Cooking with herbs and spices is an excellent way to add flavor and depth to your dishes. From parsley to cumin, there are so many options available to suit your liking. However, if you’re not familiar with working with them, it can be tricky to know where to start. In this article, we’ll share some tips to help you cook with herbs and spices to enhance flavors.
#1. Start with Fresh
Herbs and spices are at their best when they are fresh. You should aim to buy fresh herbs as often as possible and store them properly. You can keep fresh herbs in a glass of water in the refrigerator to prolong their life. On the other hand, spices should be kept in a cool, dry place, and should be used within six months.
#2. Experiment with Flavors
Herbs and spices come in various flavors and can make a great difference in taste. Experimenting with different herbs and spices can add a new dimension to your cooking, and you can undoubtedly find something you love. Combine your herbs and spices with cooked vegetables or roasted meat to make a taste sensation.
#3. Don’t Overuse
While herbs and spices can add a lot of flavors, it’s essential to be cautious about overusing them. Using too much salt or chili powder can make your dish overpowering and unpalatable. Generally, use them in moderation and taste as you go. This way, you’ll avoid ruining your dish and still enjoy the added flavor it brings.
#4. Know Your Spices
Not all spices are the same; some are mild, while others are pungent. As such, it’s crucial to know which spices work best for your recipe. For example, cumin has a unique flavor and aroma, making it ideal for meat and vegetable dishes and curry. On the other hand, paprika is perfect for soups, stews, and even scrambled eggs.
#5. Use the Right Type of Herb
There are different types of herbs, and using the right one can significantly enhance your dish. For instance, parsley is a great garnish for fish, while thyme goes well with chicken, lamb, and fish. Rosemary is best used with grilled meat, and cilantro works well with Mexican or Asian dishes. Using the right type of herb will improve the overall flavor of the dish, making it tastier.
#6. Harmonize Flavors
When cooking, it’s crucial to harmonize flavors to achieve overall taste harmony. For instance, if your dish has a sharp flavor, remove the harsh notes by adding a sweet spice or herb like cinnamon, cloves, or basil. These can create balance and a lovely fragrance to the food.
#7. Cook Herbs and Spices Correctly
Some herbs and spices release their flavor better when they are brought to a boil rather than when they are added late. Others, on the other hand, are too delicate and can’t survive boiling. For example, dill and chives should be added late in the cooking to preserve their flavor. Use fresh mint instead of adding dried mint to your recipe and let it boil away.
In conclusion, cooking with herbs and spices can be overwhelming, especially to beginners. However, with the above tips, you can easily enhance flavors, and create unforgettable dishes. Additionally, always remember to taste as you go, and you’ll be sure to enjoy the delicious meals you’ve made.