I am here today to confess something to you: I have an addiction. I am a compulsive spice buyer.
Every time I am in contact with a (quite new) spice, I need to buy it. I can’t help it. My pantry is full, disorganized and I clearly need to proceed to a de-cluttering. Coming back from my trip in South Africa last September (where I went cray on the spice shopping), I vowed not to buy any spice again before finishing half of my collection.
Was in Dubai => Epic Fail.
So I decided that if I was going to epic fail, I should share with you what I bought.
NEW ADDING TO MY SPICE RACK
When I saw those huge cinnamon sticks, I had to get them. We usually know cinnamon in its ground form and people sometime don’t know that it actually comes from the interior bark of a tropical tree. And the stick is in fact the rolled up bark. Cinnamon is soft and has a sweet flavor.
I like the stick version better when you want to do some kind of infusion. You can easily pop it in a sweet preparation such as homemade apple sauce (2 sticks in the pot while it’s cooking and it becomes fantastic) or for a salty dish such as tagines or stews.
Try to add it while cooking the ingredients for a soup! but don’t forget to remove the sticks before blending the preparation.
This one is getting more and more famous throughout the internet. The taste is similar to ginger (it is from the same family) but I find that it is softer, without the bitter taste.
You can sprinkle it on vegetables before roasting them or pop it in your coffee for a nice twist. Beware your hands or dishes when using this spice, them become yellow easily and it’s very difficult to get rid of the color.
We all know the white version of cardamom. This kind has a stronger flavor, the pods are bigger. I like to add a few pods in the cooking water of my rice, pasta or any kind of legumes. It gives a little twist to the flavor and you get additional health benefits of the spice.
This one was a real discovery while in Dubai. I cam back with close to 3 lbs of Za’atar in my suitcase (almost hit the weight limit at the luggage drop. Oups). They put it anywhere: Croissant (blasphemy! But so good), flatbread, yogurt, vegetables, salads, grilled meat…
And it is absolutely delicious. Za’atar is known throughout all Middle East and there is close to one million different recipes. The base is generally made with ground dried thyme, oregano, marjoram mixed with toasted sesame seeds and salt, though other spices such as sumac might also be added.
It goes with almost anything. And it is easy to make your own at home as there are many recipes out there. Try this one!
Ok so you already know this one. Cloves are my go to spice along with cardamom when cooking rice, pasta and legumes. I pop 2 cloves in the cooking water and let do the magic.
As my reserve was going low, I took advantage of the fact that it was cheap and that you could buy it in bulk (Oups again for the weigh limit of my suitcase).
Ah sumac… Love love this one. I just found out that this spice was very well known in North America as it is used by Natives Americans in different kind of beverages. In Europe, it is completely unknown so it was a real discovery to me when I tasted it for the first time a few month ago.
The fruits of the sumac tree are ground into a reddish-purple powder also used as in Middle Eastern cuisine to add a tart, lemony taste to salads or meat. I bought it in bulk as well as my reserves were going very low!
Tell me about your favorites spices! Do you have any fancy spice(s) I don’t know to feed my addiction?
Author: Emilie Durand
Emilie is a French food lover, proud Parisian and founder of thefrenchwaytohealth.com. On her website, she shares delicious recipes, health tips and tricks. Her goal is to gather and share the habits and rules that have been used and approved by French people for decades. That means cooking your own meals efficiently, enjoying whole foods, eating mindfully and never ever using the word diet again while losing weight.