Spice

Spice

By
From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

The word covers a wide variety of aromatic and pungent seasonings used to flavour savoury and sweet dishes. There are hot spices, sweet spices and spicy-sweet spices. They are not gathered from any one part of a plant or tree but from whichever part is most aromatic and most pungent: for example, cinnamon bark is exactly that, and vanilla beans are the pods of a type of orchid. Seeds, buds, berries, roots and pods all provide spices with which we are familiar.

The addition of spices to vinegars for use in salad dressings, to fresh or dried fruits, or to creams and custards, gives a subtle aroma and flavour to simple dishes. Delicious home-made preserves, such as pickled onions or eggs, use pickling spices to flavour the preserving vinegar.

Characteristic spices impart vastly different flavours and aromas to the foods of Asia, China and the Middle East, yet they are indispensable, too, when used in baking our homely cakes, breads and biscuits.

Spices lose their value as a flavouring agent if they are stale, so purchase in very small quantities and store away from the light in small airtight containers. Use all spices as soon as possible after purchase.

Pickling spice: Usually made from mustard seeds, bay leaf, allspice, cinnamon stick, coriander seeds and black peppercorns. Sometimes fresh ginger, chilli and mace are added. The proportions vary in different recipes but excellent mixtures of pickling spice can be bought, ready-packaged for use, by spice companies.

Middle East spice mix (baharat): This is the ground spice mix used in the Gulf States and generally throughout the Middle East. It may be made up and used to flavour meatballs and kebabs, and many Middle Eastern sauces, soups, curries and seafood dishes.

Za’atar: A dry spice mix with walnuts from Iraq, used as a dip for bread previously dipped in olive oil. Use it to sprinkle over meat, chicken or vegetable dishes. Sumac, used to make za’atar, is a souring agent often used in the Middle East. Lemon juice or grated lemon zest may be used instead.

See also individual names of spices; Garam Masala; Onion: Spiced Pickled Onions.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

Tags:
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again