A beginners guide to cooking with spices | Healthy Diet

A beginners guide to cooking with spices

With restaurant visits off the cards for the foreseeable future, now is an ideal time to get a bit more creative in the kitchen.

One easy way to transform dishes is to add some different spices, and since many people have jars of rarely-used herbs and spices languishing at the back of a cupboard somewhere there’s no excuse not to start experimenting!

Healthy Diet

By Healthy Diet

A beginners guide to cooking with spices

Ketan Varu from spice kit brand Spicentice says, “Food is always better when it’s been properly seasoned, but many home cooks are weary about experimenting purely because they’re unsure how a particular spice is going to affect the dish.

“Spices can transform a meal by adding a range of flavours, from a hint of sweetness to a kick of heat.

“They can also bring out the natural flavours of food, give beautiful aromas, and change or enhance the colour of a dish. Not to mention, many also boast fantastic health benefits which will help boost your immune system.

“We’ve created a guide to 13 common spices to show novice cooks how to use them, and that there’s no need to be intimidated by your spice cupboard!”

1. Cardamom
This warm, aromatic spice is widely used in Indian cuisine. It’s also great in baked goods when used in combination with spices like clove and cinnamon.

2. Cayenne Pepper
Made from dried and ground red chili peppers, Cayenne Pepper adds a sweet heat to soups, braises, and spice mixes.

3. Cinnamon
Found in almost every world cuisine, cinnamon serves double duty as spice in both sweet and savoury dishes. It has a very unique flavour and is extremely aromatic. Cinnamon goes well with apples, beef, chocolate, in curries, stews and spicy dishes.

4. Cumin
Smoky and earthy, cumin is used in a lot of Southwestern U.S. and Mexican cuisine, as well as North African, Middle Eastern, and Indian dishes. It can be found ground or as whole seeds, and is great in curries, soups, stews, and spice rubs, or with beans.

5. Fenugreek
Although this herb smells like maple syrup while cooking, it has a rather bitter, burnt sugar flavour. It’s found in a lot of Indian and Middle Eastern dishes, and the ground seeds are often used in curry powder, spice blends, dry rubs and even tea blends. Fresh and dried fenugreek leaves can be used to finish dishes like sauces, curries, vegetable dishes and soups.

6. Garlic Powder
Garlic powder is made from dehydrated garlic cloves and can be used to give dishes a sweeter, softer garlic flavour.

7. Ginger
With a spicy, zesty bite, ginger can be found fresh in root form, or ground and dried. Fresh ginger is great in stir fries and marinades, or grated into cookies and muffins, whilst ground ginger works well in curry powders, spice mixes, and in general baking.

8. Nutmeg
Sweet and pungent, nutmeg is often used in baked goods, but it also adds a warm note to savoury dishes. It’s often used with cheese sauces too.

9. Oregano
Used primarily in Mediterranean, Greek, Italian, Mexican and Cuban cooking, oregano is amazing fresh, but is just as good if you use a good quantity of dried. It’s peppery, aromatic, and earthy and is great with vegetables, in beef stew, in sauces, with meat and fish, and with beans.

10. Paprika
Paprika can be sweet, hot or smoky, but most often adds a sweet note to dishes, as well as a brilliant red colour. You can also get a spicier version which is often labelled ‘hot paprika’. Use it in stews, spice blends, and goulash, or as part of a dry rub for roast potatoes. It’s also a great way to add a kick to burgers. Just sprinkle some on the raw meat or across the top when on the grill.

11. Rosemary
Strong and piney, rosemary is great with eggs, beans, and potatoes, as well as grilled meats. Fresh rosemary is also good for adding to soup and stew, or you can stuff poultry with a few sprigs during cooking. Many people also use it during grilling – when laid in coals it gives a great flavour to meat and vegetables.

12. Saffron
Saffron is the most expensive of spices and has a very subtle but distinct flavour that adds bitterness to food that, when used in dishes with lots of sweet or acidic flavours, balances out perfectly. It is used mostly with fish and rice, and is a key ingredient in paella.

13. Turmeric
Sometimes used more for its yellow colour than its flavour, turmeric has a very mild woodsy flavour. It is used in many curry powders for colour and flavour.

This article was provided by Spicentice.

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