – such as turmeric and black peppercorns – but cooks will be experimenting with new condiments and spices in the coming year. We’re talking Indian ghost pepper (the Bhut Jolokia and the hottest chilli, so you’ll need a strong constitution to stomach this) and Southeast Asian sambal (made with chilli peppers and shrimp paste).
Touted as the new superfood on the block, seaweed is packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, containing high amounts of fibre and a complete protein. It’s also a great source of a nutrient missing in many foods – iodine. The Japanese have known the secret of seaweed for centuries – they eat as much as 4kg of the plant per person per year – and now the rest of us can discover what the fuss is all about. You may already like your seaweed with sushi but be adventurous, try seaweed salad or seaweed soup.
Africa is going to be big on the menu this year. Inspiration from the continent, with flavours and textures, is on the rise with 20 per cent of chefs naming flavours from different parts of Africa as a hot trend for 2016, according to the National Restaurant Association. In demand will be spices such as harissa (already big in Oman), dukkah, ras el hanout and tsire, as seasonings for fish, beef, chicken, goat and lamb, couscous, flatbreads and vegetables.
Harissa, a fiery North African paste that is orangey-red in colour, is a mixture of pepper, dried red chillies, garlic, ground cumin and coriander, tomato puree, salt and olive oil, and can be used as a condiment or as an ingredient.
Warm spiced cauliflower and chickpea salad with pomegranate seeds