Your Go-To Spice & Flavour Guide January 17, 2019

by Rebecca Down Try January

We asked the HelloFresh chefs to name the top 3 spices for nine of our customers’ favourite cuisines. Here’s what they said.

British

1. Parsley

With its bitter, fresh flavour, parsley is a great herb to counter-balance richer dishes. Whether flat-leaf or curly, sprinkle some torn fresh parsley over roasted meats, chicken, fish or scrambled eggs. Make sure you save the stalks – you can use them to flavour stocks.

2. Rosemary

Rosemary, along with thyme, is a woody herb. Its tough leaves are usually stripped from the stalks and used in dishes with longer cooking times (the stalks are also great for adding flavour to soups and stews, just remember to take them out before serving!). Rosemary is often used with roast meats, as well as roasted veg, on bread like focaccia, and in slow-cooked stews and pies. Try it in our Rosemary Glazed Chicken for a quick and delicious dinner.

3. Thyme

Thyme is a short sturdy bush with long thin branches and tiny perfumed leaves. Like bay and rosemary, it’s a very popular ingredient in stews and stocks. It’s also delicious when roasted with meat or vegetables like squash, leeks or carrots, and is a great addition to slow-cooked stews. Because of its strong flavour, make sure you use thyme sparingly.

Cajun

1. Cayenne Pepper

A little bit goes a long way, and it’s our chefs’ way to add some heat to dishes. They love it in our Sticky Cajun Honey Chicken.

2. Cumin

Toasted, ground, or crushed, cumin brings a freshness and flavor to just about any kind of dish—and it’s great on rubs or veggies.

3. Paprika

For color and sweet peppery chile flavor. It brings out the sweetness in tomatoes and is a good back note for sauces.

Carribean

1. All Spice

Its subtle peppery overtone adds depth to stews, curries and soups. Make jerk chicken using ground allspice, a typical Jamaican dish that reflects the spice’s Caribbean origins. Replicate the flavours in our Caribbean Chilli with Coconut Rice and Sweetcorn Salsa.

2. Garlic

Garlic has a strong, spicy flavour that mellows and sweetens considerably with cooking. While cooking softens the flavour, roasting gives garlic a well-balanced, delicate, nutty flavour.

3. Ginger

Ginger has a warm, spicy taste that is sometimes described as peppery. It is one of the few spices that is used in both sweet and savoury dishes. Different cooking techniques can vary the taste of ginger dramatically. Fresh ginger has a pungent aroma and sharp, spicy flavour; it is used in soups, stir-fries and teas. When used in roasted or slow-cooked dishes, ginger has a more mellow taste and a warm, woody flavour.

French

1. Herbes de Provence

Herbes de Provence is a mixture of dried herbs considered typical of the Provence region of southeast France. The most common blend include savory, rosemary, marjoram, and thyme for a taste that is both sweet and woody, making it a great thing to use with meats, poultry and vegetables. Chef Andre’s French-Style Lentils are the perfect taste of France fo a quick weeknight recipe.

2. Garlic

Garlic has a strong, spicy flavour that mellows and sweetens considerably with cooking. While cooking softens the flavour, roasting gives garlic a well-balanced, delicate, nutty flavour.

3. Nutmeg

For the best flavour, buy the seeds whole and grate just the amount you need using a microplane grater. Nutmeg is a delicious flavour for savoury meat-based dishes, where it subtly enhances and rounds off the flavor. It is delicious in lasagnas and ragus. Nutmeg also pairs very well with winter squash and dark leafy greens.

Greek

1. Lemon

Besides making your mouth water, the acidity of lemons counterbalances heavy flavours and gives food a fresh, clean taste. The zest contains lemon oil, which is where you’ll find the most flavour – we love sprinkling zest over a dish to give it a beautifully zingy finish. Our Greek Ragu is packed with fresh flavour – perfect for a quick and easy dinner!

2. Olive Oil

In Greece, olive oil is used on salads, but the largest use of olive oil is during cooking. While other countries use olive oil raw and mainly for drizzling on salads or bread, Greeks cook with olive oil sautéing, roasting and frying with it giving their food a peppery taste of olives.

3. Oregano

In Greek cooking, oregano is used in tomato sauces, with meats, fish, cheese, and vegetables like tomatoes, courgettes, and green beans. Oregano is an essential ingredient of countless Mediterranean recipes.

Indian

1. Desiccated Coconut

Coconut is used in countless Indian dishes, both savoury and sweet. Typically used in Southern Indian dishes, although the flavour can be found pretty much everywhere in India. In Northern India, people use onions and coriander to enhance the flavour of the food. Try toasting it in a frying pan for a delicious garnish on your next curry.

2. Ginger

Fresh ginger gives delicious, peppery flavour to recipes. If you leave it exposed to room temperature, ginger spoils pretty quickly, so try this trick: Wrap a chunk of peeled ginger root tightly and store it in the freezer; you can grate what you need right into the pot.

3. Cumin

Many Indian curries call for this strong, aromatic spice. You can find it as seeds or toasted and ground. As for its flavour, people often describe it as “warm and earthy” as well as “slightly bitter.” Like most Indian spices, it plays well with others.

Italian

1. Basil

Basil is central to Italian cooking and rightly so – with a sweet, slightly aniseed flavour, basil livens up pasta dishes and salads, forms the base of delicious pesto, and is great combined with eggs and ripe cherry tomatoes. Basil pairs well with ingredients like tomato, mozzarella, garlic, aubergines, artichokes, balsamic vinegar, seafood and even strawberries.

2. Garlic

For a more authentic Italian garlic flavour, use garlic in moderation to add flavour without overpowering a dish.

3. Oregano

Oregano is a soft herb that behaves like a hard one. With its strong flavour, it pairs well with red meats, slow-cooked veg, and pasta dishes. It also features in a huge number of classic Italian recipes and is a mainstay in Italian-American classics like spaghetti and meatballs.

Mexican

1.Chilli

Although different chilli peppers do have their own flavours (some are sweet, some are lemony, some are bitter, etc.) by far any individual flavour is overpowered by a chilli’s “pungency” (spicy heat) caused by the capsaicin. This is what most people consider the “taste” of chilli peppers.

2. Lime

Mexican food is all about limes, not lemons. In fact, they’re the second biggest producers of limes in the world (after India). A squeeze of one of these zesty green fruits will bring the flavours of a Mexican feast to life.

3. Coriander

With a citrussy, light and sweet flavour, coriander is a great herb for garnishing finished dishes. It’s widely used in Latin American and Mexican cooking, from chopping it up into guacamole or fresh salsa, to stirring it through ceviche. When crushed in a pestle and mortar, the stalks have even more flavour than the leaves.

Thai

1. Thai Basil

Widely used throughout Southeast Asia, its flavour, described as liquorice-like and slightly spicy, is more stable under high or extended cooking temperatures than that of sweet basil. Thai basil has small, narrow leaves, purple stems, and pink-purple flowers.

2. Turmeric

This vivid yellow spice gives many Thai dishes their characteristic colour A relative of ginger, the spice is known for its anti-inflammatory properties as well as its valuable work as a flavor and color additive in curries.

3. Chilli

Although different chilli peppers do have their own flavours (some are sweet, some are lemony, some are bitter, etc.) by far any individual flavour is overpowered by a chilli’s “pungency” (spicy heat) caused by the capsaicin. This is what most people consider the “taste” of chilli peppers.

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1 comment

Paul says:

Recipes refer to to a guide for various spices, not being a mind reader, I have not been able to locate it

I have already over spiced 2 meals – as there is no reference to amount to use

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