Every Chef should have their arsenal of spices. No good dish out there is complete without the right seasonings to complete the flavor profiles of the dish. While it is certainly great to stick with what’s familiar, such as the spices mentioned previously, it is best to try and add more complicated spices that can often make or break the dishes that call for them.
Food from all over the world use different spices and seasonings to create one-of-a-kind dishes with complex, yet incredible flavors that reflect their cultures. In this last part of the two-part spice article series, get to know some of the best spices that give life to plenty of food from across the globe.
Part 2: The Aromatic Spices from Around the World
Flavors of Asia
6. Cumin Powder
Cumin seeds come from a flowering plant native to the Middle East and stretches across to east India. When powderized, it gets this mustard yellow color that you may be familiar with in curry. In fact, this spice is very prominent in that dish.
This aromatic spice is quite nutty in flavor that comes through very distinctly in Indian and Mediterranean cuisine.
If spicy is what you’re after, then cayenne pepper is the spice to chase. This type of chili is a kick to the taste buds that makes a lot of Asian dishes a lot more interesting. Historically, it was also used mostly by Indian cuisines but has slowly become a part of recipes for Thai, Mexican, and American dishes. Depending on how much you use, the spice of cayenne is not too strong. It gives just enough spiciness to make dishes less boring.
Basil is most known for the strong scent that it has on Italian cuisine. This herb brings a freshness to dishes and is even more amplified when put in as the dried spice version.
Basil has a balance of sweet and savory, which is a lovely profile for pasta dishes and baked goods. It is the star of pesto sauce, which is a very aromatic Italian pasta dish that is very popular across the globe.
If you’re experimenting with this in the kitchen, remember that it does leave a strong taste as a dried spice so you need to use it sparingly, especially if you’re mixing in other spices. Every Chef should have some form of basil. Whether it be Italian, Thai or even micro for garnishing.
Oregano is similar in appearance and flavor with basil, but these two spices have a distinguishable difference. Dried oregano is bold with an earthy taste that basil does not possess. It also has a slight bitterness to it when not used moderately. Still, this aromatic spice does make a difference in dishes like pesto and chicken.
Rosemary is an herb with a distinct almost medicinal-like scent that leaves an interesting fragrance to roast dishes. This spice is poultry’s best friend, especially in turkeys for Thanksgiving roasts.
Trying out new things in the kitchen is the most exciting part about cooking. Experimenting and trying new flavors and recipes around the world can give you some perspective on what food tastes like beyond what’s comfortable with you. Every Chef should have a concept of these flavor profiles.
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