Last Updated on February 17, 2021 by Novotaste
As we are all getting through the end of winter, this time, for many of us, is the toughest to push through. Cold nights and low sunshine affect us more than we think, so it’s also a great time of year to try something new. It adds some excitement to your life, revs you up for the coming weeks of more sunshine to look forward to and, in general, adds to improving your mood. So, what better time than now to time to try out new food and flavors!
Warming yourself up with spice from the inside out has many health benefits. This is normally enough for most people to give it a try. Knowing that the simple task of adding flavor to your food can make you feel better is an exciting culinary leap to cook into. Studies show that increasing spice in your diet leads to cancer presentation, fewer mood swings, better heart health, helps with weight loss and increases your metabolism, while overall, it can affect your life span. There are thousands of studies available for reading, yet as a chef, if it makes my meal taste better, I am in!
Now I’m not talking about adding your favorite hot sauce to everything. I am encouraging you to try new flavors and spices in dishes you have never cooked before. Between the local library, the internet, your own cookbook collection or your favorite celebrity chef, new recipes are waiting for you to devour. We are lucky to have our local grocers and boutique food shops stocking many unique flavors for you to add to your pantry.
Some delicious suggestions to try new flavors include; Green Cardamon – Once ground, add a sprinkle into your morning latte, add to an apple pie, flavor it in your favorite rice pudding recipe.
Saffron – A rather unique flavor that is known as the most expensive spice in the world! A personal favorite is in seafood stew or risotto.
Sumac – This lemon-flavored spice works well in hummus and is appealing on roasted root vegetables.
Juniper Berries – A great additional to brines and marinades for game or vegetables. It has a slight tang to it that works well with rich foods.
Nigella Seeds – Also known as black cumin, this spice adds an onion flavor to your dish. It’s even better when it’s roasted!
Kaffir Lime Leaf – Add to your homemade lemonade, toss it into your favorite stir-fry or add to anything that asks for lime as an ingredient. These also freeze well and can be then used as needed as you only need a couple of leaves to get the punch of flavor!
Fenugreek – This unique Middle Eastern spice tastes like burnt sugar. It adds depth to chutneys, curries and stews while having a host of health benefits.
Ghost Chili Powder – Easy does it on this one! As one of the hotter chilis, this spice gives heat and loads of flavor. Use sparingly on recipes that call for chili spice when you want more heat.
Black Cardamon – This smoky, earthy, ginger-flavoured spice has a stronger flavor than the green. Best used in curries and dressings.
Harissa Paste – A delicious North African spice blend that includes peppers, rose petals and olive oil. Smear on anything you love for a kick of rich heat.
Za’atar – Oregano, thyme, sumac, toasted sesame seeds and salt give this Mediterranean/ Middle Eastern spice blend its’ diverse taste that is traditionally served with pita bread and thick, tangy yogurt called labneh.