The pantry and fridge are full of savory powerhouses, some of them hiding in plain sight.
Dried shiitakes, of course, are one such heavy hitter, and I love to buzz them in a spice grinder to create a sprinkle-able seasoning that's easy to incorporate into my cooking. But I’ve recently found that capers, miso, and even scallions are simple to dehydrate in the microwave or oven and then turn into similarly potent powders, each with its own spectrum of flavors.
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I sprinkle the powders over everything–steaks, chops, fish, soups and stews, rice dishes, vegetables, popcorn, and more. I use them as a final seasoning for an instant hit of depth and flavor, but I also add them before and during cooking, where they boost overall complexity without announcing themselves or overpowering other flavors.
Once you try them, I’m sure you’ll find them as indispensable as I do. Make enough to fill a spice jar, so you can keep them at the ready.
How to Make Caper Powder
- Flavor profile: Bright and briny
- To Use: Sprinkle sparingly, as you would salt
- Rinse capers and dry well between paper towels.
- Spread into even layer on plate and microwave at 50 percent power in 2-minute increments, stirring in between, until fully dried, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Let cool and process thoroughly in spice grinder.
How to Make Miso Powder
- Flavor profile: Nutty and olive-y
- To use: Add about 1 to 2 tablespoons to applications such as soups, stews, and chilis; about 2 teaspoons to rice dishes and pan sauces; and to taste to spice rubs, meat, and fish.
- Spread white or yellow miso in thinnest layer possible on rimmed baking sheet lined with silicone baking mat.
- Place on middle rack of oven set to lowest setting (use “dehydrate” function if available) and dehydrate until dry enough to flip (miso sheet will feel like fruit leather), 2 to 3 hours.
- Flip miso sheet and continue to dehydrate until completely dry, 2 to 3 hours longer. Miso will darken, but don’t let it burn.
- Let cool completely, then break into shards, and thoroughly process in spice grinder.
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How to Make Scallion Powder
- Flavor profile: Roasty and oniony
- To use: Follow guidelines for miso powder.
- Cut green parts into 2-inch lengths (reserve white parts for another use).
- Lay scallions in single layer on plate or rimmed baking sheet lined with double layer of paper towels and cover with another layer of paper towels.
- Microwave for 2 minutes; fluff pieces to separate; then continue to microwave 1 to 2 minutes longer, or until completely dry and just starting to brown in spots.
- Let cool completely and thoroughly process in spice grinder