Spices and herbs help you kick-up the flavor of your food. They not only give color but also impart sensational aroma and taste to your food. However spices can totally ruin your dish if not used the right way. Here are a few tips for using herbs and spices effectively:
• Avoid using too many spices at a time.
• Never use two strong herbs together in the same dish.
• Include herbs and spices several hours before serving uncooked food like salads. This will allow flavors to sink in and blend well.
• Always finely chop the fresh herbs before adding. Chopping herbs finely will allow the food to absorb more of the herb's flavor.
• Crush herbs like oregano, thyme, and basil in your palm before adding, to release immediate flavor.
• If you are making a larger portion of the recipe, you don't really have to double the quantity of herbs. Just add 50% more.
• Dry spices and herbs are stronger than fresh ones. Follow this guide when you're following a recipe: ¼ tsp powder= ¾ tsp dried = 2 tsp of fresh.
• Herbs can either be added at the end of cooking to add more distinct flavor or they can be added in the beginning for more blended flavor.
• Dried spice and herb powder readily releases flavor, and hence they should be added at the end during long cooking processes like stews.
• Spices like bay leaves release flavor very slowly and should be added in the beginning for dishes that require long cooking time.
• Red pepper powder flavor intensifies on cooking and hence you should use it in small quantities and allow the flavor to intensify during cooking.
This spice guide will definitely help you get your recipe right!