By Tamara Palmer
If you frequent social media groups such as Facebook’s Trader Joe’s Meal Ideas for Busy Moms or and Reddit’s “Trader Joe’s Fans!,” you may already know about their latest seasoning blend. Trader Joe’s Ajika Georgian Seasoning Blend debuted on store shelves in April, and it’s been an instant hot topic. The obsession is real, and once I tried it, I understood why.
Here’s what to know about this versatile and flavorful spice mix.
What’s in Trader Joe’s Ajika Seasoning Blend?
The word ajika means salt in Abkhaz, the language spoken in the Abkhazia republic of Georgia, but it’s actually the second to last ingredient in Trader Joe’s blend. The salt is so light, in fact, that the nutrition label says there is no sodium in a quarter teaspoon serving.
So what’s actually in it? Crushed chili peppers, coriander, fenugreek, dried minced garlic, and marigold. The blend is described as spicy and there is definitely a little buzzy heat to it, but if you have a decent tolerance to spicy food in general, the level here probably will not feel uncomfortable.
How to Use Trader Joe’s Ajika Seasoning Blend
In Georgia, ajika is a salted red pepper dip that was originally conceived to preserve the life of the pepper, so turning this spice blend into a dip or sauce is a natural fit. You could add Greek or nonfat yogurt or sour cream for a creamy dip or add it to tomato sauce for spaghetti, pizza and the like. My next kitchen experiment will be to mix it with harissa (red pepper paste), fresh garlic and a dab of olive oil. I’ll use it as a spread for bread or crackers and a dip for raw crunchy vegetables, a potential secret weapon for a charcuterie plate or grazing board.
In my week of sprinkling ajika on everything, the blend also performed well in a pot of pinto beans, mixed into Impossible’s faux ground meat for veggie burgers,0 and sprinkled onto roasted potatoes and popcorn. And, though the prevalence of garlic may not lend itself to using in many sweets, a little sprinkle on a fresh strawberry was a pretty fun combination.
The bottle recommends using ajika on steaks, stews, roasts and grilled vegetables, but it’s brilliant with seafood, too. I tried it with two types of oven-baked cod. For the first, I sprinkled the blend directly on top of the cod; for the other, I mixed it with with panko flakes before battering the fish. I’ll definitely use it for a number of seafood dishes in the future. Freshly steamed Dungeness crab, lightly seared scallops and shrimp stir-fries are just the beginning.
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