Spice Basics

Allspice has a pleasantly warm, fragrant aroma. The name reflects the pungent taste, which resembles a peppery compound of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg or mace. Good with: eggplant, most fruit, pumpkins and other squashes, sweet potatoes and other root vegetables. Combines well with: chili, cloves, coriander, garlic, ginger, mace, mustard, pepper, rosemary and thyme.

The aroma and taste of the seeds are sweet, licorice like, warm, and fruity, but Indian anise can have the same fragrant, sweet, licorice notes, with mild peppery undertones. The seeds are more subtly flavored than fennel or star anise. Good with: apples, chestnuts, figs, fish and seafood, nuts, pumpkin and root vegetables. Combines well with: allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, fennel, garlic, nutmeg, pepper and star anise.

Sweet basil has a complex sweet, spicy aroma with notes of clove and anise. The flavor is warming, peppery and clove-like with underlying mint and anise tones. Essential to pesto and pistou. Good with: corn, cream cheese, eggplant, eggs, lemon, mozzarella, cheese, olives, pasta, peas, pizza, potatoes, rice, tomatoes, white beans and zucchini. Combines well with: capers, chives, cilantro, garlic, marjoram, oregano, mint, parsley, rosemary and thyme.

Bay Leaf
Bay has a sweet, balsamic aroma with notes of nutmeg and camphor and a cooling astringency. Fresh leaves are slightly bitter, but the bitterness fades if you keep them for a day or two. Fully dried leaves have a potent flavor and are best when dried only recently. Good with: beef, chestnuts, chicken, citrus fruits, fish, game, lamb, lentils, rice, tomatoes, white beans. Combines well with: allspice, garlic, juniper, marjoram, oregano, parsley, sage, savory and thyme.

Caraway Seed
Caraway has a pungent aroma that, like the flavor, is warm and bittersweet, sharply spicy, with a note of dried orange peel and a slight but lingering hint of anise. Good with: apples, breads, cabbage, duck, goose, noodles, onions, pork, potatoes and other root vegetables, sauerkraut and tomatoes.

The aroma of cardamom is strong but mellow, fruity, and penetrating. The taste is lemony and flowery, with a note of camphor or eucalyptus due to cineol in the essential oil. It is pungent and smoky, with a warm, bittersweet note, yet is also clean and fresh. Good with: apples, oranges, pears, legumes, sweet potatoes, and other root vegetables. Combines well with: caraway, chili, cinnamon, cloves, coffee, coriander, cumin, ginger, paprika, pepper, saffron and yogurt.

The most common ground chili, cayenne is made from small, ripe chili peppers grown worldwide. The flavor is tart, slightly smoky and intensely pungent. Essential to: berbere, chili powder, curry powders and pastes, harissa, jerk seasoning, Kim chi, moles, romesco sauce and sambals. Combines well with: most spices, bay, coriander, coconut milk, lemon and lime juice.

Celery Salt
Celery seed has an aroma and taste that is much more pronounced than that of the parent plant. It is penetrating and spicy, with hints of nutmeg, citrus and parsley and it leaves a somewhat bit ter, burning aftertaste. Good with: cabbage, chicken, cucumber, fish, potatoes, rice, soy sauce, tomatoes and tofu. Combines well with: cilantro, cloves, cumin, ginger, mustard, parsley, pepper and turmeric.

Chervil is sweetly aromatic. The taste is subtle and soothing, with light anise notes and hints of parsley, caraway and pepper. Good with: asparagus, beets, carrots, cream cheese, eggs, fava beans, fennel, fish and seafood, green beans, lettuce, mushrooms, peas, potatoes, poultry, tomatoes and veal. Combines well with: basil, chives, cresses, dill, hyssop, lemon thyme, mint, mustard, parsley, salad burnet and tarragon.

Good with: avocados. Good with: beans. Seeds combine well with: chili. with a hint of camphor. cream cheese. lamb. garlic. Leaves combine well with: basil. Cooking garlic degrades the allicin. cabbage. Cilantro Leaves. Their taste is celery or lovage-like and bitter. cilantro. fennel seed. mild but sustained. lemons and limes. giving it the note of clove. garlic. others hate it and find it soapy and disagreeable. apples. ginger. eggs. chili. cumin. citrus fruit. chocolate. fennel. horseradish. Combines well with: allspice. The disulphate allicin is formed when raw garlic is cut. spinach and zucchini. Leaves good with: beets. Good with: apples. The Cook's Reference by Jill Norman . curry leaves. egg dishes. beets. Some people are addicted to its refreshing. cumin. green garlic is milder. Good with: almost anything savory. parsley. leeks. garlic. corn. mace. mace. Garlic Raw dried garlic is pungent and hot. fennel seed. Combines well with: chervil. and this accounts for the smell that raw garlic leaves on the breath. Fennel seed is less pungent than dill and more astringent than anise. with a persistent pungency. Good with: apples. Combines well with: basil. anise-licorice aroma. The flavor is delicate yet complex. pork. ginger. cloves. paprika. pumpkin and other squashes and sweet potatoes. fenugreek. onions. and warm. The taste is fruity but also sharp. chicken. and lemon. nutmeg. chicken.Chives All parts of chives have a light. mellow and warm with a clear hint of orange peel. it leaves a numbing sensation in the mouth. spicy-sweet with acrid but warm depth. garlic. bread. pork. but forms other disulphates that have fewer odors. rice and tomatoes. pepper and turmeric. root vegetables and zucchini. fenugreek. Coriander Ripe seeds have a sweet. fennel. plums. woody. with a suggestion of pepper. onion. pears. Dill Dill leaves have a clean. coconut milk. lentils. eugenol in the essential oil is mainly responsible for the characteristic taste. Good with: fish curries. Combines well with: cardamom. mustard. legumes. mushrooms. Adapted from Herbs and Spices. cumin. carrots. Combines well with: cardamom. bay. rice. cloves. Fennel The whole plant has a warm. celery root. ginger. The seeds smell like a sweet caraway due to carvone in the essential oil. fennel. onions. Combines well with: allspice. cardamom. garlic. pepper. cucumber. paprika. curry leaves. onions. lentils. paprika and parsley. Sichuan pepper and thyme. roots. coriander. cardamom. mustard seed. duck. rice and root vegetables. mace and nutmeg. ginger. oranges. capers. eggplant. lemon balm. ham. coriander. Seeds good with: cabbage. beets. cinnamon. coriander. fava beans. green and root vegetables. the taste is of anise with a touch of sharpness and lingering warmth. oregano. rice and tomatoes. Combines well with: most herbs and spices. and bitter. cinnamon. with notes of pepper and camphor. cabbage. The taste is similar: pleasantly fresh. fish and seafood. chocolate. sharp. potatoes. thyme and turmeric. anise seed. legumes. and unripe seeds all have the same aroma. coffee. coriander seed. coriander. tamarind and turmeric. The taste is of anise and parsley. fish and seafood. Good with: avocados. potatoes. fish and seafood. smoked salmon. potatoes. hard or pungent cheeses. Fenugreek The aroma of the raw seeds can be identified as the overriding smell of some curry powders. lemony ginger aroma with notes of sage. ginger. potatoes. potatoes. fish. slightly bitter. the taste is sweet. fragrant aroma of anise and lemon. chili. cinnamon. mustard seed and turmeric. bananas. poultry and rice. ham. chervil. cloves. eggplant. cloves. mace and nutmeg. cinnamon. Use sparingly. lamb. dried limes. pork and potatoes. sweet cicely and tarragon. sauerkraut and squash. spicy fragrance with peppery and floral notes. earthy. woody aroma that is delicate yet intense. carrots. rice. Combines well with: allspice. bay. cucumber. fish and seafood. chili. mint. lamb. onion aroma and a spicy. Cloves The aroma of cloves is assertive and warm. cinnamon. cumin. slightly sweet. pumpkin and vinegar. The presence of eugenol in the essential oil distinguishes cinnamon from cassia. The taste is fragrant and warm with hints of clove and citrus. Good with: beans. onion flavor. mint. Cinnamon Cinnamon has a warm agreeably sweet. As in allspice. potatoes. the texture is floury. hot. parsley. cumin. apricots. red cabbage. The flavor is rich. Cumin The smell of cumin is strong and heavy. cucumber. Good with: almonds. nutmeg and tamarind.

Combines well with: bay. sweet potato and veal. chicken. fish and shellfish. five spice powder and pickling spices. cheese and cheese dishes. with a bite and often a lemony note. eggplant. duck. oregano. pepper. Combines well with: basil. chili. carrots. pepper and thyme. yet it finishes with a potent bitterness. strong cheeses. garlic. light heat. chili. tomatoes. rosemary. artichokes. fresh. onion. cabbage. while others have a nose prickling. rose water and saffron. sumac and thyme. brown ones are slightly bitter. Good with: cabbage. Combines well with: cardamom. ginger. beef. cabbage. cinnamon. cinnamon. bay. pungent. mace. garlic. goose. When chewed. onions. lamb. parsley. sumac and thyme. fruitiness or smokiness characterize some paprikas. fish and shellfish. nutmeg. nutmeg. parsley. even in temperate climates. caraway. subtle spiciness. The taste is fiery. cloves. beans. earthy aroma. mushrooms. paprika. mushrooms. bittersweet and unmistakably like gin. celery. saffron. corn. game. Nutmeg smells sweet but is more camphorous and pine-like than mace. squash. coriander. potato. turmeric. pepper. veal and venison. pumpkin pie. savory and thyme. These qualities diminish in colder climates. chicken. potatoes. preserved lemons. duck. curry and masala blends. and has a hint of pine and resin. cauliflower. eggs. spinach. milk dishes. fresh. Marjoram The basic taste is warm. most legumes and vegetables. lamb. eggs. Essential to: berbere. paprika. fish and seafood chowders. pork. artichokes. egg dishes. cardamom. cumin. Combines well with: cardamom. coriander. parsley. sweet peppers. lemony notes. and subtle with some lemony sweetness. sweet peppers. warm aroma.Spice Basics Ginger Whole dried ginger is less aromatic than fresh. The taste of both is warm and highly aromatic. Adapted from Herbs and Spices. beans. cabbage. Good with: beef and veal. honey. sour cream and yogurt. but once bruised or powdered it is warm and peppery with light. marjoram. veal and venison. pork. Good with: apples. cheese dishes. dill. pepper and thyme. the larger white seeds have an initial sickly sweetness. paprika. poultry. corn. slightly sharp and bitter with a note of camphor. spinach. curries. rosemary. cloves. slightly sharp. spinach. Nutmeg Nutmeg and mace have a similar rich. and penetrating. lamb. pepper. ginger. and bitter with a note of camphor. To this marjoram adds a sweet. The taste of mace is warm. Combines well with: bay. woody flavor. lamb. honey. Good with: cabbage. floral character with notes of pepper and clove. garlic. onion. chicken. Combines well with: allspice. Combines well with: basil. When ground it smells pungent. squash. Oregano is robust and peppery. Good with: anchovies. pepper. caramel notes. cinnamon. sweet potato and veal. tarragon and turmeric. parsley. and warm aroma. caraway. thyme. fish and seafood. rosemary. and pork. duck. cabbage. carrots. dals. garlic. chicken. cold meats. sage. ginger. cheese dishes. sage. Flavors vary from sweetly smoky to rounded and full-bodied. cumin. cauliflower. cumin. poultry. chicken. potatoes. then hot and aromatic. paprika. fish and seafood chowders. black seeds have a forceful flavor. cheese and cheese dishes. fenugreek. eggs. Good with: anchovies. delicate. rabbit and sausages. chicken. sweet with a slight burning effect. cumin. Oregano The basic taste is warm. carrots. bittersweet. Good with: roast and grilled beef. coriander. Mace Mace has nutmeg's rich. potato. Mustard Whole mustard seed has virtually no aroma. duck. pork and rice. aromatic. milk dishes. Combines well with: cardamom. cumin. white cheeses. but the smells are stronger and show a lively. garlic. carrots. The taste is clean and refreshing. Juniper Berries The aroma of juniper is pleasantly woody. rosemary. chili. Paprika The aroma of paprika tends to be restrained and delicate. dried fruits. The Cook's Reference by Jill Norman . and cooking releases an acrid. but nutmeg has hints of clove and a deeper. pates and terrines. pumpkin pie. fennel. onions. eggplant. or gently pungent with bitter notes. tomatoes. nuts. cloves. spinach. bay.

onions and tomatoes. oranges. Combines well with: allspice. the aftertaste is woody. rabbit. dried ginger. warm and peppery. mint. The Cook's Reference by Jill Norman . citrus aromas and an agreeably earthy flavor with citrus overtones. raw fish. root vegetables and spinach. oregano. Summer savory has a subtle. eggs. eggs. herbaceous scent and flavor. Turmeric Fresh turmeric is crunchy. anise. almost sweet. nutmeg. fennel. Combines well with: ginger and soy sauce. cumin. Sage Sage can be mild. poultry. lingering heat. Combines well with: basil. paprika and pepper. sumac and tarragon. garlic. thyme. with notes of sage and pine. cumin. or licorice. and wild mushrooms. bay. Winter savory has a more assertive. coriander. The taste is slightly bitter and sour. pepper. the flavor is strong yet subtle. lentils. Good with: eggs. sorrel. sage. bay. Good with: most foods. parsley and salad herbs. burning smell that makes the nose prickle and a bitingly sharp. fish. tomatoes. onions. Long cooking diminishes the aroma but the flavor is not lost. with spicy anise and basil notes and a sweet aftertaste. Pepper Black pepper has a fine fruity. lamb. lemon. tomatoes. and turmeric. moderately pungent. usually available preserved in brine or vinegar. Combines well with: bay. poultry. it is not overpoweringly hot. legumes. lovage. warm and musky. asparagus. pungent fragrance with warm. Good with: beans. curry leaf. cloves. fish and seafood. sweet peppers and tomatoes. It is agreeably piquant. bay. cheese. cardamom. and seafood. The taste is hot and biting with a clean. lemon balm. rice. marjoram. Dried sage is more potent than fresh and can be acrid and musty. coconut milk. chili. cumin. woody and lemony notes. potatoes. eggplant. bay. carrots. tomatoes and most vegetables. Keep fresh green and red pepper berries in the refrigerator. Combines well with: bay. penetrating aftertaste. and has a light. tomatoes and zucchini. earthy. parsley. Flatleaf parsley has a more persistent and finer flavor than curly parsley and a finer texture. rosemary and savory. Combines well with: basil. fruity taste. lovage. basil. with notes of cloves and mint. cilantro. nutmeg. parsley. eggplant. chives. potatoes. Savory Savories have a peppery bite. rosemary. and peppery fragrance when lightly bushed. onions. dried beans. lavender. mustard seeds. beets. paprika. Combines well with: basil. Generally. oregano. woody aroma with floral. rice. lavender. but it has a sharp pungency with a sweetish after note. caraway. and reminiscent of thyme. rich. lime. coriander. Thyme The whole plant has a warm. lentils. Good with: beans. Good with: cabbage. chili. chives. and a mouth-cleansing aftertaste. citrus and ginger notes. Combines well with: basil. veal and winter squashes. eggplant. Good with: apples. savory and thyme. Adapted from Herbs and Spices. cabbage. a hint of camphor. mint. rosemary. marjoram. balsamic and astringent. rice. lemon grass. and balsamic. meat. and an agreeable. cinnamon. legumes. capers. potatoes. The inner core provides a moderate. corn. mint. Both bring out the flavors of other seasonings. rabbit. lavender. poultry. marjoram. clove. eggs. ginger. its taste is tangy and herbaceous. dill. cutting celery. with notes of pine and camphor. Good with: avocado. mint. Good with: apricots. or strongly camphorous with astringent notes and a warm spiciness. Dried wasabi only develops its penetrating aroma and flavor when mixed with water and left to steep for about 10 minutes. eggs. variegated species are milder than common sage. galangal. rosemary and thyme. White pepper is less aromatic and can smell musty. lemon. oregano. ginger. has gingery. leeks. slightly resinous. garlic. garlic. The taste is spicy. Combines well with: chili. Nutmeg and camphor are present in the taste. fish. parsnips. They have a soft outer shell with a delicate. Tarragon The leaves are sweetly aromatic. chervil.Parsley Parsley has a lightly spicy aroma with hints of anise and lemon. parsley. cream cheese. capers. beef. penetrating aroma and flavor. with hints of pine. fresh pungency. savory and thyme. kaffir lime leaves. fish. garlic. musky. oregano. cabbage. Green pepper has light aroma. garlic. or packed in brine or vinegar. potatoes. lamb. Wasabi Wasabi has a fierce. and marjoram. The flavor dissipates after leaves are cut. parsley. Good with: artichokes. lentils. Red or pink peppercorns are fully ripe fruits. peppery note. pork. garlic. Green peppercorns are preserved by freeze-drying or dehydration. mushrooms. resinous and slightly bitter. rabbit. but fresh and cleansing taste. paprika. cloves. parsley. Rosemary Rosemary is strongly aromatic. Dried turmeric has a complex. marjoram. cheese. fish. Flowers have a milder flavor than leaves. chervil. coconut milk. chives.

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