- Published: 10/11/2017 3:08:09 PM
Whether you’re someone who enjoys making masterpieces in the kitchen or you’re someone who prefers to keep things simple, we all get into what are called “food ruts”. Sure, we enjoy and go back to the same recipes time and again but at some point that favourite dish, eaten too often, will evoke more a feeling of blah than one of bliss. Dressing up your weekly rotation with an ethnic dish is an interesting way to explore spices and try your taste buds on more interesting fare.
Some cultures are masters at using a combination of herbs or spices to dress up a dish. Probably one of the first that comes to mind is Mexican food. It’s one of the more commonly explored cultural foods that many of us has at least delved into, but maybe haven’t tried at home for ourselves. Adding some Mexican spices to your cabinet isn’t hard, and it’s not difficult to learn how to properly use them. Thai and Indian probably run a close second and third, with Greek being another popular contender.
Here are some great suggestions in how to add a little spice to your food without overwhelming your senses or your budget. Explore the world of recipes and file the ones your family loves for future use.
What? Too basic? Wrong! Salt comes in a wide variety of both flavours, uses and even colours! Check out some of the fancier salts on the market to see how you can bring out more flavour from your ingredients. You can opt for pink salt, black salt, grey salt, and even try your hand at dishes with truffle salt. Attempt to use a variety of grinds too – from finely ground all the way to dashes of coarser ground salt.
When it comes to pepper, fresher is better. Instead of buying pre-ground, get yourself a grinder and buy whole peppercorns to grind yourself at home. In this way you can explore the world of pepper, which also offers a variety of flavours, colours and uses.
If you find shopping for spices intimidating, look for pre mixed spices to use in the dishes you’re whipping up. If a recipe calls for “Herbs de Provence” you won’t have to wrack your brain trying to figure out what each one is. Most stores will sell the blend under exactly the same name. It’s also easy to find spice blends like “Italian seasoning” and “Greek seasoning”. Start with the basics and work your way up.
In order to get the most from your spices, try “blooming” them first, which is simply a process of heating them in a pan with some warmed oil. This can bring about a different, more intense flavour from your spice blends.
What cultural food do you love the most? It helps to learn from those who’ve been cooking these types of foods for years, so ask your friends if their relatives have time to teach. In this way you learn some tips and tricks that a recipe may not supply you with, and take some notes as to which spices you most want to incorporate.