Without herbs and spices, food is bland and boring. Just imagine boiling some vegetables together with some rice and eating it as it is, without any type of spice whatsoever. While it may be edible, it will lack the thing that makes people want to eat, aside from hunger. Most herbs and spices are cheap and accessible, but people fear them, because they don’t really know how to use them correctly. Recently we’ve given you some cooking tips for absolute beginners and today we have 10 herbs and spices for you and your kitchen, so read on and start a shopping list as you’re reading.
10. Nutritional Yeast
Although it’s not really a spice or herb, nutritional yeast is used to spice up salads and food. It’s actually yeast that has had all of its microorganisms inactivated (aka killed). In other words, it can’t be used to make dough rise, but it does taste like heaven and it makes some killer salad dressings. It is rich in B vitamins and can be found in almost any health store around the world.
Fennel is a close relative of cumin, so if you like cumin, we’re certain you will love fennel. You can use it fresh in salads, but the best fennel in its seed form. If you don’t know where to start with fennel, then we suggest you lightly fry a teaspoon of seeds in olive oil and then add some boiled rice, condiments and tomato sauce and let it cook for 20 minutes. Heaven!
Parsley simply needs to be in every kitchen! The fresh type, not the dry one, which has zero flavor! If you don’t know how to use it, we recommend you chop up some onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and red peppers, add some olive oil, lemon juice and a handful of parsley and you’ve got yourself the perfect summer salad.
Fresh coriander is absolutely lovely, because of its freshness. You can eat heaps of it and you’ll still not be able to get enough of it. Goes great with lentils and curries, coriander can be your best friend in the kitchen. Also, the dried type can be pretty impressive if used correctly (not too much of it).
When rosemary met potatoes they fell in love and their love is still strong and will last until the end of time. You can’t have oven baked potatoes without at least a pinch of rosemary. If you’re lucky enough to get the fresh type, then your meal will really be something you’ll remember!
Fresh dill is good for pretty much everything, if you like the taste of it. Salads call for it almost every time lettuce is involves and peas… well, peas and dill have an even bigger love affair than rosemary and potatoes. Out of all the herbs and spices, fresh dill is the most savory and lovely!
4. Garam Masala
Garam Masala is a spice blend made from turmeric, black peppercorns, cloves, cumin seeds, cardamom pods and cinnamon. If you’re making a curry, then you simply can’t make it without garam masala. One tip from us: get the powdered version!
Without turmeric, life would be boring, bland and colorless. It brings so much taste and color to foods, that we simply don’t know where to start with it. It goes great with meats, rice, curries, it even works on popcorn. Just a pinch of turmeric will make a bucket of popcorn look delicious!
Amchur is a powder made from unripe mangoes. It is sour and quite lovely to use in sauces and salads. It’s also does wonders when put alongside rice, tomatoes and anything curry. One word of warning, though, it is very addictive, so make sure you constantly have access to an Amchur source!
Asafoetida is a rarity, we won’t lie to you, but when you do find it, stock up on it. It’s astoundingly foul smelling, but when added to hot oil, that changes in an instant and it becomes light spice with a wonderful aroma. Just a pinch of this stuff will give your food a slight onion and garlic flavor that will make you yearn for more. It is very popular in India, by the way.
Any other herbs and spices you think we should have included on our list? Drop us a line in the comment section below and let us know about them! We love hearing from our readers.