Knowing how to use spices can greatly enhance the flavor of all your dishes. Our 3 useful infographics below break it all down in such a simple way.
We are diving into the exciting world of spices in Week 2 of our How to Maximize Flavor Cook Smarts 101 series.
What makes spices so exciting? Let’s use the analogy of an artist. You as the cook are the artist and spices are your paints – they can bring a blank canvas (or dish) to life!
Spices allow you to be creative and adventurous with your cooking and best of all, they prevent you from eating another bland meal.
Spices serve several purposes in cooking and can be used to:
- Add Flavor and Aroma. Spices can transform a meal by adding a range of flavors, from a hint of sweetness to a kick of heat. They also give beautiful aromas that are often our first determining factor for whether we want to eat a meal or not.
- Enhance taste of food. We always think of salt as our go-to when a meal tastes too bland, but there are other spices, like cumin, that bring out the natural flavors of food.
- Change or enhance color. If you’ve ever eaten at an Indian restaurant you may have noticed that many of the dishes have a deep yellow, orange or red color. That’s because the spices used in typical Indian cooking, such as turmeric and paprika, give color to the foods making them more bright and appealing.
Seasoning with spices can be intimidating if you’re not familiar with it but – like painting – with the right tools and practice, you’ll be cooking up a masterpiece in no time.
We created our Guide to Flavoring with Spices Infographic to show you some of the most common spices that are hiding in your cupboard and how to use them. This chart below gives you an idea of the flavor each spice will add to your meal, what spices go well together, and what foods to add them to.
Along with standalone spices, there are also a variety of spice blends that combine complementary spices to create a whole new flavor.
While you can recreate each of these spice blends on your own, sometimes it’s nice to have the masters make some mixes for you. We recommend picking 2 or 3 depending on your favorite ethnic cuisines.
Many ethnic cuisines are distinguished by the spices used in preparing them.
If you’re trying to make a Mexican dish, try using the spices found in the “Mexican” section of the infographic below to create those traditional Mexican food flavors you love. If you’re following a recipe for an ethnic dish and the result is too bland, try adding in more of the spices in the respective section to achieve your desired taste.
We hope using these resources gives you the confidence to be adventurous with spices and elevate your cooking to a whole other level. Remember, becoming a culinary artist takes practice, so don’t be afraid to experiment, trust your taste buds and get cooking!
If you’d like to get this infographic professionally printed to hang on your wall or fridge, check out our Shop, where a portion of our merchandise profits are set aside to support food education.
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Week 1: Our 3 Simplest Flavoring Secrets
Week 2: Spice Up Your Cooking with Our Spice Charts (that’s this week!)
Week 3: A Study of Flavor Profiles
Week 4: 5 Sauces You Can Use on Everything
Week 5: Keep it Fresh with Herbs
Week 6: Using Aromatics to Add Depth
Week 7: Surprise Giveaway!