These ingredients may sound exotic, but they’re great to have around as an instant upgrade for your everyday dishes.

flank steak shishito shiso salsa beet carpaccio
Photography by Tara Donne
| Credit: Photography by Tara Donne

The secret to Rach's flavor-boosted flank steak in this month's 30-Minute Meals? A salsa verde that leans on a handful of Japanese pantry staples. Learn more about them below.

1. Shiso

Pretty pointy-edged shiso leaves have a minty, grassy taste with cinnamon notes. The herb, which can be green or red, wakes up fried rice, adds a fresh-in-all senses flavor to salad greens or fruit salads, and is a killer addition to tuna salad.

2. Yuzo

This citrus fruit looks like a lumpy lemon and tastes like a mash-up of lemon, lime, and tangerine. Mix the juice with soy sauce for a quick dip for pot stickers, or use it in place of lemon juice in cocktails.

3. Shichimi Togarashi

This Japanese spice blend is made from dried orange zest, Szechuan peppercorns, nori, ground ginger, and a mix of seeds. Often sprinkled on ramen, it's also great on hard-boiled eggs or popcorn.

Related: Try our Poke Bites

4. Shishito Peppers

These small, thin green peppers are an adventure to eat. They're mostly mild, but about 1 in 10 is super hot. Char them in a screaming-hot skillet and serve with mayo for dipping. Or toss with small potatoes and roast for a semi-spicy dish. 

Related: Try our Shishito Pepper Tacos