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Unexpected Ingredients That Make Any Dish Better

Flavor Makers

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Some ingredients have the power to transform a dish, making it richer, bolder, and more exciting. We asked chefs for their personal game changers—and the creative ways they work magic. (Related: These Recipes Prove That Sweet and Spicy Is the Best Flavor Combo Ever)

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Tamarind & Star Anise Cheese Dip

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For this recipe, you'll enhance a creamy cheese dip with two flavor-boosters: tamarind and star anise. "Tamarind is tart yet sweet, which complements the earthy tang of goat cheese," says Holly Jivin, the chef de cuisine at the Bazaar by José Andrés at the SLS Beverly Hills in Los Angeles, who created the recipe. "And star anise, which can be overpowering alone, rounds it all out."

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Photo: Danny Kim

Asparagus with Spring Onions and Bacon

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For a seasonal side that's extra-satisfying, make this dish from Soogil Lim, the chef and owner at Soogil in New York. "A little bacon is enough to add depth and heartiness to spring vegetables," says Lim. (Also worth trying: These 5 edible flower recipes that taste like spring.)

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Photo: Danny Kim

Kasundi Shrimp

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This shrimp dish from Gaurav Anand, the chef and owner of aRoqa in New York, boasts knockout flavors. "The bold taste of mustard layers in some richness when combined with spices like turmeric and chili powder and aromatics such as garlic and ginger," says Anand. "And it pairs perfectly with shrimp." (Next up: 4 Ingredients That Can Transform Any Bland Dish)

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Photo: Danny Kim

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