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Questions tagged [spices]

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

44
votes
8answers
13k views

If you add spices to boiling pasta, will it absorb spices/flavours?

If you are cooking pasta via simmering, and you add some spices e.g. pepper to the pot, will the pasta absorb the spices/flavors or will the spices just go to the top of the pot and not really get ...
39
votes
13answers
286k 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 ...
36
votes
10answers
83k 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 ...
34
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
31
votes
7answers
12k views

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
votes
1answer
3k views

Why are bay leaves used whole and then removed rather than crushed up like other spices?

Recently when making a 5-bean-stew "kit" my son finely crushed up the bay leaves and added them to the other spices, rather than adding them whole to be removed after cooking. When I pointed out his ...
23
votes
1answer
5k views

Why stud an onion?

Why do some recipes call for studding onions, i.e., cutting little slits in the onion and putting cloves in? For example, when I cook a big piece of meat like cow's tongue, what difference would it ...
22
votes
9answers
226k 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 ...
22
votes
4answers
5k views

Saffron and coloration - is there a way to know why it gave the wrong color?

What would make saffron (or something) color pink, instead of the more usual yellows and oranges that saffron is known for? I had, a while ago, picked up a container of saffron from an ethnic store. ...
21
votes
11answers
23k 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, ...
20
votes
14answers
2k 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 ...
19
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
18
votes
10answers
31k 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
5k views

Is there any advantage to combining spices before applying them to meat?

Up to this point when preparing steaks, ribs, or any sort of "meat" I would apply my spices in sequence: first adding salts, followed by a pepper-based powders, and lastly some sugars (if applicable). ...
17
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
17
votes
5answers
60k 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?
17
votes
1answer
3k views

What does “lightly crushed” mean for cardamon pods?

I am currently attempting to make the “Fragrant Spiced Rice Pudding” on page 136 of “Gordon Ramsay’s Home Cooking.” I am a novice with cooking so forgive me if my question is common sense for those ...
16
votes
6answers
95k 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
4k views

Can I cut chili powder with Paprika?

I live in Africa, but cook with US recipes often. I have found that the locally available chili powder is MUCH more intense than it is in the US. So much so that making a custom taco seasoning yielded ...
16
votes
3answers
1k 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 stems ...
15
votes
6answers
2k views

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
votes
5answers
13k 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 of paprika that is less bland? For example, I've seen certain "special" varieties such as ...
15
votes
2answers
694 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
30k 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 ...
14
votes
7answers
75k 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
12answers
12k 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.
13
votes
10answers
6k 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 ...
13
votes
6answers
3k views

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
votes
5answers
14k views

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 ...
13
votes
2answers
2k 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
votes
1answer
1k views

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 ...
13
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
13
votes
6answers
5k 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?
12
votes
2answers
2k 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
votes
5answers
4k 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
6k views

Do I need to remove clove stems before grinding?

I have whole cloves and need to crush/grind them. Should I break the berry parts off the much-harder stem and just grind that, or is the whole thing meant to be used? (I'm using a mortar and pestle, ...
12
votes
4answers
17k 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. ...
12
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
3k views

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 ...
11
votes
6answers
15k 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?
11
votes
5answers
7k views

Avoiding grittiness with sichuan pepper

I've got a big bag of Sichuan pepper but I've often found that when I cook with them it's difficult to avoid grittiness from the outer kernel. I don't have this problem when I visit Sichuan Chinese ...
11
votes
3answers
58k 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?
11
votes
1answer
9k 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Which parts of star anise to use for grinding?

I want to use star anise and need to grind them using a mortar and pestle. Should I use the whole fruits including both the seeds and the much harder to grind pods too? Do the pods contribute equally ...
10
votes
9answers
57k 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

What type of Paprika

If a recipe calls for "paprika", what type should I use? Does it mean Hungarian, Spanish, California? Also, what type, Hot, Bittersweet, Sweet?
10
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
9
votes
7answers
27k views

Chili and bell pepper substitute due to allergies?

I recently learned that I am allergic to ALL forms of pepper except black pepper. Bell peppers, chili peppers, etc. I am allergic to and it makes my throat swell up. I have several recipes using ...