Certain seasonings will never let you down, it’s true, but is there really no time that you wish you couldn’t jazz up the stove a bit with something fresh and new? As it happens, there is an entire planet of exotic seasonings and spices out there that you can easily incorporate into your regular cooking to enhance taste and add a whole new flavour dimension to your food.
Here are a few ideas to get you started
How about making lemon garlic hummus with garlic salt as a tasty new appetiser?
Garlic salt is seen by an increasing number of people as a kind of “miracle seasoning” bringing together 2 of the most beloved savoury flavours into one place. It can be used to enhance meat, fish, vegetables, and just about anything you want, and is also a terrific base for dry-rub seasonings.
Garlic salt is the perfect ally of the home cook who feels that they’re not ready to graduate to the more exotic spices of Asia, Africa or the Caribbean. It provides a powerful yet familiar flavour profile that they can easily incorporate into their cooking.
Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
When one is ready to graduate to a new level of spice, however, Jamaican jerk seasoning is a terrific direction to go. Paired with just a little lime juice, Jamaican jerk adds a magnificent kick to both chicken and pork, on which it’s most commonly used, but works well on vegetables too if you’re not a meat eater.
Jerk seasoning makes use of garlic, allspice, onion and green onion, nutmeg, cayenne, cinnamon and a few other additions to create an unforgettable Caribbean mix. Give your barbecue meat an entirely new dimension and flavour profile with this Jamaican gold.
Chinese Five Spice
This is one exotic seasoning that many home cooks may well have heard of before actually using it for themselves. Chinese Five Spice includes star anise, pepper, fennel seeds, cinnamon, and cloves. You shouldn’t think, however, that using Five Spice means you have to be cooking exclusively Chinese cuisine!
As it happens, the spice goes very well in a number of meat dishes, in particular with chicken and pork. Some have even experimented with it on sweet dishes thanks to the content of sweeteners like cloves, cinnamon and star anise.
Grains of Paradise
For those wanting to add an African dimension to their cooking, the “Grains of Paradise” are a name given to the Melegueta pepper — also known by some as “Guinea grains” — named for the tree that grows in its native West Africa. Grains of Paradise are used as a substitute for pepper, adding a warm and spicy aroma to any dish you use them in.
This authentic Mexican spice has already found tremendous popularity in the rest of North America where its flavours of onion, garlic, black pepper, oregano, cumin, and cayenne bring a whole new level of tasty spice. Virtually any meat, including all the basics: beef, chicken, and pork, are enhanced by this simple blend.
Adobo is incredibly versatile and many are finding it works just as well when you’re not cooking Latin dishes as when you are!
Herbes de Provence
If you’re preparing a French fine-dining experience for you and your guests, then you can’t go wrong with Herbes de Provence, named for the southern region of France from which they hail, home to the Riviera and some of the finest cooking the nation has to offer. In this mixture, you’ll find basil, tarragon, thyme, rosemary, chervil, fennel and even a little bit of lavender. Believe it or not, the lavender does not overpower the rest one bit!
Herbes de Provence is a perfect accompaniment to vegetable dishes like ratatouille, as well as with salads, and lighter meats like roast chicken.