Unlocking Flavours: A Guide to Cooking with Spices

Spices play a crucial role in creating diverse and delicious meals – but not if they are stored, cooked and used incorrectly! 

Here are our tips to master the art of cooking with spices:

Storage

  • Store spices in a cool, dark place in airtight containers away from direct heat to maintain their freshness and flavour.
  • Avoid exposing spice jars to hot steamy meals, as condensation can spoil the spices.

Expiry date

  • Check the expiry date of spices, as older ones can lose flavour and colour even if they aren’t visibly mouldy.

Cooking techniques

  • Toasting spices dry or blooming them in oil enhances their flavour profile. The “blooming” technique infuses spice flavours into the cooking oil, which then flavours the entire dish.

Stirring and heat

  • Stir spices frequently while cooking to prevent burning.
  • Be cautious of high heat, as overheated spices can turn bitter and spoil the dish. 
  • Adding spices after softening onions helps to prevent burning.

Make your own spice mixes

  • Creating your own spice mixes can save money, avoid additives, and enhance taste.

Common spice combinations:

  • Indian inspired: Turmeric, cumin, coriander, chilli, curry powder, garam masala.
  • Mexican inspired: Paprika, oregano, cumin, coriander, chilli.
  • Middle Eastern inspired: Cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, sumac.

Dishes inspired by different cuisines

You can be confident that when you have a pantry stocked with basic spices, you can cook meals inspired by cuisines from around the world, adding variety to your dishes. After all, variety is the spice of life.

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