Culinary use of spices, defined as the edible but non-leafy parts of certain plants.

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49
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7answers
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What's a good resource for knowing what spices are and what to use them in?

I know what spices like garlic and black pepper are, and what foods you typically put them in. But spices like cardamom, rosemary, thyme, paprika, etc., completely elude me. I haven't found a good ...
27
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5answers
1k views

Shelf life of spices

The common wisdom I've heard is that dried herbs and spices: have a shelf-life of about a year or 2 keep best in a cool dark place will release more flavor when crushed That's fine but some spices ...
26
votes
8answers
19k views

White pepper vs. black pepper

Other than color, what is the difference between white pepper and black pepper? I thought it was purely a color thing so that black pepper wouldn't ruin the color of, say, a white sauce. We tried ...
24
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12answers
133k views

How can you make a sauce less spicy/hot?

Sometimes when I'm making a sauce or soup that needs to be a bit spicy, I have no troubles spicing how I want to. But if the dinner party is a bit late, or I made the sauce in advance to really draw ...
18
votes
5answers
968 views

Removing turmeric colour from mortar and pestle

We have a large granite (I think) mortar and pestle, and while keeping it clean generally doesn't seem too difficult, I have absolutely no idea how to avoid it staining when it's used with turmeric ...
16
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8answers
6k views

What is this fungus/lichen in my Garam Masala? (“Trifle”/truffle?)

I just bought a lovely bag of Garam Masala, and was all ready to grind some when I got home! But when I opened it, I found something I didn’t recognise — at first I thought something had gone mouldy, ...
16
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13answers
861 views

Recommendations for spice organization strategies

Spices have always been the hardest thing for me to keep track of in the kitchen. I'm interested in specific recommendations for hardware (containers, labeling, shelving, etc.) and organization ...
15
votes
9answers
6k views

Which spice gives brown colour to Indian curry?

Many of the premixed curry pastes and curry dishes I have eaten have a brownish / reddish colour to them. I have a nice collection of spices that I cook with, but my curries seem to always look and ...
15
votes
3answers
541 views

How to treat your saffron right?

Similar to this question, but not the same (by the way, I like Hobodave's answer). What's the correct way to treat saffron to get most of the flavor? I've seen the following methods: Let the ...
14
votes
4answers
33k views

What good substitutes for saffron exist?

I am a big fan of paella, amongst other uses for saffron. However, it can be a very difficult and/or expensive spice to obtain. What good substitutes exist?
14
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5answers
5k views

What are the differences between various types of paprika, and which have the most flavor?

I've tried various different brands of paprika but none seem to have any flavor. Can anyone recommend a kind or brand of paprika that is less bland? For example, I've seen certain "special" ...
14
votes
2answers
521 views

What flavorants stand up to long cooking?

My answer to this question (link) prompted a question in my own mind. I wanted to share some tips regarding when to add herbs, spices, aromatics, etc., and had a few suggestions (bay leaves and garlic ...
13
votes
7answers
26k views

How do I keep soup from being bland?

I've been experimenting with soups recently and trying different recipes, and I've found that I often come out with a good soup that's a bit too bland in taste. And yes, salt and pepper makes a huge ...
13
votes
6answers
25k views

How do I remove turmeric stains from metal/plastic cookware?

As much as I value tumeric for its rumoured cancer-battling qualities, I find its tendency to stain anything it comes into contact with (including 'stainless' steel) discouraging to the point that I ...
12
votes
10answers
2k views

Are 'premium' spices worth the expense?

I have done some calculation. And I think that if I buy a jar of spice from the supermarket, it is about 25 times more expensive (it costs more and you get a fraction of the amount) that getting a bag ...
12
votes
3answers
8k views

Differences/Similarities between cinnamon and nutmeg

I read a while ago that nutmeg and cinnamon are really similar and you can easily substitute one for the other. Yet many recipes call for both cinnamon and nutmeg so it seems like there must be some ...
12
votes
6answers
4k views

How to dry oregano?

I have oregano in my garden. But I only use it fresh. How should I properly dry the oregano so I can get something similar to oregano found in the stores?
11
votes
7answers
95k views

What herbs and spices are in “Italian Seasoning”?

I'm beginning to grow my own herbs and would like to put together something similar to the "Italian Seasoning" found in the grocery store spice section. (It's an easy way to add more flavor to pasta ...
11
votes
2answers
852 views

Oil separating from fried onion/spice mixture, why does it happen?

I was always taught when cooking Indian dishes to fry spices in a chopped/pureed onion and garlic mixture to release their flavour and essential oils. I was also taught that when the oil separates ...
11
votes
3answers
3k views

Why whole peppercorns?

Some recipes call for whole peppercorns. Why not crack them and use a lot less? In a cooking show I watched recently the host specifically said "Do not crack or grind them" but he did not explain why. ...
10
votes
11answers
3k views

What spices taste umami?

Are there natural spices that taste umami? I don't want to use MSG in my food, but I'd like to add some umami flavour.
10
votes
3answers
3k views

Is curry ketchup just ketchup with curry powder?

We use both tomato ketchup and curry ketchup as condiments in Belgium. On the curry ketchup label, amongst other ingredients is "curry (1%)". So I tried adding curry powder to regular ketchup to see ...
10
votes
1answer
3k views

When should I flavor my Bolognese?

My Bolognese sauce usually contains some combination of salt, pepper, basil, oregano and thyme. It is easier to taste if I add them towards the end, but is the taste affected by when I add the herbs ...
10
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1answer
2k views

What happens to the flavour of meat when you cook it Star Anise with Onions?

What exactly is the chemical reaction that occurs when you cook Star Anise with Onions? According to Heston Blumenthal doing this intensifies the flavour of meat. Ultimately what I want to know is ...
9
votes
6answers
3k views

How much salt should I add to a dish?

I find it hard to figure out how much salt to add to dishes. I'm always afraid I'll make it too salty. Recipes always call for salt to taste, but what does that mean? Is there a good rule of thumb?
9
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2answers
2k views

What can I use in place of allspice?

I have a recipe for Dutch apple raisin cake that calls for a half teaspoon of allspice, which I don't have. Would ground cloves or nutmeg or a combo of both work? I know that allspice is a spice unto ...
8
votes
5answers
852 views

What technique best infuses spices into a dish?

If I have a group of spices, all dried and ground, say: nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper... I'm curious about how to maximize their flavor for a drink or dish, and in what liquids ...
8
votes
6answers
2k views

What herbs and spices should a beginner cook have?

What herbs and spices should a new cook purchase? These should be versatile herbs and spices that are used in many dishes.
8
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10answers
869 views

In which kind of food items can Asafoetida be used? [closed]

I have heard about the medical benefits of Asafoetida. I used it once in Brinjals (which while cooking contained only Ginger powder, Fennel powder, salt and red chilli powder). The addition of ...
8
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2answers
1k views

Pimenton ahumado vs. Pimenton de la vera

Besides the noticeable cost difference between these two, what is the difference between pimenton ahumado and pimenton de la vera? Both are purported to be Spanish smoked paprika.
8
votes
2answers
824 views

How long will a fresh herb paste last?

I make a paste using ground fresh basil, ground fresh mint, ground dried ginger, salt, ground roasted coffee, and raw honey (enough to coat all of the ingredients well). It makes a great rub, and can ...
7
votes
13answers
41k views

What can I add to frozen peas for more flavor? [closed]

I want to serve plain cooked frozen peas. However, whenever I try it, they taste kind of bland... What's a simple spice or ingredient that I can add to spice it up a bit, but still pretty much stick ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

Substitute Cayenne Pepper for Black Pepper

My recipe calls for Black Pepper. I have Cayenne Pepper. What ratio should I use to substitute to get approximatively the same "heat"? I realize that the result won't be quite the same. I am fine ...
7
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9answers
81k views

What herbs and spices pair well with baked Salmon? [closed]

I'm about to bake a salmon in the oven and I want to know what are some good herbs/spices that I can rub or sprinkle on the fillet. Which herbs, spices, or other seasonings tend to pair best with a ...
7
votes
4answers
9k views

Can I substitute Fenugreek seeds for leaves?

I have accidentally brought a load of fenugreek seeds, as apposed to leaves, and wonder if I can use them as a substitute. if not, what any ideas for what I can do with them before they go in the ...
7
votes
3answers
22k views

What is ground red pepper?

I have the 75th anniversary edition of Joy of Cooking. I've now come across two recipes that call for "ground red pepper" (enchiladas and a dry rub). I've never heard of ground red pepper before and ...
7
votes
2answers
221 views

Seasoning Chili for Young Children

We have a 3 year old toddler who is not a fan of spicy foods. She doesn't like heat of any type, and doesn't like strong flavors. How can we season a turkey chili to keep her happy, and still make it ...
7
votes
2answers
13k views

Chili powder substitutions

I'm having trouble converting the chili recipes I find to use something other than of-the-shelf chili-powder. Thanks to a simply wonderful local spice shop, we have several different kind of ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Consuming cardamom pods

I'm making a dish that calls for six cardamom pods added while cooking. After the dish cooks, should I make the effort to locate and remove the pods? I'm assuming they're like Bay Leaves, unpleasant ...
7
votes
2answers
7k views

What are some good spices to marinade and season baked hot wings?

I've gotten pretty good with baked hot wings, and I'm trying to create an even better taste through seasoning or marinading. Right now, I use salt, pepper, butter, Tabasco sauce, and tons of Frank's ...
7
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2answers
5k views

Adding spices before or after frying?

If I fry chicken strips for my salad, should I spice them before or after I fry them? I've heard contradicting opinions.
7
votes
2answers
21k views

Substitute fresh garlic instead of garlic powder?

I have a recipe that calls for garlic powder, but I only have fresh garlic on hand. What ratio should I use to substitute?
7
votes
2answers
320 views

Best online source for spices

I'm looking or good online sources for spices. Good selection and good prices.
7
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the correct temperature when extracting saffron flavour?

I have several recipes that call for saffron. Obviously, they all say to put the saffron in some water to extract the flavour so it spreads more evenly in the dish. However, there is no mention of the ...
7
votes
1answer
165 views

Temperature-stable spices

I would find it very useful to have a list of empirical data on temperature-stability of spices. Are there any systematical studies available? Which spices can easily bear long durations of ...
7
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3answers
308 views

Spice rack/cupboard for kitchen with lots of spices?

My wife and I really enjoy cooking, so we have tons of spices. I understand it's best to keep them in the dark, so we thought we might like a spice cupboard. Probably 50 or so spices; they don't need ...
6
votes
3answers
6k views

Can an American substitute for garam masala be made?

I love Indian food and have been experimenting with curry recipes, and many of them ask for 'garam masala'. I know it's a spice mix but I can't find it for sale anywhere around me. I've also read ...
6
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6answers
3k views

What is sumac used for?

A friend of mine told me she uses sumac (I am not sure she was teasing me, or what). Is sumac used in cuisine? If it is used, what is it used for?
6
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1answer
917 views

Why do cinnamon sticks taste sweet?

I often nibble on a cinnamon stick because first of all I like the taste and the smell and secondly it seems to help in weight loss. How comes that cinnamon sticks seem to taste sweet, even though ...
6
votes
4answers
449 views

Why does salt taste different in different dishes?

If I salt tomato, potato and pasta, their tastes change in completely different ways to me. Why is this? Had I put oregano on them, they'd all taste like oregano. Update: The question is not "is it ...