They enrich any recipe with unique flavors and helps you get unforgettable dishes. Learn how to use these exotic spices in the kitchen.
1. Black Mustard Seeds
Roasted black mustard seeds get a hazelnut flavor. Their taste is a bit stronger than the grains of yellow mustard.
Like the yellow or white mustard, the best way for cooking them is by heating the beans in a pan until they erupt, releasing all the aromas they contain (use a cover for the pan because the grains might jump out of the pan when the temperature gets higher).
Very popular in Indian cuisine, black mustard seeds can be found in the composition of many mixtures such as ‘Masala‘ or ‘Bagnara’. But this doesn’t mean that black mustard can not be used in other cuisines.
The grains can be used in creating a tasty salad as a mustard sauce or simply seasoning the meat with black mustard, gaining a special taste. To create an original appetizer, you can use a few beans on some slices of bread with Gruyère (a variety of Swiss cheese).
What drink goes best with this appetizer? A dry white wine for example.
2. Nutmeg nuts
Nutmeg is a spicy condiment. It is considered to be the wealth of many countries, namely the Netherlands where this spice is very popular.
Used as a powder, nutmeg is a delicious secret used to create simple or elaborate dishes. Mashed potatoes, zucchini and cauliflower sauce and gratin potatoes take on a very special taste if you add a pinch of nutmeg. It is also used for seasoning the vegetable creams and sauces.
Nutmeg is the essential ingredient in Moroccan cuisine, such as “Ras-el-Hanout“. Keep in mind that nutmeg which is subjected to high temperature, loses its flavor, so it is recommended adding it to the end of the cooking process.
With a powerful and special flavor, this meditareene spice takes you to the sunny shorelines of the Mediterranean Sea.
Oregano is a herb commonly used in the Italian cuisine, along with basil of course. This is the secret of many recipes.
Although an indispensable ingredient of many kinds of pizza, oregano is also used in creating a tasty mozzarella and tomatoes salad. Oregano’s flavor also makes barbecue and tomato sauces (bolognaise) taste a lot better.
To preserve the flavor, oregano should be kept in a dehydrated place away from light.
4. Green Pepper
This type of pepper is very strong, and it has the hotness of peppers and the specific aromatic properties.
Green pepper is often used in decorating foods. It has made its way into the top condiments in Europe and the whole world thanks to the steak recipe that uses green pepper.
It is best to use it in traditional dishes from the countries they come from (a curry or spicy Asian sauce).
5. Sichuan Pepper
Sichuan is a province of China and the Sichuan pepper gives a nice balance between spicy and pleasant delicate flavor, a reminiscent of Chinese teas.
Part of the well known spice mix called “the five spices” (Sichuan pepper, garlic, cinnamon, dill / fennel and anise), Sichuan pepper entered the worlwide kitchen because its amazing flavor.
Very smooth in flavor, it adds a particular taste to the dishes. Perfect for flavoring mushrooms and also ideal for seasoning white meat. The slightly sweet taste makes it ideal for sweet and salty dishes as well.
6. Paella – Special Mix
This blend of spices and flavors has been specially created to highlight a Spanish dishes called Paella. It replaces the saffron from India and adds a touch of hotness due to the blend of other spices which can be found in the paella composition such as: garlic, saffron, paprika, red pepper (cayenne). At the same time may be ideal for a chef who doesn’t have all these spices separately.
During cooking, you can sprinkle the equivalent of a sachet of spices for 4-6 servings of paella. And for those who prefer a little more spicy food you can add a final touch of the mixture in the dish when served. To accompany this type of spices you can choose a rosé wine from Rioja (Spanish wine) or a strong red wine from southern France (such as Côtes du Rhône or Tricastin).
7. Ras el Hanout
Turmeric is the herb that gives the golden color of Ras el Hanout. This mixture is not spicy, it really is very aromatic and slightly sweet.
This blend of spices is typical of North Africa. Ras el Hanout has in its composition coriander, turmeric, sweet fennel, rosemary and fenugreek.
May also contain traces of nuts, milk, soy, gluten, celery, sulphites, sesame, mustard. This blend of spices is the key ingredient in preparing couscous. It is exactly the thing that makes the difference and gives this dish a special note. Using this blend is as simple as possible.
Heating this spice in a little olive oil will concentrate all the wonderful flavors that you will feel in the dish.
In Latin, Rosemary means “Mary Rose”. This strong aromatic spice definitely takes us to distant lands. Rosemary is a highly valued herb, especially in the Mediterranean cuisine.
Rosemary is indispensable to a good barbecue. Modern kitchen, always looking for innovations, is equally excited by the presence of this herb, even inventing rosemary sauce to garnish fish dishes. It should be noted that only a hint of rosemary added offers a rich flavor when cooking Mediterranean fish.
Rosemary contains a vast array of flavors and so many have tried combining it in sweet foods, especially red fruits.
Qualities: well-known for its qualities in stimulating sluggish digestion and also has an antispasmodic effect.
Slightly bitter and with a slight flavor of camfur. Used for a long time for its therapeutic effects, is recognized for its aromatic qualities.
Pork meat is the one who benefits most from association with sage, because sage makes pork meat more easily digested and gives it a very pleasant aroma. Moreover, white meat generally goes well with sage; nothing nicer than slipping a few sage leaves under the skin of a chicken to get an amazing taste.
In the Italian version, sage is often used in preparing ravioli stuffed with meat. The Romans, Greeks and Egyptians considered sage as a very good panacea.
Qualities: sage has stimulant, antiseptic and digestive properties.
10. Tonka Beans
The flavor of this kind of beans, exotic by name, has a resemblance similar to bitter almonds but with a slight vanilla flavor. Discovered recently in European cuisine, Tonka beans come in good resonance with chocolate.
Used with a Belgian or Swiss chocolate (less than 75%) highlights a slightly bitter taste, which will make an unique dessert.
Tonka beans must be ground to obtain a powder or simply crushed to obtain small pieces.
11. Saffron pistils
Presented in small transparent bottles in the form of pepper, crushed saffron pistils (Spanish origin) are of the highest quality.
Saffron can be added as well in salty and in sweet dishes. In the same sense it can be used for preparation of Mediterranean fish.
Originally from Nepal, saffron (Crocus Sativus) is today cultivated in the Mediterranean area, one of the largest producers being Iran. Saffron is a very old spice, known since antiquity.
Mostly used for its chromatic qualities, saffron has been used for medicinal pourposes. One thing never went unnoticed since its discovery, its price.
The high cost is due to the difficulty the harvest raises. 150 000 flowers are needed to obtain 1 kg of saffron (powdered extract), and harvesting is done manually.
The amount used in recipes is expressed both in filaments and in grams. Rich in Vitam B also contains provitamin A (carotenoids) and it has sedative, antispasmodic and aphrodisiac properties.
Soumak highlights the taste of wild mushrooms and gives a very pleasant taste to the dish.
At the same time, it can be an ideal condiment for peas or white beans dishes. Soumak is an indispensable condiment for ravioli made with homemade dough, sitting on a large round platter, seasoned with a garlic yogurt sauce. The result? A delight!
This spice is widely used in Asia, including Iran and Lebanon. Soumak is one of the main components of Lebanese spice mixture called “za’tar“.
13. Tagine mix
The white pepper is causing intense wrath, but which allows the subtle flavors of coriander and ginger to make their presence felt.
Turmeric, ginger, coriander, white pepper and cinnamon are the spices which makes the Tangine mix.
May contain traces of nuts, milk, soy, gluten, sesame, sulfur mustard, celery.
This mixture is ideal, as its name suggests, tangine means “delicious cooking”.
The preparation of this dish, emblematic to Morocco and North Africa often involves the use of many spices inaccessible outside the country of origin of the recipe, and this spice mixture just comes to your aid in this regard, thus easing your life!
This mixture will be used in recipes with vegetables and white meat, including the famous candied lemon chicken recipes.
It comes from southeastern China and was discovered by Marco Polo. It looks very nice in the form of a star and it is very flavored.
Anise is a key ingredient of the Chinese mixture called ” the five spices“, which we talk about earlier, defining its taste. Used as a powder or whole anise will prove to be a real help for those foods that require a touch of spicy flavor.
Anise can be cut in small pieces or used whole which can be added during cooking.
A slightly spicy cake, exotic fruit salad or apple sauce are just some of the preparations that can fully enjoy the wonderful aroma of anise!
Be careful though, because anise is recognized as extremely flavored, and a pinch of anise is sufficient for a single serving!