Fenugreek complements - curries, pickles, chutneys. Fenugreek is the
seed of an annual herb belonging to the pea and bean family. It is
grown in warm climates such as the Mediterranean, Morocco, France and
India. Fenugreek’s strong, pungent, aroma has a bitter ‘curry-like’
flavour which often dominates curry powders.
Curry powders and Indian spice mixes for chutneys and pickles include ground Fenugreek.
Galangal is used largely in Asian cooking especially in curries and
soups. It has a peppery bite and a pungent spiciness. Fresh galangal is
either pounded with a mortar and pestle or sliced.
Ginger started as used in savoury dishes but is essential in baking, puddings, wines and cordials.
Ginger, like turmeric and galangal is a rhizone - the tuberous root
of a flowering plant which probably originated in India or tropical
Asia. It has been consumed in the far east for thousands of years and
was one of the first spices introduced to the Mediterranean
Kaffir lime leaves
Kaffir lime leaves are valued for their floral citrus aroma and used
in Thai cooking. The trees grow well in warmer areas of NZ. The leaves
are dark green and glossy and have a double shape, almost looking like
two leaves end to end.
Added to many South East Asian recipes particularly hot and sour
soups. It is used like a bay leaf, as in added to a liquid to impart
its citrus flavour and then removed before serving.
It is a member of the sugar cane family. Lemon grass grows well in
warm climates but if grown in a pot can be moved indoors over winter
Nutmeg and Mace complement - beef, seafood, veal, vegetables,
potatoes, tomato and white sauce, quiches, stewed fruit, biscuits,
cakes, milk puddings, spinach pastries (spanakopita) and moussaka.
Nutmeg and mace come from the same evergreen tree, native to the
Moluccas or Spice Islands of Indonesia. Nutmeg is the seed of a
tropical tree and mace is the orange outer casing of the nutmeg. Their
flavour is aromatic, sweet, warm and rich, with nutmeg having the more
robust flavour of the two.
Nutmeg and Mace add a sweetness and warmth to both sweet and savoury
dishes. Mace has a more delicate flavour for lighter dishes.
Paprika complements - pork, chicken, veal, vegetables, potatoes, cheese and egg dishes.
Paprika is a deep red, slightly earthy flavoured spice made from the
dried and ground sweet pepper which is a member of the Capsicum family.
Hungary and Spain are major suppliers of paprika.
Paprika is the national spice of Hungary and a typical goulash makes
an excellent warming winter stew. Paprika also goes well in chicken
Paprika should have a bright red colour and a mild, sweet, earthy
aroma. Pungency can vary according to the type. Varieties include
sweet, hot and smoked.
Vine pepper produces strings of peppercorns which are picked green
and then dried in the sun to become black. Berries which are left to
ripen become red and from these we get white peppercorns as the ripe
berries are soaked and then dried to remove the outer husk. A Chinese
tree produces Szechwan peppercorns which are very hot. Black
peppercorns are very aromatic but not as sharp as white ones.
Saffron is generally used with milk, fish, rice, poultry and baking.
Saffron is one of the world’s most precious spice, it is hand picked
from a variety of crocus grown primarily in Spain, Turkey, Iran and
Greece. Around 450,000 stamens are picked by hand to produce 1kg of
saffron - hence the price.
Saffron is used for cooking in Spain, India, Middle East and Morocco.
Saffron contributes colour and also an indescribable bitter sweet flavour.
When using saffron it is best to first crush it and then immerse it
into a warm liquid to steep for at least 10 minutes before being added
to recipe. It then needs to be “heat activated” to release its impact.
Star Anise is widely used in Asian cooking. It is shaped like a star
with five or six pointed petals. It has a robust liquorice aroma and
one or two whole star anise are enough to flavour a dish. The trick is
to use it to scent a dish - a little goes a long way.
Star Anise is great with slow cooked beef and pork and also in stocks for soups.
Sumac is pretty much unknown outside the Middle East. It has a
lemony flavour and is dark red in colour. Sumac is usually purchased as
a coarse powder and is used as a tangy seasoning for sprinkling over
kebabs and in marinades for meat, fish and poultry.
For Spice Index T- Z click here