herbs and spices to enhance food
Herbs

Cooking with Herbs and Spices to Increase the Flavor of Food

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.Cooking with herbs and spices to increase the flavor of food

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
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • 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.

BeefCooking with Herbs and spices to increase the flavor of food..

  • Chili powder
  • Corriander (I get mine here)
  • Parsley
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Cinnamon

Poultry

  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Tumeric (I buy mine here)
  • Lemon Pepper
  • Parsley

Fish and Seafood

  • Lemon Pepper
  • Cayenne
  • Lime zest
  • Chili powder

Lamb

  • Mint
  • Dill
  • Oregano
  • Basil

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

Blessings,

Lynda

28 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing ¨Cooking with Herbs and Spices to Increase the Flavor of Food¨ My current favorite (next to bird´s eye chili) is oregano.

    I wanted the ingredient that gave the lamb and chicken that West Asian flavor without being so spicy like say Indian cuisine (which I´m into right now).So, I searched for a copycat recipe

    It turns out that while cumin, one of the key spices that make West Asian food taste like how they are, was present in the lamb recipe, the chicken did not have it. Instead, the chicken had this one common ingredient: oregano.

    It was the spice I was looking for. Even without cumin, oregano imparts this dimension onto the meat and gives it this light and refreshing flavor. Prior to this revelation, all I´d use oregano for was pomodoro sauce and homemade cough remedy!

    Now, I put oregano on almost anything that has meat- from steak to grilled chicken.

    1. Hi, Thanks for stopping by!! I know about finding that one spice that is just wonderful mine is turmeric. I love it in almost everything.

      Blessings ,

      Lynda

  2. Spices and herbs cooked together increases the food flavor and no doubt nourishes the body. I like taking both as they are beneficial to health. The only time I don’t get to eat them is when I travel out of town which I have to make do with junks. But I enjoy myself when am back home. I saw fish and seafood in your post, combination of lemon pepper, cayenne lime zest, chili powder would be tasty and nutritious. I am gonna try that. Good job and best regards. 

  3. Dear Lynda,

    Thanks a lot for the interesting and insightful article.

    Indeed, some keep it secret and wont share there ingredients or combination and the amount they blend it with. Even my mom often use to say that my grandma didn’t shared her cooking techniques with my mom (her own daughter lol). When my grandma was on her bed and when she is not able to cook at that point only she shared everything to my mom.

    Since I am from India, here curry is very famous and in the southern part of India itself the taste vary from place to place.

    Thanks a lot for the different options and more or less you covered all the best combinations. I need to try few of your combinations.

    Great information, you have really given a lot of value here.

    Much Success!

    Paul

  4. Wow ! This is fantastic. As a woman that loves to cook I have always though of have a recipe for the perfect combination of herbs and spices for flavouring of different categories of food. The other day we organised a home coming, it was almost a failure when we couldn’t get the right flavour for the tuna my husband brought home ( maybe because we wanted a home made spice/flavour combinations). With this recipe I can be rest assured of bringing out the natural flavour of my cuisines.

  5. That was a very interesting article on cooking with herbs and spices. The Tandoori way definitely is the one I really favor and I am lucky enough to be not too far from some of these restaurants. Do you happen to know what the spices and herbs in this flavor are? I agree that it all comes down to personal taste and that is why I like your suggestion to us to test ourselves with various spices. You also talked about overuse of salt and sugar. As I live in Thailand, I can fully testify to that, especially sugar, which is why there is a tendency here in increasing obesity. Three times white rice per day is also not advisable. You have given me the great idea of experimenting myself and that is exactly what I am going to do.

    1. Hi Jerry!! The spices I like for Tandoori is paprika, turmeric, garlic powder, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, ginger, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, and cardamom. But that is just my choice there are many different ways of making this as well. I am glad that you are going to experiment it really is a matter of taste.

      Blessing,

      Lynda

  6. Hi Lynda

    Great article! Enjoyed reading it throughly. I belong to India and yes, we love spices here. Our cuisine is incomplete without 3-4 spices in each dish. I would love to read more content like this which focuses on spices and cuisine of Mexico. The place has always intrigued me and I find few similarities in the food of Mexico and India. 

    You can also put up some recipes of spicy food from various nations. 

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi and thanks for the kind comments.Funny you should mention the food from other places. I just started a series of post on food from around the world. You can check it out on the website. I have started with Medetrerriean but it will eventually cover all over the world. Hope to see you come back and check it out.

      Blessings,

      Lynda

  7. I grew up with my family using a lot of spices for cooking that even at this point in my life after traveling around the world and trying so many dishes, I find it impossible to eat bland food and that is food without spices and/or herbs. The way that the right or suitable herbs and spice increase the flavor of different foods is what makes each cultures food rich. And some of these herbs and spice contain a lot of health benefits. We all should really try to incorporate them into our cookings.

    1. Hi and thanks for stopping by!! I am glad you liked the post! I agree the food is bland without herbs and spices and they are very beneficial!

      Blessings,

      Lynda

  8. Hello Lynda,

    It is always important to add spices and herbs to enhance the taste of our cooking. I also noticed that fresh spice is way more potent than dried one.

    I always try out new spices in a very small quantity, if it turns out well, then I can use it for the family. I like the idea of mixing spices in a bowl, and trying out it’s taste before cooking with it. Makes a lot of sense, I would start trying this out.

    Thanks, regards

  9. Hi Lynda,

    Really amazing writing about herbs and spices! The knowledge of your herbs and spices are really appreciated. In this sector, my knowledge is very small. In my experience, some spices like ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin, and green tea are very helpful for the body and medicinal properties. But you have mentioned a lot of spices and uses are very helpful. And also informed about the quality. Thank you.

  10. Hi; I enjoy reading your post — discussion about the topic. Spices and herbs are essentials that help to enhance the flavor of many foods. Other from that some of these spices and herbs have their value that proves beneficial health-wise.

      It would be much surprised to some of us if we should find research result on some of these herbs and spices. Are you saying that Curry is a combination of some spices?

    DorcasW

    1. Thanks for stopping by!

      I agree that these herbs are very beneficial healthwise. 

      To answer your question yes curry is a combination of spices, but it is also known around the world and in slightly different combinations I know of five other countries or continents that also use curry. 

      They are Thailand, India, Africa, and Malaysia. But there are a bunch of different combinations even within one country or continent, it is one of those things that is similar to a family recipe. These are not all the countries either.

       It all depends on what meal you are cooking as to what kind of curry you would want to use. I urge you to explore and experiment. You might find a recipe you love mad your way.

      Blessings,

      Lynda

  11. There are some really good nuggets of wisdom in this article, so thank you for writing it. Food is always better when properly seasoned. You’ll enjoy cooking a lot more once you’ve mastered the herb and spice basics. The food will taste better, smell better, and impress your friends/family. Rosemary is low maintenance to grow in gardens. Once it gets established you will have a hard time stopping it.
    Serious about poultry meats get some Rosemary Mint. Thyme and a bay tree in your garden. These are pretty low maintenance and pretty hardy. The rest need a bit of attention.
    And I can say it they worth it price, even it’s benefits outweigh it price, it worth trying actually. And these are great lists to go with.

    1. Thanks for the kind comments!

      I also love fresh herbs and growing them is the best way to have them fresh on hand. I also agree that rosemary and thyme are the easiest herbs to grow. Cilantro is another good herb that is low maintenance and makes food taste so good. I am glad you love fresh herbs that are so healthy for you. So much better than dried ones.

      Blessings,

      Lynda

  12. Thanks for this article on cooking with herbs and spices.in the past I use to cook my food  without spices and herbs simply because I don’t know it is all about it flavor until I visit my girlfriend parent house and see the beauty of cooking with herbs and spices. Since then I have been trying as much as possible to learn how to blend my cookings.i really find this article helpful 

    1. Thanks for stopping by! 

      Yes, it is amazing what a little spice can do for the food. I am glad you found this helpful. Maybe you can cook her up a nice meal using some of the spices you create.

      BLessings, 

      Lynda

  13. Spicing of food is what gives the food a taste and also flavor. Your article is really worth reading as I love the way you listed all of those essential ingredients required to spice up food. You mentioned an ingredient called paprika, I would love to know more about this ingredient and where  it could be found in bountiful proportions. Thanks so much for this educative post. Hope to get a response from you

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comments! 

      In answer to your question there are actually three kinds of paprika there is a sweet kind from Hungary, it is the kind used most often to sprinkle on dishes to give them a sweet pepper taste.

       And then there is the smoky paprika it is native to Spain,it gives a smokey pepper taste to it’s food with a bit of heat. Then there is the hot paprika from hungary it is spicy and gives another level of flavor profile. I hope this helps you.

      Blessings,

      Lynda

  14. Hi Lynda……I really enjoyed your article on spices. I’m an avid cook so I am aware of much of what you covered, but learning about some combinations of spices you recommended was very interesting. I’m gonna have to experiment with some as you suggested. Thanks for sharing.

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