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Asian Spices and Herbs

07/10/2020
by Admin Doe

The Asian cuisine is a blend of unique and tasty recipes, with bold flavours and colourful looks. It has become more and more popular in the past decades, because people can more easily travel to the area and fall in love with the local dishes. Although they are collected under the name of “Asian cuisine”, there are quite large differences between Vietnamese and Lebanese cuisines, between Chinese and Indian cuisines, between Korean and Iranian cuisines.


Here is a non-exhaustive list of herbs and spices, commonly used in Asian cuisine:

 1.   Chilies: Large, medium or small, chilies can definitely spice up your dishes! For a milder flavor of the chilies, you should remove the seeds and inner tissue from the chili, before cooking it.

2.    Curry leaves: Very common in Indian food, they can be used both fresh and dried.

3.    Ginger: Can be found in almost all Asian cuisines, due to its flavor and aroma - sweet or savory dishes.

4.    Lemongrass: Particularly used in Thai cooking, lemongrass gives a citrus taste to Thai dishes.

5.    Turmeric: A spice and a medicinal herb, is very commonly found in Indian dishes, with a strong yellow color and a distinctive flavor.

6.   Cumin: Asian cuisines often use cumin, either roasted, grounded or in curry paste. Two types of cumin are available: white (mostly in Southeast Asian cuisine) and black (preferred in Indian cuisine).

7.   Coriander: Most parts of this plant are used in Asian dishes. The fresh leaves – cilantro – together with roots and stalks are used in Thai cuisine for making green curry paste. Indian and Chinese cuisine prefer only the leaves. Also, the coriander seeds are used in Asian cuisines: dry roast it and grind it before adding it to your dish.

8.   Chives: Fresh Chinese chives have a very fragrant taste. Chop them before adding them to stir fry dishes or spring rolls.

9.   Cinnamon: Cinnamon is obtained from the inner bark of several trees. It can be found either as grinded powder or as a rolled-up stick, the latter being more flavorsome and aromatic (remove from the dish before serving). Cinnamon can be used in a variety of dishes, sweet or savory, snacks or teas.

10.  Galangal: Very similar in appearance with ginger, galangal actually has very well-defined circles around it. Galangal is often used in Thai dishes for its bitter aroma.

11.  Kaffir lime leaves: Alongside lemongrass and galangal, kaffir lime leaves are an essential ingredient in Thai cuisine. They belong to the citrus family, giving dishes a distinctive citrus fragrance with floral accents.

12.  Fenugreek leaves and seeds: It is a common ingredient in Indian cuisine. The seeds are quite popular for making curry paste.

13.  Star anise: It is a versatile spice with a licorice flavor, used in Asian cuisine in a variety of soups, stews, but also desserts and in beverages.


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