- Feb 01, 2022
- by Neil Chotai
For many years, herbs and spices have been used in cooking as a simple way to add flavour to any type of cuisine. No matter what you are cooking, spices are one of the most important elements to your pantry as it gives you the freedom to experiment with different flavours and dishes. You can cook two very similar dishes, but the spices you choose to add to each one can really transform the end results!
With so many ground spices now available, it can be quite overwhelming to decide on what to buy, especially if you are new to cooking and are looking for a basic set of spices that are versatile and can be used in a variety of different dishes.
The good news is that you don’t really need that many spices to get started. As you can get more comfortable with cooking you can build your collection and explore the different spices available.
While the perfect spice drawer will be unique to individual tastes and preferences, we’ve put together our top 5 essential ground spices to help you get started.
1. Ground Cumin
Available in the form of seeds or ground powder, Cumin is an earthy and slightly bitter tasting spice that is used in most Indian, Middle Eastern and Latin American dishes. It’s one of the world’s second most popular spices and is great for adding a unique enticing flavour to the meals.
Types of cuisines it can be used in
-Indian e.g Currys, lentils
-Mexican e.g Chili, tacos
2. Paprika Powder
Paprika is a spice that is made from a particular dried red pepper. Although the look and color of the paprika powder is very similar to chili powder, the taste and smell of it is much sweeter and milder. Unlike chill powder, the main purpose of paprika is to add flavor and color to a dish.
Types of cuisines it can be used in:-Spanish e.g Paella
3. Ground Cinnamon
Did you know that most cinnamon powder that is sold is not actually made from cinnamon bark? It’s usually made from the ground bark of a cassia tree. When grounded the colour is identical, however, they each have a distinct flavour and smell, cassia cinnamon being much weaker and milder in taste.
Although cinnamon is usually known as being an ingredient in baking, it’s also very useful in savoury cooking.
The origin of the cinnamon can dictate the flavour and the intensity. If you are looking for a gentle but woody flavour, then the Indonesian cinnamon will do the job or if you are after a more spicy flavour then the Vietnamese cinnamon is highly recommended.
Ground cinnamon is great in pancakes, cinnamon rolls, warm coffees or even hot chocolate.
4. Garlic powder
Fresh garlic is always great to use, especially if you are a frequent user and always keep some bulbs in stock. However, for those who don’t cook as often and don’t see the need to buy lots of garlic, then garlic powder is the ideal alternative.
Garlic powder can be used in a variety of ways to enhance the flavours of any type of dish.
Some of the uses include:-Seasoning meat and vegetables
-To make garlic butter
-Seasoning soups and lentils
5. Chilli powder
If you are looking to add some heat to your dish then chilli powder is what you need to reach for. Chilli powder is actually a spice blend. It’s a combination of different ground and dried peppers all blended together to create a unique spicy flavour. The intensity of the chilli powder can vary depending on the brand and origin.
Types of cuisines it can be used in:-Indian
And there you have it. A list of 5 basic ground spices that you should keep in your pantry. But don’t worry if these are not the spices for you. There are many other spices that people love to use in their cooking… Why not create your own collection?
Here’s a top tip before we go. Always store your spices in airtight containers. This helps to keep the colour, flavour and intensity last longer and also prevents exposure to heat and oxygen.