Spices can help make even the most tasteless dish more palatable. It’s especially true of healthy food, which often lacks salt. Spice blends are designed to make it easier for you to add flavor to dishes, as you do not have to mix them. What blends are among the most interesting ones and can be useful in any household? Let’s find it out.
Image Credit: shutterstock.com / Julian Rovagnati
Broccoli, wholegrain pasta, legumes, and a lot of other constituents of almost any healthy diet are packed with nutrients, but not all of them have a distinct flavor that can be enough to make a dish made from it delicious. Spices can be used to enhance the quality of healthy dishes if you want to refrain from using salt. Besides, many spices are beneficial to health.
If you are not an experienced cook who knows the spice world inside out, spice blends are just what you need to season meals effortlessly. You can make your own blends, and it’s really not difficult, but the result may turn out to be not that impressive, and using spices that have become an integral part of a particular cuisine can be more than tasty – it is interesting. Fancy a spice blend used thousands of years ago?
Here are the blends that can be purchased without risking buying something that will end up gathering dust in your cabinet.
Although the name of the blend reminds of science fiction (it sounds like some native people of a distant planet), it is of Arabic origin and very popular in Middle Eastern countries. The blend, which a number of brands offer, can be obtained at health food stores, stores offering boutique grocery, or just from Arabs.
Za’atar consists of sumac, sesame seeds, and thyme. A staple among Arabs since the Middle Ages, it is very popular nowadays and usually used to season meat. However, you can enhance the flavor of other foods and consume za’atar as part of a flatbread, vegetable fries or other dishes. Take a look at this list of za’atar dishes compiled by TheKitchn!
Chinese five spice
Comprised of fennel, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, and Szechuan peppercorns, this blend is warm and rich in flavor. Its range of uses is not limited to different varieties of meat and poultry: even an apple pie can be enhanced using a pinch of this Asian blend. Its name contains a hint about where to buy it: any Asian store will do (though, actually, an average American store has quite a lot of spice blends, and you are likely to find this Chinese masterpiece at almost any grocery store).
Our culinary journey is taking us to another country, and this time it is India. A typical garam masala blend includes cinnamon (which is sometimes substituted with cassia bark), cloves, cumin, coriander, bay leaf, cardamom, and peppercorns of various kinds. This one is more sophisticated than previous blends–not only in terms of flavor, but in terms of how difficult it is to make it–and it could be a good idea to buy garam masala, especially if you want to cook an Indian dish. As to how you can use it, here is a page to help you find something to your liking.
National spice blends have a lot to offer, and the list of blends that are particularly interesting and easy to use in many dishes can be continued: there are Provence herbs, curry powder, and a lot of other spices, which can be used separately to emphasize a single flavor.
Spice Up Your Cooking With Za’atar: 9 Recipes to Make Now – Thekitchn.com
30 Delicious Ways to Enjoy Garam Masala – Wisebread.com