Experience and experimentation have led me to great flavor evolution techniques. Using the dehydrator for less common enhancements can add unique profile and depths to sophisticated dishes. Read on to learn how and why to dehydrate kimchi then grind to a powder to add to crusts or sausage, and process whole grain mustard into a dehydrated flavor packed crunch. I add the grains to sauce for concentrated flavor and to keep my sauces from getting cloudy.
One of the really cool outcomes of having worked on competitions for so much of my culinary career is the development of using the dehydrator to concentrate and pack more flavor into foods.
Two of my favorites in the dehydrator are making a kimchi powder and dehydrated mustard seeds. These are ingredients that work their way into a lot of different components in my menus in competition because it adds a depth, it adds a characteristic that you can't really put your finger on.
Instead of using mustard seeds, I like to take prepared whole-grain mustard and then rinse it off. Whole-grain mustard is essentially pickled mustard seeds that are then going to go into the dehydrator, dry out and get nice and crunchy. They've already been processed so they're a lot softer, they're a lot milder and I think they add a really nice flavor to recipes that require mustard.
Make sure to use parchment paper because otherwise it will fall through the racks on the dehydrator. The dehydrator I use is an Excalibur.
The crunchier the kimchi is, the better it's going to grind. Grind the kimchi to a fine powder and then put it through the through the tamis to keep a nice consistency.
I keep the parchment paper under the tamis because it makes moving around the powder a lot easier and it makes cleaning up my station a lot easier too.
For the mustard seeds, break up the bigger pieces and then get it to go through this mat. It's still going to have little mustard seeds and a mustard seed like consistency and texture.
Why would you use this instead of mustard seed that you would buy from the spice rack?
These are pickled, these have been processed, soaked in wine, they taste like delicious whole-grain mustard. They're not really aggressive or super offensive like a mustard seed in the spice rack. And these guys also have a great texture to them. If you ever bit into a raw whole mustard seed, it's pretty unpleasant. These guys have been poached, pickled, marinated so the texture of them is really very nice. A nice little crunchy pop without being overwhelmingly spicy and mustard.
My purpose in using the dehydrator is just to try and concentrate as much flavor into my food as I possibly can. As you see with the mustard seed, they're developed now in a way that you can use them that you normally couldn't. You could of course add a scoop of mustard to anything but now if you add these dehydrated whole grain mustard seeds to a sauce they'll serve as a thickening agent. I think that's probably my favorite use for them is to use these in place of mustard in a sauce. It won't cloud your jus but it'll still give you a boatload of flavor of mustard and it'll also tighten up your sauce a little bit.
Kimchi powder is a really intense ingredient as well. You can add it into force meats. I would add it to the tune of 2 grams per pound of meat and you'll get a flavor in the dish that serves to deepen the flavors. You could also take this kimchi powder and mix it into a breading station so now you have a kimchi flavored breading that goes on to a product. It's a nice way to deepen the flavor in what you're serving.
Learning these things to pack flavor into an item for a competition will benefit you in your operation, in your organization, when you start trying to bang more flavor into a breading station and complicate and create deeper flavor profiles for an ingredient. One of the most popular items that I've served was a tuna fireball. Basically, spicy tuna in an avocado, tempura battered and then fried. If I took that tempura batter and then rolled it into kimchi breadcrumbs, it's going to drive that flavor home and it's going to be more than just a breading on the outside. Get out there, play with your food, get some flavors that make some sense and try and deepen your cooking. That's what this game is all about, go have fun, play with your food.
One of 73 Certified Master Chefs and Captain of the 2020 American National, Culinary Team USA, with stops in Michelin Starred Restaurants; The Moulin de Mougins and Eleven Madison Park, Chef Ford has established himself as a professional who is focused, driven, innovative and organized beyond obsessive.