Spices add flavour, aroma and a beautiful taste to the food. To bring out the maximum flavour of the spice you must know how and when to add a particular spice to a dish. Spices are used whole or in powder form. Some spices are mild in flavour while others have a strong aroma.
How to use Spices:
Before one begins to use spices in cooking you must know how to use different spices and also which spices taste good in which dish. To begin with add very small quantity of spice, if you like the taste you can add a little more later on.
Buy whole spices if possible and grind them fresh for better results. When ground and stored, these tend to lose flavour over a period of time. Always store spices in a cool and dry place like a cupboard. These should be stored away from hot and humid places like a stove, window, near a dishwasher etc.
In vegetable dishes – Vegetables have a strong flavour of their own. Spices with delicate flavour like cumin, mustard, fennel, coriander and Turmeric Powder go well with vegetables.
In curries and main course dishes – Spices with strong flavour and aroma like cardamom, clove, cinnamon when used in small quantities do wonders to these dishes.
- A pinch of cinnamon powder added to a soup adds a lovely flavour to it.
- Heat oil in a pan, add cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon or cardamom, sizzle for a while and pour over a dish already cooked like mashed potatoes or a curry.
- Freshly ground cloves and cinnamon, when added to a meat loaf or any meat dish give the dish an amazing flavour.
- While marinating meat add a little curry powder, ginger and garlic to curd.
- When cooking dry vegetables like potatoes, cauliflower and paneer etc., add cumin, dry red chilli and asafoetida to hot oil before adding vegetables. This adds a wonderful aroma to the dish.
- To make your drinks like lemonade more striking, add a few pieces of saffron to it.
- While cooking rice, add cumin and two to three cloves to hot oil before adding rice. This gives a very pleasant flavour to the cooked rice.
- For that hot spicy taste, black pepper should be freshly ground before adding to a dish. During cooking the taste of the pepper becomes less, so for more flavour add a little more pepper towards end of the cooking.
- Asafoetida has a very strong flavour, so use a very small amount of it when you season or temper a dish.
Some vegetables and spice combinations:
- Sweet Potatoes – Cumin Powder, Cinnamon
- Potatoes – Cumin Powder, Coriander, Mint, Garlic, Mustard
- Cabbage – Cumin Seeds, Mustard Seeds, Coriander
- Carrots – Cumin, Ginger, Coriander
- Peas – Cumin, Ginger, Coriander
- Beans – Cumin, Coriander, Ginger
- Spinach – Ginger, Garlic, Cumin, Coriander
It is very important to understand the seasonings being used since this will improve or spoil the taste of a dish. So go ahead and experiment with your food, add spices to add aroma and flavour to your food.