According to many, a good chef or cook can be tested not only based on the taste of the food, but also on the variety of food he or she can create using a limited number of ingredients or spices. Although not all of us are chefs, we can still have that flexibility in cooking just by ensuring that you have the right and most essential ingredients or spices at home. Among these must-have spices include the following:
Garlic. Garlic can be considered as one of the universal spices because it has its application in a majority of dishes prepared. Not to mention that garlic is used by a variety of households and restaurants around the world. he taste of garlic usually depends on how it is cooked. It is most pungent and somewhat spicy when eaten fresh while this flavor usually mixes with all other ingredients when cooked. When roasted or powdered, it alternately provides a unique aroma and flavour to all kinds of food. Garlic is noted for its antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. It also helps in regulating blood pressure, cholesterol, and aids in the prevention of numerous kinds of diseases relating to the heart and cancer.
Onion. A partner of garlic, onion is considered to be mix of a spice and a vegetable. It can be enjoyed and eaten raw or prepared as an ingredient for majority of sautéed or liquid-based dishes. Aside from proving added colour and design, onions also improve the flavour of your dish. Aside from making your eyes cry, onions can help lengthen your life by improving the immune system. Onions are also good for the digestive health, for the hearth, and for the bones.
Pepper. Peppers are small but each minute piece is packed with plenty of flavour. It is also the most popular and widely used spice on earth making it known as the ‘king of spices.’ There are generally three varieties of pepper available today; the black, the white, and the green ones. Black pepper is the most common type used in home cooking. Pepper improves and completes the flavour of any dish. For those who can’t bear the strength of chili peppers, pepper is a good alternative in providing mild spiciness. Pepper is good for digestion, is helpful for coughs and colds, and it has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-congestion properties.
Ginger. Ginger has a unique, spicy, peppery, and somewhat sweet flavour. Ginger is great in tempering the strong taste and smell of fish and certain meat-based cuisines. Ginger is a good addition for dishes requiring mild or slight spiciness. There are several health benefits of ginger. Though most of the time it is solely consumed as a tea just to reap these health benefits, there are many ways that ginger can be prepared. Ginger has a very good anti-inflammatory property and it works best in treating or relieving the several symptoms of digestive or stomach-related concerns like stomach ache and heartburn, etc.
Cinnamon. Some people think that cinnamon is only used for baking, but this spice has a multitude of uses in everyday cooking. Cinnamon is a good natural sweetener. Aside from making pastries and flavouring desserts, it will also provide that unique sweetness and aroma in stews and sauces. Cinnamon is rich in iron, calcium, dietary fibres; it helps improve brain activity, and promotes effective diseases fighting properties to diseases like diabetes and certain types of cancer.
Chili powder or chili pepper. Certain foods or dishes don’t have their appeal without that kick of spiciness. Chili provides that spiciness and helps enhance the flavour of a variety of dishes. This spice works great in stew, or soup-based menus providing the needed warmth and heat during the freezing winter season. Not known to many, chili peppers also contain sufficient amounts of vitamins like Vitamin C and B6. It aids in fighting bad bacteria, has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and helps treat several ailments like heart diseases, high blood pressure, excessive cholesterol, arthritis, etc.
Cumin. Cumin is considered an essential to a majority of the dishes or cuisines prepared in the West, Europe, and in parts of Africa. This spice brings a distinctive warm and strong aroma or flavour to the foods you prepare. It also has a bit of a bitter taste. Cumin is generally used either in whole seed or powder form. Cumin is said to have antiseptic properties helping to improve common sickness or flu. It also helps in promoting the immune system, helps lower the sugar level, and aids in digestion.
By Liya Das