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The 5 Pantry Staples a Food Blogger Always Has on Her Grocery List

published May 21, 2020
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Credit: Jehan Can Cook

Just glance at the Instagram feed of Jehan, creator of the popular blog Jehan Can Cook, and you’ll see that she brings big flavor to every meal. From Goat Curry to Guyanese Roti, she draws on bold flavors and the tastes and traditions of her native Guyana and her husband’s native Jamaica to create delicious meals with Caribbean flair. (And yes, her kids gobble them up.) We love her way with ingredients, from saltfish to cassava, so we asked her for the five pantry staples she’s never without.

Credit: Jehan Can Cook

1. Rice

Jehan’s uses for this all-time pantry great go way beyond a steamed side dish; she uses rice in recipes ranging from savory to sweet. “It’s a staple in my pantry because I cook a lot of stews, which I like to serve over rice,” she says. “You can also serve it seasoned or in one-pot dishes. Leftovers can be used for fried rice, breakfast porridge, or rice pudding.”

Credit: Jehan Can Cook

2. V8 +HYDRATE®

“I keep this on hand because I am fairly active, and I can grab a V8 +HYDRATE® to quickly hydrate after a run or workout session,” Jehan says. Made with super hydrating sweet potato juice and an isotonic blend of natural electrolytes, V8 +HYDRATE® replenishes fluids and nutrients fast. “Not only does it taste great and is refreshing, but you also get a full serving of vegetables in each can.”

Credit: Jehan Can Cook

3. Canned and Dried Beans and Peas

Jehan is never without these powerhouse proteins. She always has black beans for salsa and split peas for Guyanese Pholourie, savory fritters served with hot mango dipping sauce. “My kids love beans, and they’re my go-to for meatless meals. You can quickly sauté a can of beans for a filling, protein-packed lunch, or throw dried beans with a piece of smoked meat into the slow cooker the night before for a tasty meal the next day.”

Credit: Jehan Can Cook

4. Dark Soy Sauce

Jehan lets soy sauce shine as the true multitasker it is. “Good dark soy sauce has a ton of flavor but is not salty, and it can be used in a variety of dishes,” she says. It’s a key ingredient in her Stewed Beef and Cou Cou, the polenta-like national dish of Barbados. “You can use soy sauce in stews, in stir-frys, to season meat, and to give sauces a deep color and flavor. I keep this on hand because it’s an easy way to add bold flavor to savory dishes.”

Credit: Jehan Can Cook

5. Bouillon Cubes

These old-school flavor bombs are a must-have for Jehan. “I always have beef and chicken on hand,” she says. She uses bouillon cubes to add flavor to her soups and stews, like her Smoked Turkey Wing and Corn Soup. “They’re super handy because you can make stock by dissolving the cubes in water in place of chicken, beef, or vegetable stock.”