7 Spices You Might Not Be Using, but Should Be

7 Spices You Might Not Be Using, but Should Be

Take inspiration from cultures around the world who have perfected the use of aromatic spices to prepare dishes with a serious soul. Now, it’s easier than ever to have access to all the spices you want, and you’re really only limited by your own creativity in how you use them. Experimenting with spices is the easiest way to improve the food you cook; It takes very little effort on your part to give your food an incredible makeover. Next time you want something new, try these seven spices and spice blends.

Smoked Paprika

Dark red smoked paprika adds unparalleled smoky flavor and aroma to your dishes. Peppers are dried, smoked and ground to create this spice, which is often used in Spanish cuisine for dishes such as paella, pulpo (octopus), and patatas bravas. It is smooth, slightly sweet and very smoky.

Add smoked paprika to slow cooker or Instant Pot meat dishes, toss with mayonnaise to add to burgers or fries, sprinkle over quiche and use to season toasted pecans for a tasty snack. The only way to go wrong is to add too much, so start with ¼ to ½ teaspoon and add more as needed.

Garam Masala

Garam masala is like a hug for yourself. This blend of Indian spices is used to add aromatic complexity to dishes across South Asia. Garam masala is a kind of general term for a mixture of hot spices. In South Asia, cooks make their own mixes, so it varies by region and cuisine. Usually in American supermarkets you will find aromatic spices like cilantro, cumin, cardamom, black pepper and cinnamon in the mixture, but the mixture can also contain fennel, star anise, mace or hot pepper.

Store-bought garam masala isn’t usually spicy, and it’s great when you want a lot of flavor with just one seasoning. Use at the end of cooking to prepare soups, stews, curries, lentils and of course to prepare Quick Chicken Tikka Masala. It’s also a great addition to salad dressings and marinades, especially lamb, or sprinkled over roasted vegetables.


Berbere is a blend of spices that serves as the backbone of the incredible complexity of the flavors of Ethiopian cuisine. It contains spicy, sweet and lemony elements and is used in doro wat, the delicious Ethiopian chicken stew. Similar to garam masala, there is no single recipe for Berber, but mixtures may contain paprika, onion, fenugreek seeds, fenugreek leaves, salt, chili peppers, shallots, garlic, cinnamon, pepper, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, cumin, allspice. , nail and ajwain.

In other words: pure magic. Berber is often mixed with oil to make a paste which is used as a seasoning. Use it in soups and stews by cooking it in fat with other flavorings like onion and garlic, season the lentils with it, sprinkle it on pineapple rings before grilling and use- to enhance homemade jams. Berber tends to be spicy, so keep that in mind if you’re sensitive to heat.

Urfa Biber

A little sour, a little spicy, a little smoky, a little salty – Urfa biber is a powerful spice that can enhance any dish. Native to the Urfa region of Turkey, near the Syrian border, Urfa biber is a sun-dried flake pepper that is traditionally used in various Middle Eastern cuisines to flavor kebabs, meat stews and eggplants. But its nuanced flavor can be added to anything from eggs and toast with hummus to barbecue dressings and salad dressings.

Use it anywhere you normally use crushed red pepper, and your taste buds will thank you. Remember that the spice is salty, so adjust the salt ratios accordingly. Pro tip: Replace the crushed red pepper with Urfa biber in the corn cob recipe shown above.

Shichimi Togarashi

Shichimi togarashi, also known as the Japanese Seven Spices, is a Japanese spice blend consisting of red chili peppers, Sanshō or Sichuan pepper, dried orange peels, black sesame seeds, sesame seeds whites, ground ginger, poppy seeds and seaweed (nori). It’s typically used as the final spice for noodles and meats, adding heat, salt, earth, and citrus to instantly take any tasty dish to the next level. Use it at home to add a flavorful touch to noodles, pizza, avocado toast, popcorn, or rice bowls. You can also garnish this vegetarian udon soup with shichimi togarashi.


Sumac is a reddish-brown Middle Eastern spice that has a tangy, lemony taste. It will brighten up any dish. It’s one of the ingredients in za’atar spice blend, which you can easily make at home with the addition of thyme, toasted sesame seeds, and salt. Sprinkle sumac over the hummus, mix it with salt and use it on grilled or roasted vegetables, chicken or salmon. It is also ideal for spicing up homemade fries or for livening up dressings and marinades. It’s becoming more and more common in grocery stores, but if it’s not available, you can find it in specialty spice stores or online.


With a flavor profile reminiscent of ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg in one, allspice can transport you on vacation. While it’s often used in cakes and mulled wine during the holiday season, it’s time to dust off that bottle of allspice and bring it to the front of the cabinet for all-round use. ‘year.

Allspice, which resembles black pepper, has many salty applications. It is used liberally in many dishes of the Middle East, Central Mexico, and the Caribbean, especially in Jamaican jerk sauce and seasonings. Make your own marinade or rub with an infusion of allspice, add a pinch of the chili (this is the key to Cincinnati pepper after all), sprinkle a little in your seasoning mix for meatballs. and soak the whole chili in milk with spices like cardamom and add it to coffee or tea. Just buy whole allspice and grind it yourself, as pre-ground spices quickly lose their aroma and flavor.


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