Herbs and spices, part II.
Last week I wrote about using and combining the most common herbs.
This week I’ll try to do the same for the most common spices.
Herbs are leaves, either fresh or dried.
Spices are the rest of the plant: seeds, stems, roots, bark, buds, berries; and are most often dried.
Spices are very often used in cuisine-specific blends such as curry powder (Indian), harissa (North African) or chili powder (Mexican).
You can buy blends or make your own.
Here is some starting information on what spices work together:
Allspice: Complements root vegetables, tomato-based sauces, roast meats, shellfish, pickles, cakes, pies. Used in sweet spice blends, curry powders, meat seasonings, tagine blends, jerk seasoning.
Caraway: Complements cheeses, pork, vegetables (cabbage, potatoes). Used in garam masala, sausage seasoning, tandoori spice blends.
Cardamom, green: Complements pastries, sweet dishes, cakes, breads, rices, curries. Used in curry powder, garam masala, tagine spice blends, ras el hanout.
Celery Seed: Complements vegetable juices, seafood, eggs, salad dressings, cheeses, poultry. Used in seasoning blends for roast meats.
Chili: Complements Mexican sauces, Asian stir-fries, curries, almost everything else. Used in curry powder, taco seasonings, pickling spices, chili powder, all-purpose seasoning blends.
Cinnamon and Cassia: Complements cakes, sweet baked goods, stewed fruits and puddings, curries, Moroccan tagines. Used in curry powder, sweet spice blends, ras el hanout, garam masala, Cajun spice blends, barbecue spices.
Cloves: Complements cakes, sweet baked goods, stewed fruits and puddings, curries, Moroccan tagines. Used in curry powder, sweet spice blends, ras el hanout, garam masala, tagine spice blends, Chinese five-spice.
Coriander (seeds): Complements curries, cakes and breads, fruit pies, chicken, seafood. Used in curry powder, sweet spice blends, ras el hanout, tagine spice blends, harissa paste.
Cumin: Complements Indian curries, Asian red curries, chicken, seafood, rice, vegetable dishes, bread, Mexican sauces. Used in barbecue spices, curry powders, harissa paste, chili powder, ras el hanout, berbere.
Fennel (seeds): Complements breads, sausages, Malay curries, pasta, tomato sauces, satay dishes. Used in curry powder, Chinese five-spice, Cajun spice blends, ras le hanout.
Galangal: Complements Thai soups, Asian curries and stir-fries, seafood dishes, sambal paste. Used in red and green curry blends, redang curry powder, ras le hanout.
Ginger: Complements cakes, sweet baked goods, all curries, Asian stir-fries, red meats, seafood. Used in barbecue seasoning blends, red and green curry blends, jerk seasoning, curry powders, tandoori seasoning, ras el hanout, sweet spice blends.
Mustard (seeds, powder): Complements pickles, Indian curries, salad dressings, curry powders, meat seasonings, pickling spices.
Nutmeg and Mace: Complements winter squashes, potatoes, meat terrines, cheese sauces, milk and rice puddings, sweet baked goods. Used in sweet spice blends, some curry powders.
Paprika: Complements roast meats and poultry, stews, hearty soups, legumes, egg dishes, sauces, tomato sauces. Used in tandoori spice blends, barbecue seasonings, Cajun spices, curry powders, chili powder, ras el hanout, tagine spice blends.
Pepper, black, white, red, green. Needs it’s own chapter – one of them will complement just about everything and one of them is used in almost any savory or hot spice blend.
Salt: see pepper.
Turmeric: Complements curries, Moroccan tagines, stir-fried chicken, seafood, pickles, rice dishes. Used in curry powders, ras el hanout, tandoori spice blends.
Next week more on spice blends…
I made a slow-cooked leg of lamb last weekend, loosely based on a recipe from my Moroccan cook book.
It was absolutely the best lamb I have ever eaten….
It was melt in your mouth tender, flavorful, slightly spicy….
Mon mari, who is rather demanding about his lamb, agreed.
2lb leg of lamb
2 tbs soft butter
2 tbs olive oil
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp rosemary
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 medium potatoes
Make a paste of the butter, oil, cumin, paprika, rosemary and garlic. With a sharp knife make slits all over the lamb. Spread the paste on the lamb, covering it as best you can.
Roast for 10 minutes at 425F (220C).
Reduce temperature to 315F (160C) and roast for 3 hours, basting with pan juices every 30 minutes.
45 minutes before lamb is set to be done cut potatoes into large chunks and add to roasting pan.
I know I should have taken more photos, after it was sliced, but we were both so busy pulling off bits and exclaiming over how wonderful it was that….
And all the crusty bits in the bottom of the pan?
Me and a spoon!