Your Guide to a Basic Spice Kit
If variety is the spice of life, then spice is the life of food. Jazz up the most basic of dishes with a sprinkle, dash, or teaspoon of these wonderful spices. Use them to make any dish.
- Cumin: Available whole or ground, cumin has a warm, woodsy scent and can be used in Indian, Mexican, European, or Southeast Asian cuisine. Get it fresh for extra flavor.
- Coriander seeds: The seeds of coriander, also known as cilantro! While cilantro has a fresh taste many find to be akin to soap, coriander seed has an almost smoky taste. I love to eat a few as a snack or digestive after a meal.
- Turmeric: Turmeric is a trendy spice lately (have you tried a golden milk latte?), but it’s been used in Indian food for centuries. This is where the bright color of biriyani comes from! Use it to give a lovely golden color to anything, including your hands, since turmeric stains, so always be careful when using it.
Turmeric stains, so be careful when using it
- Ginger: While nothing can substitute for the fresh stuff, powdered ginger is good in a pinch. Use it to add flavor to stews, rices, and meats.
- Garlic: Ditto for garlic, nothing beats fresh garlic! This is good if you’re in a hurry, and don’t have time to mince and peel garlic. A teaspoon of dried garlic will still flavor your food.
- Cayenne: Cayenne is the classic red pepper. With a bitter taste reminiscent of hot sauce, a shake of cayenne will lend some heat to whatever you’re making.
- Aleppo pepper: This is an all-in-one spice. Aleppo pepper has notes of lime, black pepper, red pepper, and cumin.
- Paprika: More common in Mexican and Spanish food, Paprika can be sweet or bitter depending on its origin. Use it to add a natural, bright red color.
- Fenugreek: The only herb on this list, crumble dried fenugreek into your dish to add a strong, fresh flavor.
- Saffron: Saffron is notoriously expensive, and a little bit goes a long, long way. If you’re craving the flavor of saffron on a budget, mix turmeric and paprika in equal quantities to give your dish a boos