If you're looking for ways to add more flavor to your cooking, think paste. We're talking about tomato paste, curry paste, garlic paste, anchovy paste, chili paste and much more. Picture a recipe for a good red sauce -- it usually includes a bit of tomato paste. Why, you ask? Because that paste, a concentrated form of tomato flavor, helps build flavor so that you are left with a dish that's packed with deliciousness.

There's a world of food pastes beyond tomato paste. So to help you expand your cooking borders, we're showing you all the pastes we think you need to try. Some may be a lot different than anything you've used in the past -- and they may frighten you at first (shrimp paste, for example), but don't be scared to experiment. Just remember a little bit of paste goes a long way, so don't overdo it until you get a handle on it.

Is there a food paste you want to add to the list? Let us know.

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  • Vanilla Bean Paste

    <strong><a href="http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/2749604/" target="_hplink">Buy vanilla paste here</a></strong> <strong>What it is</strong>: Vanilla bean paste is made by infusing a sweet syrup with vanilla, but unlike vanilla extract, it includes the vanilla seeds. Use it in baking in place of vanilla extract. It's great in ice cream and gelato as well. <strong>Where to buy</strong>: Gourmet shops and cooking stores will carry vanilla bean paste. Look for it in small bottles.

  • Guava Paste

    <strong><a href="http://www.mexgrocer.com/goya-3080.html" target="_hplink">Buy guava paste here</a></strong> <strong>What it is</strong>: Guava paste (also called guava cheese, goiabada or pasta de guayaba) is a thick jelly made from guava fruit. It's eaten in Portugal and Brazil, typically enjoyed alongside cheese or in pastries. <strong>Where to buy</strong>: Specialty markets or international markets, and the international aisle of your supermarket. Look for it in disc-shaped cans or packets.

  • Fig Paste

    <strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Marzano-Fig-Paste/dp/B007ERD7RK" target="_hplink">Buy fig paste here</a></strong> <strong>What it is</strong>: A thick jam made from figs, fig paste is typically served alongside cheese in Italian cuisine. <strong>Where to buy</strong>: Italian markets and online.

  • Anchovy Paste

    <strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Anchovy-Paste-Giovannis-2oz-56g/dp/B000LQN69K" target="_hplink">Buy anchovy paste here</a></strong> <strong>What it is</strong>: Made from anchovies and olive oil, anchovy paste can be used to add flavor in pasta sauces. Many Italian recipes (pasta puttanesca, for example) call for adding anchovies -- doing so helps create a savory flavor that surprisingly doesn't taste fishy. <strong>Where to buy</strong>: Italian specialty markets and online. Look for squeeze tubes of anchovy paste.

  • Almond Paste

    <strong><a href="http://nuts.com/nuts/almonds/paste.html" target="_hplink">Buy almond paste here</a></strong> <strong>What it is</strong>: Made from ground almonds and binder ingredients like eggs and oil, almond paste is very similar to marzipan. It's used in baking to make fillings as well as cakes. <strong>Where to buy</strong>: Some supermarkets will carry almond paste, but specialty baking shops are the best place to buy it. Look for it in cans and packets.

  • Miso Paste

    <strong><a href="http://www.asianfoodgrocer.com/product/honzukuri-white-miso-paste-35-2-oz" target="_hplink">Buy miso paste here</a></strong> <strong>What it is</strong>: Made from fermented soybeans, barley and/or rice, miso paste is a cornerstone in Japanese cuisine. It's used in the classic miso soup as well as dressings, sauces and more. It comes in different kinds like white, red and brown -- the darker the stronger the flavor. <strong>Where to buy</strong>: Most health food stores and even many supermarkets now carry miso paste. You can also find it in Asian markets.

  • Gochujang

    <strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/korean-food-supply-500g-Gochujang/dp/B002WTE0MQ" target="_hplink">Buy Gochujang here</a></strong> <strong>What it is</strong>: Gochujang is a paste made from chilis, glutinous rice and fermented soy beans. It's an indispensable condiment in Korean cuisine. You'll find it in recipes ranging from kimchi to bibimbap. <strong>Where to buy</strong>: Look for it in the Asian section of your grocery store or find it online. It typically comes in rectangular tubs.

  • Umeboshi

    <strong><a href="http://www.edenfoods.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=110180" target="_hplink">Buy umeboshi paste here</a></strong> <strong>What it is</strong>: Umeboshi, or pickled plum paste, is a traditional part of Japanese cuisine. Umeboshi is eaten to increase the appetite, to aid in digestion and to sooth stomach upset. A little bit can be added to teas, sauce, dressings and recipes. <strong>Where to buy</strong>: International or Japanese specially markets will carry umeboshi. But it's very easy to find online. You'll find it packaged in small jars or tubs.

  • Hot Chili Pepper Paste

    <strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Amore-Chili-Pepper-Paste-3-2-Ounce/dp/B001ET5XVW/" target="_hplink">Buy hot chili pepper paste here</a></strong> <strong>What it is</strong>: Hot red peppers are pureed into a paste that's great for adding heat to recipes. Use hot chili pepper paste as you would chili flakes in recipes. <strong>Where to buy</strong>: Find chili pepper paste near the tomato paste or anchovy paste in your supermarket or Italian specialty store.

  • Red Bean Paste

    <strong>Where to buy</strong>: Find red bean paste in Asian markets and online. <strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Welpac-Sweetened-Red-Bean-Paste/dp/B0002HAALA" target="_hplink">Buy red bean paste here</a></strong> <strong>What it is</strong>: Made from mashed azuki beans that have been sweetened with syrup, red bean paste is used in Chinese, Japanese and Korean cuisines. Find it in both sweet and savory dishes like soups, pastries and bread.

  • Curry Paste

    <strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Pataks-Original-Madras-Curry-Medium/dp/B004XTCH14" target="_hplink">Buy curry paste here</a></strong> <strong>What it is</strong>: Curries all begin with curry paste, which are typically homemade, but you can easily find curry pastes sold in jars to make cooking Indian and Thai recipes easier. <strong>Where to buy</strong>: Look for a variety of curry pastes in the international aisle of your supermarket.

  • Tahini

    <strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Joyva-Sesame-Tahini-15/dp/B0002F46BC" target="_hplink">Buy tahini here</a></strong> <strong>What it is</strong>: Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds. It smells and tastes much like peanut butter. It's used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. It's a classic ingredient in hummus. <strong>Where to buy</strong>: Look for it in the international aisle of your supermarket in cans or jars.

  • Garlic Paste

    <strong><a href="http://www.vitacost.com/amore-italian-garlic-paste" target="_hplink">Buy garlic paste here</a></strong> <strong>What it is</strong>: Simply garlic, mashed into a paste, garlic paste is great for when you don't feel like mincing a lot of garlic for a recipe. <strong>Where to buy</strong>: Most supermarkets will carry garlic paste. Look for it in jars or squeeze tubes. Sometimes it's labeled crushed or pureed garlic.

  • Pear Paste

    <strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Rutherford-Meyer-Fruit-4-2-Ounce-Containers/dp/B003XM01YC" target="_hplink">Buy pear paste here</a></strong> <strong>What it is</strong>: Fruit pastes are great accompaniments with cheese. They are basically concentrated fruit that's sweet and very thick like jelly -- so much so that you can cut it into cubes. Look for other fruit pastes besides pear, such as apricot, plum, fig, cherry and quince. <strong>Where to buy</strong>: Gourmet supermarkets should carry all type of fruit pastes. Online sources also sell them.

  • Ginger Paste

    <strong><a href="http://www.sadaf.com/bombay-ginger-paste-23-6459/" target="_hplink">Buy ginger paste here</a></strong> <strong>What it is</strong>: Ginger paste is basically what the name implies. Use it when you don't feel like peeling and grating fresh ginger for recipes. <strong>Where to buy</strong>: Look for ginger paste in ethnic markets, Indian grocers and in your supermarket's international aisle.

  • Shrimp Paste

    <strong><a href="http://grocerythai.com/thailand-shrimp-paste-gkapi-klong-khone-16oz-p-1025.html" target="_hplink">Buy shrimp paste here</a></strong> <strong>What it is</strong>: Shrimp paste is made from fermented ground shrimp. It's a typical ingredient in Southeast Asian recipes and is a main ingredient in curry paste. It is also used in dipping sauces. <strong>Where to buy</strong>: Shrimp paste can be found in the international aisle of many supermarkets as well as Asian grocers.

  • Tomato Paste

    <strong><a href="http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/755975/" target="_hplink">Buy tomato paste here</a></strong> <strong>What it is</strong>: Tomato paste is a classic ingredient in most Italian recipes for sauces, stews and more. It's such a concentration of tomatoes that just a spoonful can add so much depth of flavor. <strong>Where to buy</strong>: Any supermarket will carry tomato paste, most typically in cans, but also in squeeze tubes.

  • Quince Paste

    <strong><a href="http://www.mexgrocer.com/1301.html" target="_hplink">Buy quince paste here</a></strong> <strong>What it is</strong>: Quince paste (also called quince cheese, dulce de membrillo or marmelada) is a thick jelly made from quince fruit. It's popular in Spain, Portugal and South America. It's served alongside cheeses or baked into pastries. <strong>Where to buy</strong>: Hispanic markets will carry quince paste in disc-shaped cans or rectangular tubs.

  • Tamarind Paste

    <strong><a href="http://grocerythai.com/thailand-tamarind-paste-160oz-p-267.html" target="_hplink">Buy tamarind paste here</a></strong> <strong>What it is</strong>: Tamarind paste, basically the pulp of tamarind fruit, is used in both Southeast Asian and South American cuisines. Tamarind adds a unique sour flavor to stews and curries. It can also be made into drinks. <strong>Where to buy</strong>: Both Asian and hispanic grocers will carry tamarind paste. You may find it in jars or in packets.

  • Wasabi

    <strong><a href="http://www.asianfoodgrocer.com/product/50813-house-wasabi-paste" target="_hplink">Buy wasabi here</a></strong> <strong>What it is</strong>: Wasabi is a condiment served alongside Japanese sushi. Real wasabi is ground from a long root, but wasabi sold as a paste is typically a blend of mustard, horseradish and food coloring. Use wasabi to add heat to sushi or toss nuts in wasabi before roasting. <strong>Where to buy</strong>: The international aisle of your supermarket or Asian markets.

  • Sambal Oelek

    <strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Huy-Fong-Sambal-Oelek-Sauce/dp/B001MGEU0W" target="_hplink">Buy sambal oelek here</a></strong> <strong>What it is</strong>: There are many different types of sambal, but sambal oelek is the one you'll most likely find available. Sambals, which are chili-based condiments, are popular in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Sri Lanka. Use sambal to add fiery heat to your recipes. <strong>Where to buy</strong>: Find it in Asian markets and the international aisle of your supermarket.

  • WATCH: How To Use Tamarind Paste In Cooking

    Chef Floyd Cardoz demystifies tamarind and explains how it can be used as a substitute for lemon, lime, or vinegar in his seared fish recipe.