Spices in Cooking

February 22, 2009  •  Technique

I apologize for my absence from the blog for the past few days – my parents were staying with me and I was busy with helping them with a few things, none of which involved cooking I’m sorry to say! I’ll use this break in cooking as an opportunity to share with you some information about stocking your pantry with spices. That cool photo to the left is just one of three sections of spices in a friend’s pantry. The family is from India, they cook authentic Indian food, and, true to form, the spices she keeps on hand are amazing. I’m trying to negotiate a cooking lesson with her so stay tuned on that. In the meantime, I’ve assembled this spice list that might help you stock your own pantry.

Spices are a fabulous way to add flavor and make food interesting without adding calories, so don’t be shy trying things out. Here’s a basic list of what to keep on hand:

Coarse ground
Sea salt
Black pepper
White pepper
Cayenne pepper
Red pepper flakes
Nutmeg (whole)
Ginger powder
Chili powder
Cumin (ground)
Cumin (seeds)
Turmeric (ground)
Curry powder
Dry mustard
Mustard seed
Paprika (sweet and smoky)
Dill seed
Celery seed
Fennel seed
Sesame seeds
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Grill seasoning
Old Bay seasoning

If you want to play around with other cuisines of the world, add specialty spices like garam masala, Chinese five spice, and more. Notice that I didn’t include any dried herbs in this list, only spices? I’m a firm believer in using fresh herbs!

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