Although we are not culinary experts, it only takes practice and more wisdom to become one. The secret to perfect cooking is simple – it’s to do with the proper use of spices. For without the right use of spices food can either be too bland or too overbearing.
Here are some basic rules to perfect your cooking and use spices the right way:
How to Season Dishes?
It is always recommended to use the spices at the beginning of the cooking to bring out their best flavours to the forefront. The process often referred to as ‘blooming’ means to add spices like hing, large pieces or roots like ginger, cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom and the like early on the cooking process along with ghee or oil.
Except for pepper, all spices can be bloomed early in the process. If you are cooking the dish for a long time it’s best to add pepper later because it tends to lose its flavour over time.
Besides, delicate leaf spices and herbs like parsley, mint, thyme, basil should be added at the very end of the cooking process so that they are not overcooked. These types of spices release essential oils when heated and so it needs to be intact without losing its potency.
Adding less delicate herbs like bay leaf, sage, rosemary, oregano at the beginning of cooking is good because they tend to release their flavour gradually.
Adding spices and herbs to salads and raw food should be done just before serving them so that their flavour is fresh and not lost. To prepare salad dressings you can mix the spices to vinegar and let the mixture rest before adding oil and then add them to your salads.
Spices and herbs should be added as a supplement to enhance the natural taste of the dishes and not to cover or hide it. Avoid using them too much at the same time and try to use them in the right balance to complement each other in the right combinations.
Always use a dry spoon to take the desired amount. Don’t sprinkle them directly to boiling water as the steam can reduce the strength of the spice left in the container. When using leafy herbs, crumble them between your fingers to release its aroma.
How Much to Add?
There’s no general rule of thumb when it comes to adding the right quantity of spices. You are the best judge to decide and assess. Only through practice, you can exactly determine the right amount of spices in accordance with your taste preferences.
Always start with a measure of 1/2 teaspoon per four serving portions if you are unsure and then adjust. For stronger and sharper spices like cayenne pepper, garlic powder, chilly powder decrease the starting amount to 1/4 teaspoon and later adjust the amount if necessary.
Spice Grinder – Use a pepper grinder to add freshly ground pepper to your dishes at the end of the cooking to enhance its flavour
Salt Factor – Consider the saltiness of each spice you are going to be adding to a dish so that you don’t add too much salt
Less is more – when it comes to spices and seasoning as pretty much impossible to remove excess salt or spices from the dish
Add a finishing touch – Even a perfectly cooked dish can benefit from a last-minute addition of flavour. Sprinkle spice powders to liven up your pasta, soups, gravies or stews to make it even better
Tassyam’s line of gourmet spice powders and premium spices can be judiciously used in your dishes to enhance its flavour and take your cooking to a whole new level. We hope that the above tips will help you whip up and serve the best dishes taking you close to becoming a culinary artist.