If your meals are impeccably healthy but lack taste, level up your spice game!
Eating right doesn’t have to mean being boring.
Check your spice cabinet for different routes to deliciousness, and don’t be afraid to experiment!
To help you bring some extra taste, tang, piquancy, and more to your meals, we provide several clever techniques to spice up your cooking.
It’s the Time of the Seasoning
For most people, the two main spices are salt and black pepper, and that’s that. They’re certainly integral to many different dishes, and sometimes a single dash of salt brings out the best in a meal.
But you should also move beyond salt and pepper and explore the rest of the spice world.
Let’s start by assessing whether you have a well-equipped cabinet of spices and herbs. Whether they’re freshly cut or dried herbs, seeds, powders, or leaves, certain seasonings are indispensable.
No chef would go without the following:
- Ginger adds a mildly spicy and sweet vitality to so many meals. Fresh, ground, or crystallized, ginger is useful in desserts, sauces, main courses, and more.
- Cumin has a distinctively pungent and peppery taste and a slightly earthy scent. It turns up in multiple regions known for flavorful foods, such as Mexico, the Mediterranean, and India.
- Oregano is a traditional component of Mediterranean cuisine. The oregano that’s popular in Italian cooking is the Greek type, and it’s delicious when you use it in conjunction with tomatoes. But keep Mexican oregano in mind as well, as it has its own strong and flavorful taste.
- Cinnamon is the Renaissance man of the spice cabinet. Available in powdered or stick forms, people tend to think of it as a mere flavoring for hot drinks and cinnamon toast. In fact, it appears in diverse recipes from around the world, including desserts, soups, and meat dishes.
- Turmeric is, on its own, a bit earthy and bitter. But you can introduce a dash to soups, smoothies, and scrambles to add flavor, bright color, and a smattering of nutrition to them.
- Curry powders contain some of the above spices alongside other spices and can deliver a pleasant, savory burst of flavor to rice dishes, soups, stews, and other foods.
You can and should keep some other spices in your kitchen as well, but those we’ve discussed here act as nice cornerstones to many delicious recipes.
Tips and Tricks
The internet is packed with rules of thumb that you can refer to when you want to learn some techniques to spice up your cooking.
Here are a few:
- Store spices in a cool, dry place and keep track of how long you’ve had them. After a year or two, they can lose flavor.
- Want to make spice flavors really pop in your stir-fry? When sautéing veggies, melt the butter or heat the oil first, then sauté the onions, garlic, carrots, potatoes, or whatever else you have. Then, when you’ve almost fully cooked your ingredients, add the seasoning.
Unlock the flavor and smell of herbal spices by rubbing them between your palms before sprinkling them onto the other ingredients.
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