A new year is here and it’s the perfect time to get your pantry ready to tackle every recipe. A well-stocked spice rack can turn a boring dinner into a five-star feast. With some help from The Modern Proper, we’ve compiled a list of spices that everyone should keep in their pantry at all times.
Cumin is as common in India and Latin America as salt in the United States. It is the staple seasoning in many signature dishes. Cumin has an earthy flavor and is an irreplaceable ingredient in chili, stews, and meats. You’ll find different cultures have different preferences for their use. The Indian culture prefers cumin to be added to recipes as a whole seed, while Mexican dishes often call for ground cumin. Believe it or not, cumin is a member of the parsley family.
Paprika is made from ground, dried peppers, and can sometimes have inconsistent flavor variations from culture to culture. For example, Hungarian paprika tends to be a little sweeter than others. Spanish-style paprika has a smoky flavor, more reminiscent of those commonly found in the spice section of every local supermarket in the US. Paprika originated in the La Vera region of Spain and you can typically find it with an origin stamp noting “Pimenton de la Vera.” When paprika is sweet it is referred to as “dulce.” If it is on the spicy side look it will be marked “Picante.” Paprika is a rich, bold, and smoky spice perfect for fajitas, tuna salad, Spanish tapas, and burgers.
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News flash! The cinnamon you purchase in stores isn’t actually cinnamon. It’s most likely the ground bark of a cassia tree, but don’t fret, it’s much better that way. The term “Cinnamon” embodies a wide variety of fragrant spices. This means that cinnamon, much like paprika, comes in many varieties and flavors. Some cinnamon is sweet, and others can be savory. Either way, it’s irresistible in pies, puddings, and even coffee. Cinnamon even goes great in savory beef stews or Braised beef.
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