Regional Mirepoix: Flavoring Tips For Italian, Chinese, Thai, and Indian Cooking

published Oct 18, 2012
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(Image credit: Chris Perez)

You’ve no doubt heard about mirepoix through your culinary adventures or food TV watching. (Confession: I actually always thought it was pronounced meer-a-qua.) It’s a common blend of aromatics often added to stews or soups in the same way salt and pepper are added to give a familiar blend of palatable tastes. But did you know there are other types of mirepoix? A Thai version or a Chinese version, for instance? I’ll show you some other mirepoix styles from around the world so that you can give your next soup or stew some regional distinction.

The classic French style of mirepoix, often called the holy trinity, is a 2:1:1 ratio of diced onions, celery and carrots. It’s often used in soups, stews, creoles or gumbos to create a solid foundation of flavors and aromas. Another common take is the Italian style of mirepoix, called soffritto. This is often made with the same three ingredients as mirepoix, except sautéed in olive oil instead of butter. Garlic and parsley are often added to the mix as well in this Italian version.

But what if you’re into making a Chinese style meal tonight? Then, you might want to try a 2:1:1 ratio of green onions, ginger, and garlic to add essential flavors and aromas from that region.

For Thai food, try a 2:1:1 ratio of basil, ginger, and lemongrass — finishing with fresh kaffir lime juice to taste.

You’ll also find a similar blend of ingredients used in Indian curries as well. A common mix of onions, garlic and hot chiles in that familiar ratio can get you started. Adding in a bit of ginger can give it some added character.

You’ve probably been doing mirepoix in your cooking without even knowing it, but now you can declare your knowledge and use these bases to customize recipes to the flavor profile you’re looking for that night.