Spices of the world

Well-known dishes with spices and herbs

Use of spices in Indian cuisine

Indian cuisine has its main base in vegetables and spices. Spices become part of Ayurvedic medicine, so it should be considered in its dual role of food and as a natural remedy. India is renowned for having provided such important spices like pepper, cinnamon and turmeric.

Turmeric in a Sri Lankan market. Currently it is used not only as a spice, but also for its medicinal properties against cancer

This cuisine uses mainly chili or hot pepper, though ginger, cumin, coriander and turmeric are quite abundantly. In this country there are famous spice mixtures, including the best known like Garam masala (primarily made up of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, black pepper and cardamom) and Tandori Masala, formed by the combination of garlic, coriander, cumin and fenugreek.

Curry is a spicy mixture from Indian prepared with spices which is not lacking in any table in this country. In developing countries a lot of spices can be used to prepare curry, hence its appearance and flavor varies greatly depending on their composition (mustard, pepper, nutmeg, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cardamom, saffron, coriander, cumin, celery, etc)

Spices in Chinese food

Chinese cuisine spices are commonly used in most of their preparations. But unlike the previous kitchen, it employs them in a very modest way, in general, Chinese dishes are not as strong as Hindus. China has provided such important spices such as saffron or ginger. Rice is their staple food and this is supplemented with meat, fish or vegetables dressed with sauces or spices.

The main spices used are ginger, spring onions and Sichuan pepper has nothing to do with the common pepper because pepper is the fruit of Chinese, a thorny shrub. It tastes like very spicy orange and it is used especially for meat and fish.

Chinese cuisine uses many spices, sauces and combinations. These highlights the five-spice powder, known for mixing all the flavors at once. It is widely used with beef stew. It is made with Chinese cinnamon, star anise, ginger, anise and cloves.

Aromatic herbs of Mediterranean cuisine

Mediterranean cuisine makes unusual use of spices, but you can use some of their plants with aromatic leaves for seasoning food. (Thyme, rosemary, oregano, parsley, bay leaf, savory, etc.) This type of cuisine generally prefers foods retain their original taste and aroma. Garlic is the most widely used and some preparations as “ajoaceite”, the garlic soup or fried cabbage with garlic, are simple examples of its use.

aromatic herbs
Aromatic herbs


Spices in Arabic cuisine

Arabic cuisine combines the characteristics of Mediterranean cuisine and the use of spices in Indian cuisine. Within Arab cuisine dishes such as couscous, a dish made with wheat, which involved spices like pepper, saffron, cinnamon or laurel. The zatar is a combination of different spices used to season meats and vegetables. This consists of thyme, sesame and sumac with the possible addition of other herbs such as oregano, hyssop, fennel, cumin or savory.

Spice shop in a market in Marrakech
Spice shop in a market in Marrakech

punto rojo More information on spices and aromatic herbs

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

29 February, 2024

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