How To Use Spice To Master A Cultural Dish

Cultural dishes are a great way to explore different cultures, taking your taste buds on a culinary adventure. For many cultural food lovers, spices are the heart of such dishes. It is why 77% of Americans opt for cultural meals when they eat away from home. Admittedly, people have different tolerance levels for these dishes. However, you must know that not all spices are the same because they range from mild to moderate and profound. So, if you’re cooking cultural, spicy food, you can master the art using particular spices and techniques, including the below. 

1. Roast or toast your spices  

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Every culture has different practices to enhance the taste and aroma of foods. However, roasting or toasting spices is a technique many cultures love. Roasting or toasting releases natural oils that enhance the taste. Fennel, cloves, coriander, peppercorns, and fenugreek are a few examples of spices that change their flavor when exposed to heat beforehand. In modern times, you can use the oven to roast spices to give them a distinctive taste. Using the mesh grill, you can also expose these ingredients to an open flame. Because they’re easy to use on a stovetop, you can monitor the browning process without charring these spices. If you’re trying to master a cultural dish at home, knowing the difference between roasting and toasting your spices is important. The latter is when you briefly expose your spices to a higher temperature, while roasting requires lower heat exposure over a longer duration. No matter what you choose, the outcomes improve the quality of a cultural dish and enhance the taste. 

2. Identify the peculiar taste profiles of different spices 

Every spice has unique profiles ranging from sweet to salty, sour, bitter, and umami. The combination of these profiles gives every cultural dish its distinctive taste. If you’re familiar with different foods, this is the fundamental information that helps you detect the aroma of these foods even when you haven’t seen them yet. Flavor is paramount to every cultural dish, and a unique blend of these spices can help you master cooking them. For example, many Indian foods use cumin, coriander, curry, garam masala, and oregano. Sometimes, a blend of these spices gives a distinctive taste, as found in a Moong dal dish. This dish makes generous use of Garam Masala. Meanwhile, this recipe for birria tacos, a distinctive Mexican dish containing assorted peppers, cloves, and cilantro, will allow you to get creative with a blend of various spices and enjoy a memorable meal. You can always put your spin on some of these dishes to suit your taste. 

3. Make spice blends 

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You can experiment with different spice blends to create a distinctive taste. Indeed, you will find some of these special blends in the local grocery store, but why not explore creating yours? You can start with two at a time to see how that turns out. If it was a hit, you could increase the blend to three different spices to see how that works out. Remember that spices are classified as sweet, salt, sour, bitter, and umami. It would help to do your selections based on these classifications. Try combining sweet and sour spices for your cultural dishes. For instance, you can mix cinnamon and cardamom (sweet spices) with calamansi juice, which is sour, to create a distinctive taste for a cultural meal. Indeed, cooking is an art, and exploring creativity can make the whole experience more enjoyable. One tip, however, is to start experimenting with your blends on a low scale, using them for little quantities of food until you are sure of the taste and quality. With these dishes, you get to appreciate different cultures. 

Dexie Jane

Mother of 2. She drinks coffee everyday and wine on the weekends. She devours massive amount of chocolate, pork, and sushi. She loves to dance in her living room and binge-watches KDRAMA, historical dramas, and excessive unhealthy dose of Crime/Murder mysteries/dramas/documentaries. She's also a proud Bibliophile and loves being a bargain fashionista & SHOEHOLIC!

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