Spices are the crowning glory of a well-stocked kitchen. Wars have been fought and civilisations have transformed because of these essential cooking ingredients that have power to mesmerise the senses through taste, aroma and appearance.
Spices are fundamental to bring a rich flavour to any dish without increasing the caloric count. But one thing every cook has to keep in mind is this – spices need to bring together your dishes without altering their very essence or overpowering their innate taste.
Your kitchen is incomplete without these ten must-have spices. Run a check to see if you already have them in your shelves or if you need to go grocery shopping. Happy cooking!
Chilli or chilli peppers is the first one to pop into anyone’s mind when we are talking about spices. There are various types of chilli that can be used fresh, dried, powdered and also pickled with each adding a unique level of ‘hotness’ to the food as you please.
Everyone’s favourite, black peppercorns are used in almost all types of cuisine as whole or in powder form. It is one of the earliest-discovered spices and it is traded till date for its complex flavour.
A root that is famous for its zesty and biting taste, ginger has been lauded for its healing qualities worldwide. It is used in sweet dishes (ginger bread cookies, anyone?) and in savoury dishes (almost all Asian cuisines).
Mostly available as extract or powder, cinnamon has a distinct sweet flavour that adds a unique touch to most dishes. This is another spice with medicinal qualities like antioxidant and antimicrobial.
Cumin seeds add a sharp but subtle bite to any food it is added to. It is commonly used in Indian, North African and Mexican cuisine. With its well-known digestive properties, cumin has been classified as medicinal spice.
Though originally a herb, oregano is stocked as dried spice in every kitchen and used in most Mediterranean dishes. Most famously used in pizzas and other breads.
Though the leaves have a fresh flavour, the seeds have a distinct pungent flavour. Coriander seeds are used most commonly in north Indian cuisine.
8.Dried Bay Leaves
Bay leaves have a woody flavour and makes for a key ingredient in stews. A few leaves are all that’s required to enhance the flavour of a dish. It is a must-have for any type of biriyani – which is of course any foodie’s favourite.
Turmeric latte maybe all the rage now but this southeast Indian spice has been a key ingredient in almost all the regional dishes. Its signature yellow hue is hard to miss! This is also a medicinal spice, known for its antiviral properties.
With a strong smell and hard-to-miss flavour, cloves are essential to many sweet and savoury recipes. The winter specials will always carry this spice to warm you up.
You can create the most amazing dishes and spin a signature style in traditional cuisines with the help of these exotic ingredients whether you are an amateur cook or an aspiring MasterChef contestant.