Updated: Jul 25, 2020
Pep up dishes and make the most of these store cupboard stars with our handy guide. Perhaps you've never considered purchasing any or most of them; I can tell you that your tastebuds are missing out on awesome flavours! So many classic dishes and ingredients owe their deliciousness to spice. A well-stocked spice cupboard can make all the difference to your cooking, and the punchy flavours mean a little goes a long way. Trust me, you need more than Maggi, Knorr, thyme and curry in your arsenal.
Whole vs Ground
Whole spices take a little more work to prepare but can also have more flavour than ground ones. Ground spices lose their flavour more quickly, but are great if you use them regularly. Some spices, such as cinnamon and cloves, are harder to grind at home, so it's better to buy them ground if that's what you need.
How To Cook
If cooking with whole spices, add at the start of cooking. Cook seeds in hot oil until they start to pop (be careful not to burn). If grinding whole spices, toast them first in a dry frying pan to release more flavour. Ground spices cook quickly so should be added a little later.
Cardamon - Strong and aromatic, it works well in sweet and savoury dishes. Add pods to rice and sauces/stews when cooking (remove before eating).
Cloves - Sweet and warming, add whole cloves to boiling rice, and to oil when frying plantain or meat.
Coriander - A lovely citrus flavour that's amazing in rice and stews.
Turmeric - Closely related to ginger, turmeric is used for vivid colour as well as its slightly bitter earthy flavour. Add a pinch in your fried rice or your scrambled eggs.
Nutmeg - A sweet spicy flavour. Season your plantain with ground nutmeg before frying in oil for a ne depth of rich sweetness. Note however, that when ground nutmeg looses its flavour quickly.
Cinnamon - Distinctive and warming, add a stick to the oil nest time you are frying puff puff.
Sumac - Distinctive lemony tang, used in Middle Eastern cooking. Great for cooking meat.
Paprika - A personal fave. Sweet and smoky, adds beautiful redness to jollof rice and stews. Great for seasoning oultry and fish too.
Cumin - My second fave. Warm, earthy and aromatic. Use in boiling meat and seasoning poultry
So, now you know, what are you going to add to your cupboard?