Homemade Spice Blends
Add this blend to your fajita ingredients (vegetables and/or chicken or beef) as you sauté them.
Ingredient possibilities: black pepper, cayenne, chili peppers, coriander, cumin, dehydrated vegetables, garlic, onion, oregano, paprika, parsley, sea salt, black pepper
Indispensable in the French kitchen, this blend is especially delicious in soups, poultry and egg dishes.
Ingredient possibilities: basil, chervil, chives, marjoram, parsley, tarragon
Five Spice Powder (China)
Five ingredients -- sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, and salty -- in roughly equal proportions create a balanced blend that's used to flavor meat and poultry dishes. It partners well with soy sauce for marinades, too.
Ingredient possibilities: cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise, white or black pepper
Garam Masala (India)
Warm and hearty, the spices for this blend are traditionally toasted, cooled, and then ground into a powder.
Ingredient possibilities: allspice, bay leaf, black peppercorns, cardamom seeds, cayenne, chili peppers, cinnamon, cloves, coriander seeds, cloves, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, ginger, mace, nutmeg, turmeric
Delicious on vegetables, salads, in egg dishes and sauces, and for meat and poultry rubs.
Ingredient possibilities: basil, bell peppers, black pepper, garlic, lemon peel, onion, oregano, paprika, parsley, sesame seeds
Gumbo File Powder
You'll find this distinctive flavor called for in Creole dishes, especially gumbo, of course.
Ingredient possibilities: sassafras leaf, thyme leaf
Herbes de Provence (France)
This delicate blend of herbs is delicious in stews and egg dishes and with fish and meat. Add it to dips and dressings, too.
Ingredient possibilities: basil, chervil, fennel, lavender, marjoram, rosemary, savory, tarragon, thyme
Italian Seasoning (Italy)
A convenient blend to have on hand, you can tweak this blend specifically for pastas and sauces, pizzas and breads. Add bay leaf, black pepper, garlic, onion, parsley and/or bay leaf to create a special spaghetti seasoning, for example. For pizza, you might go heavy on the oregano and add bell peppers, celery flakes, and onions.
Ingredient possibilities: basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage
Jerk Seasoning (Jamaica)
Jamaican cooks use this blend as a dry rub or marinade for meats. It's also excellent on tofu and seafood.
Ingredient possibilities: allspice, black pepper, cayenne, chili peppers, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, onion, paprika, sea salt, scallions, thyme, tomato powder
Handy in the kitchen come time for tamales, enchiladas, tacos, and any other Mexican fare. Use it to flavor dips, too.
Ingredient possibilities: bay leaf, cayenne, celery seed, chili peppers, cumin, garlic, onion, oregano, paprika
Use to flavor cider and apple juice as well as other juices, wines, and brandies. For easy removal, place the spices in a large tea ball or cheesecloth.
Ingredient possibilities: allspice, cinnamon chips/sticks, cloves, ginger, lemon peel, nutmeg, orange peel, star anise
Pickling spices are used whole. Add them to the brine for pickling cukes -- and just about any other veggie, too.
Ingredient possibilities: allspice berries, bay leaf, black peppercorns, caraway seed, celery seed, chili peppers, cinnamon chips or sticks, cloves, coriander seed, dill seed, dill weed, ginger root, mace, yellow mustard seeds
Use for stuffings, of course, but also casseroles, sausage, meat loaf, gravies and grains.
Ingredient possibilities: basil, black pepper, cayenne, celery seed, chervil, cloves, garlic, marjoram, onion, parsley, sage, savory, sea salt, tarragon, thyme, white pepper
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Add more cloves for richer color and deeper flavor, more cinnamon for sweetness, or more ginger for kick. Use for top-notch pies, but also cookies, custards, eggnog and cakes.
Ingredient possibilities: allspice, cinnamon, caraway, cloves, coriander, ginger, nutmeg
Sambhar Powder (India)
Traditionally the spices in this blend are sun dried and then ground to a smooth powder. It's used to flavor grains and flatbread as well as stews and lentils.
Ingredient possibilities: asafetida, black peppercorns, cayenne, chili peppers, cinnamon, coriander, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds
Use any of the following spices for creating your own seafood boil blend (for shrimp and crab, for example) or for a full-fledged seafood seasoning for use on the grill or in the oven.
Ingredient possibilities: allspice, bay leaf, black pepper, celery seed, chili peppers, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, dill seed, fennel, garlic, ginger, mustard seed, onion, oregano, rosemary, sage, sea salt, thyme, winter savory
Shake this basic steak seasoning on at the table or before grilling. Or use it as the flavoring for your meat marinade.
Ingredient possibilities: basil, black pepper, chili peppers, garlic, lemon peel, lemon thyme, rosemary, sea salt, white pepper
Thai Seasoning (Thailand)
While Thai food is traditionally a bit spicy/hot, creating your own blend allows you to turn up or down the head. This blend is especially good for seafood, soups, and rice and noodle dishes.
Ingredient possibilities: basil, black pepper, cayenne, cilantro, coriander, garlic, lemon peel, onion, paprika, white pepper
Literally four spices, these are often used in French soups, stews, and vegetable dishes. You'll also find this combination in some Middle Eastern cuisines.
Ingredients: black and/or white peppercorns, cloves, ginger, nutmeg
Panch Phoran or Five-Spice Mix (India)
Indian cooks fry this blend in oil or ghee, causing it to pop or "temper." Then vegetables, lentils, or fish are typically added to the blend. You'll also find it in recipes for stews.
Ingredient possibilities: cumin seed, fennel seed, fenugreek, mustard seed (or celery seed), nigella seed
Ras-el-Hanout (North Africa, Middle East)
Literally the "top of the shop," this blend is meant to be the best of the spices available. There are myriad possible combinations for this blend, and the spices are most often toasted and ground together, then used to flavor grains like couscous and rice.
Ingredient possibilities: allspice, black peppercorns, cardamom, chili peppers, cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds, galangal, ginger, lavender, mace, nigella, nutmeg, rosebuds, orrisroot, paprika, turmeric
These spices are traditionally combined with olive oil for spreading on breads.
Ingredient possibilities: basil, black pepper, capers, chili peppers, dill, fennel, garlic, olives (black and/or green), oregano, tarragon, thyme, tomatoes
Za'atar (Middle East)
Also known as zahtar, this blend is mixed with olive oil and spread on flatbreads. Add it to hummus and vegetable dishes, and use it to make a marinade for poultry.
Ingredients: roasted sesame seeds, sumac, thyme
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