People have been using herbs and spices in foods since the beginning of time. Herbs and spices enhance the food depending on the way they are used, and food would taste bland without them.
Every country has there own uses and combinations. Some ways of putting certain spices together are family secrets that are not told to people outside the family. Some places in the world have a certain kind of blend they use and usually, each region has its blend, but the same basic recipe for that region.
Everyone has different taste so there are a lot of different blends out there. I have found there are at least 5 different kinds of Curry out there just that I know about and India is not the only country that makes curry. It is made with different spices from different regions all are flavorful, none are the same blend
But how much is too much, and which spice is best with which food, and what about foods from other countries? These are some of the questions I would like to talk about, as we explore cooking with herbs and spices to increase the flavor of food.
How much is too much
When using spices and herbs in cooking you have to first decide if you are going to use fresh or dried herbs. The reason is it makes a difference in the amount used. Fresh herbs are more potent and therefore it takes less than dried ones. You also have to decide whether you are going to use seeds or plants. or a combination of both.
Some people think they can blend herbs and spices without knowing the herbs and spices they are using, what they taste like, how they taste with other spices, or how they taste in the food, therefore, they use too much. I suggest when working with spices to use a little of the spice and increase as you taste it if needed.
The two most overused spices are salt and sugar. I have found most times sugar can be left out completely. Salt needs to be used in moderation because it brings out the flavor of other spices, so I do not leave it out but decrease the amount to the only flavor, not to overpower, this is true of most spices. Cumin is easy to overpower as well. when there is too much of this spice it smells like dirty socks.
How to Blend Spices and Herbs
When blending spices and herbs first you need to decide what flavor you want to achieve. Do you want it to have some heat to the taste or do you want a more sour flavor? Would you like it to be smokey or a little hint of sweet, or all of the above? Start with the spices you are sure you like and then decide on adding maybe one more.
Smell it, you can tell a lot by the way they smell. Smell the spice you think you may want to blend then smell the spices you have already. Does it seem like a spice you would like to have? Then try a little.
Always put spices together in a small bowl before just adding them to food. Mix well and try a tiny taste. Then if you like it add it, but it will be stronger when you taste it than it will be in the food. The reason is the flavor boils out in the steam if you cook with a lid on it will keep the spices from evaporating.
Spice Blends From Around the World
Some certain spices and herbs are known for there flavor in different Countries. These are some of the spices and herbs from around the world that I have found as far as blends Some are from continents and some are from Groups of people that have similar spices.
Where ever you are in the world may have a different version of the same spices. Most spice and herb blends have come to be known in that region of the world because that is what is easy to grow and native to that area.
A blend called Harissa is popular North Africa, in India Tandoori Marsala, the Middle East Baharat is popular and with the Asian countries, Asian 5 spice, in the USA barbeque spice rub, and Canada, has Montreal seasoning, In Europe, I choose Corned beef, and in the Mediterranean, Greek seasoning comes to mind, for Latin I chose the Mexican spice blend. (I also have spices that are wonderful in tea for that post look here)
These are just a few from all the countries, Continents and groups of people around the world just to give you a start at what you can do with a few herbs and spices.
Which Spices and Herbs Goes Best With Which Foods?
Everyone has to determine for themselves what dish they are going to make then that determines what spices go into that dish. I thought I would list a few here there are more and again everyone has different tastes, that being said there are certain spices that go with certain meats better than others and some of these go with any of the meats they are the base for all of them a few of those are:
- Onion Powder
- Garlic Powder
- Black Pepper
Then you have some that go better with the taste of the individual meat here is the way I use them. In addition to the base herbs and spices.
- Chili powder
- Corriander (I get mine here)
- Tumeric (I buy mine here)
- Lemon Pepper
Fish and Seafood
- Lemon Pepper
- Lime zest
- Chili powder
Herb and Spice Challenge
I challenge you to go and create your spice blend try out all the different seasonings and make one of your own out of your favorite herbs and spices. I wanted to show you all the different options you have to create your own. I wanted to give you the chance to enhance your food with some herbs and spices from around the world. and help you create by showing you that certain spice tastes better with certain meats. Now I would love for you to go, and have fun creating your spice blends, for any dish you would like to create. Enjoy!
What is your favorite spice blend? I would love to see your comments. Just leave them below.
For wisdom is better than rubies, and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.
Proverbs 8:11 KJV2000