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

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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 ...
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5answers
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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 ...
28
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7answers
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Will Cinnamon ever dissolve in a cocktail?

I have this idea, that making a cinnamon, vanilla and brandy cocktail would be delicious, and it is. But it is also kinda grainy. What I have been doing: In a 500ml glass, add 15m brandy, add 1/2 ...
28
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9answers
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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 ...
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12answers
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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 ...
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14answers
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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 ...
18
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10answers
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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, ...
18
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5answers
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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 ...
17
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9answers
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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 ...
16
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9answers
14k 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 ...
16
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6answers
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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 ...
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6answers
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Is there a reason for storing ground spices separately (unmixed)?

I always use the same spice mix for dal. Instead of taking 1-2 tsp of each, I would rather keep a special container for the dal of the ready made mix in the proportions I want. Is there any reason ...
15
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5answers
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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?
15
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3answers
906 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
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3answers
3k views

Other 'hot' spices

The restaurant assured me that there was no chilli in the food but it was still too hot for me. What other spices, etc. can cause the heat effect in the mouth? it was a Sri Lankan restaurant, very ...
14
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5answers
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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
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2answers
618 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
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10answers
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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 ...
13
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6answers
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How to make homemade pinto beans taste like canned refried beans?

I see plenty of advice out there on how to make canned pinto beans taste delicious, but does anyone know how to recreate that cheapo refrito taste? I've tried countless combinations of freshly cooked ...
13
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7answers
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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
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2answers
1k 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 ...
13
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1answer
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Name of a greek spice that sounds like “bakari”

Many years ago, we brought back from Greece a spice that was suggested to us for preparing the Moussaka. The greek who sold it to us called it "bakari". Now we have used all our stock and I've tried ...
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6answers
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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?
12
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12answers
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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.
12
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2answers
1k views

What is 'Musk' as used in this recipe

I recently made this truffle ravioli dish, it was an easy enough recipe, but I was confused about one thing: it calls for 'musk'. I didn't know what this was, my research only turned up musk melon, ...
12
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4answers
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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 ...
11
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6answers
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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?
11
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5answers
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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 ...
11
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4answers
7k 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. ...
11
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1answer
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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 ...
11
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1answer
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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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5answers
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Skimming foam from stock without removing floating spices

When I make chicken stock from scratch, I like to include whole spices like mustard seed, coriander, star anise and black pepper. I put these in right at the start when the water is still cool, so ...
10
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5answers
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What is the world's hottest pepper?

I'm growing some bhut jolokia peppers, and they are almost ready for harvesting. However, I've since seen that the naga viper pepper has beaten the bhut jolokia as the hottest pepper. I've also seen ...
10
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3answers
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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 ...
9
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5answers
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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 ...
9
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2answers
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How do I effectively rub spices into fish?

I did a fish rub for the first time last night. I mixed the spices and then put the thawed tilapia fillets right into the bowl. I noticed two problems: The spices tended to clump up and became ...
9
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2answers
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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
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5answers
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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 ...
8
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10answers
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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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4answers
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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 ...
8
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3answers
36k 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?
8
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2answers
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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
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2answers
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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 ...
8
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1answer
325 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
5k 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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7answers
29k views

How much Saffron to use?

I'm a bit confused with how much saffron to use in a paella recipe. I've seen numerous recipes that state to use 1gram. However I have a 1gram jar and that seems like a lot of saffron to me. I've ...
7
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2answers
347 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
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4answers
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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
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3answers
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Forgot to add spices to curry

I made a jalfrezi today for tomorrow and I forgot to add spices, (cumin, tumeric, paprika). Is there a way I can add them now getting the most from them?
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1answer
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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 ...