In this video, Ashley shares 6 spices that have tremendously increased the variety of flavors in her cooking. "As a home cook, I know how easy it can be to fall into a cooking rut. Using the same spices dish after dish can cause everything to taste the same. So if you are currently finding yourself in a cooking rut or want to upgrade your spice cabinet, this episode is for you!"
Hey! I'm Ashley Thai and today I figured I'd share with you all six spices that have tremendously increased the variety of flavor within my cooking. As a home cook I know how easy it can be to fall into a cooking rut. You're using the same spices dish after dish and everything just starts to taste really same same. And for me that's when the excitement for cooking and joy for cooking starts to go away. So if you are currently finding yourself in a cooking rut or if you just want to try something new or if you're looking to upgrade your spice cabinet, then this episode is for you!
This first spice that I'm going to share with you all, I must admit I am absolutely obsessed with and had to get over a little bit of disappointment in myself for not cooking with it sooner. It is Smoked Paprika. And I know you're saying "paprika? I have paprika already in my spice cabinet!" A lot of us have the standard version of paprika but this smoked variety of paprika takes it up about 10 notches. We've seen it on top of egg salad, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, even hummus, as a little bit of like a color add. But paprika, especially the smoked paprika, just adds such a depth to your dishes that you really could benefit from adding it into the base of your seasoning as opposed to just using it as a coloring agent on top. So at first whiff, I get an intense strong smoky aroma followed by sweetness and that is because paprika in general is ground and dried bell peppers. The flavor of your
dishes is really going to increase with adding some smoked paprika to the base of the seasoning.
Anything savory will benefit from smoked paprika.
So the second spice that I want to share with you all might be something you already have in your spice cabinet but you may not be using it to the full extent that you can and that is Cumin. So at first whiff cumin has a very, surprisingly, floral scent, floral aroma and that is kind of lending itself to what the flavor tastes like. It's a very earthy, floral, subtle flavor but a little goes a long way. So you may have seen it or tasted it in a lot of Latin American dishes, Mexican dishes,
Indian dishes in things like curry, guacamole, some sort of chicken dishes. But what I found is
that my seafood dishes benefit greatly from cumin. It really kind of just adds, because it's so
earthy, it gives the addition of kind of like a surf and turf flavor to your seafood dish without actually having the turf. It really does add a depth to your seafood dishes that is worth exploring. So give it a try!
The third spice that I want to share with you is actually somewhat of a part A, part B situation
and it is Cardamom. So cardamom is, I think a lot of people associate it with Indian dishes but
there are a couple of different varieties. There is black cardamom and green cardamom and they are distinctly different. At first width of the black cardamom, it almost like hits you over the head
with the smoky, mentholy, and a little bit of mint aroma. The black cardamom really benefits from going in dishes that have a long cook time. So stews, soups, things that are really on the stove
for a while. Things that, you know, you really kind of think about getting cozy eating a bowl of. That's where I love to use black cardamom. There's two different methods of cooking or using it. You have the pod that it's already in but then you also have you can break open the pod and you'll find little tiny seeds in here that you could also benefit from cooking with as well. They take a little bit of a different cook time for each but the flavor that it adds to your dishes, if you really allow it to just sit and mix into the stews into the liquids for a few hours, is tremendous.
So that's the black now the green cardamom, which is very different in size, also has an intense minty earthy aroma but very different from the black.There is no smokiness. Anything that is like a dessert or anything that has a lot of honey or agave or sugar in it could benefit from cardamom. Also a little bit of a longer cook time but it doesn't necessarily need it. I enjoy making my matcha lattes with green cardamom almond milk. That you have to try! A little goes a long way with this
as well and it's also the same story. It has the little pod that it's in and then you can break it open and you'll see little seeds that you can use as well. Black and green cardamom, same family two distinct flavors.
The fourth spice I'm going to share with you requires a little bit of prep work but trust me it is absolutely worth it and that is Coriander Seeds. So like its name suggests, it does come in seed form and it actually comes from the same plant that cilantro comes from but the flavors couldn't be any more different. So before you even go there, we cannot substitute cilantro with coriander and vice versa. Cilantro is a more intense florally herby flavor whereas, coriander = is a more mild citrusy sweet and floral flavor. So I like to get the seeds because I actually like to toast it before I use it. Toasting it really brings out more of those floral notes and it helps it pair back really well with some of the spices I already mentioned. So coriander pairs really well with cumin it also pairs really well with fennel seeds and I like to mix those three together sometimes and make a rub for meat. So for chicken, pork, even for like barbecue ribs, it does a really nice rub for the meat. This is a really great spice to have. It is small but I promise you a little goes a long way, so no need to overflow your dish with coriander seeds.
The next spice I want to share with you is an absolute game changer. It can go in sweet dishes it can go in spicy dishes it can go in savory dishes. It is that girl! And it is zest. Lemon zest, lime zest, orange zest, anything citrus zested adds such a brightness to your dishes without bringing some of the tartness that comes along with the juices from that actual citrus. Zest is a game changer and I put it in everything from of course fish dishes to pancakes to chicken dishes. It goes it goes in everything! I, if you watch my videos you know I love lemon zest, I love orange zest. This is something that will absolutely change the flavor of your dishes.
We made it to the end of the list so I only have one more spice to share with you and speaking of
fresh, it is fresh Herbs. The whole time I've been filming I have been smelling nothing but rosemary. That is how intense fresh herbs are. And because they are fresh,because they are still green, because
they haven't been dried/dehydrated,you don't need a lot in your dishes. That's the
beauty - you can invest in either growing your own herbs outside, which is what I do. I have
herb pots, very low maintenance or whether you go to the store and you buy a little bushel
of rosemary, mint, thyme, cilantro, whatever, you're able to use just a little bit and be
able to stretch it out a little bit longer. I know it's a little bit of a, it's more tempting
to go into the spice aisle, pick up the dried tarragon, pick up the dried rosemary, the dried
oregano but I promise you just give it a try, just give it a try using fresh herbs instead
of dried and see what it does for your dishes.
So I hope you guys really enjoyed that list and I hope you're open to trying afew new things from it. I do want to share one more thing with you all because I think it's really important to share what
the next step is when I'm working with whole spices such as cumin seeds or coriander
seeds or fennel seeds. I like to, after I toast, them blend them in a spice grinder or a blender. This is a game-changer. Yes, this says nutribullet. I don't have a spice grinder. What I have is a nutribullet that was almost in the trash because I was done with it and then I actually took a look at the blade that they, this is one of the blades that come with the nutribullet and I was like this looks very similar to a spice grinder and it works exactly the same. So if you have a nutribullet you can repurpose it as a spice grinder. The reason the spice grinder is so important is because you
do not want rogue seeds in your dish. It leaves an awful mouth feel after you put all of that work
into preparing and cooking. It's an awful mouth feel to then bite into something and have seeds
bursting in your mouth. So there are two ways to deal with seeds you can either put them in a cheesecloth bag and tie that tight and put it in your dish and allow it to cook through and remove that before serving the dish. Or you can pull your flavors out of your seeds, whether it's toasting or mixing it with other spices to make your own spice blend,and then blending it down to a powder so
that it is not being left whole in your dish. So this is a game changer. Consider this a bonus
to the list.
So really I've given you seven spices and necessary spice accouterment to help intensify the variety of flavors in your kitchen.So thank you again for watching. I hope you really enjoyed it. You all have got to let me know in the comments what you thought about it. Also let me know what spice you're going to start with first and I want to know everything. I want to know what dish you're using it in.
I want to know how it turned out for you. Did you use the ground, did you use it whole? Tell me all the things in the comments below! Also all the recipes that you saw today are on my website AshleyThai.com. So make sure you like, follow, and subscribe. Until next time, bye!