Star anise, or Chinese badiane, is the fruit of the Chinese badianier, a plant of the magnoliaceae family. The fruit is a grouping of eight woody follicles, which form a very characteristic eight-pointed star, hence the name star anise. The fruits are picked green and then dried in the sun, where they take on a […]
We do not know the precise origin of the name “ras-el-hanout” which refers to a mixture of spices widely used in Maghreb countries. This name literally means “head of the grocery store”, or the “best of the store” because it is indeed the mix of spices that the shop owner prepares with his best ingredients. […]
Turmeric is an orange-yellow spice originating from South Asia and is particularly popular in Indian cuisine hence its nickname “Indian Saffron”. Its active ingredient, a polyphenol called curcumin, gives it antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, it can be increasingly found in the form of supplements and in various products. So, should we go so far […]
For a majority of people, the scent of cinnamon is associated with Christmas, with its cookies, cakes and egg nog drinks, but there’s no need to wait until December to enjoy it. This is one of the most used spices in the world, found in as many savory dishes as in sweet. In many countries, […]
Asafoetida is the resin of a large umbelliferous plant resembling fennel, native to Central Asia. Once very popular with the Romans, this spice is widely used in Indian cuisine, but it has fallen into disuse in the West, most likely because of its slightly rotten egg smell, which comes from the large amount of sulfur […]
This is a frequently asked question, especially after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) published its report on gluten in ground spices in 2011. According to this report, it is prohibited to add gluten in pre-packaged ground spices and these shouldn’t include any other ingredients (according to the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR)). If gluten […]
This aromatic flower bud of the clove tree has been used in cooking for thousands of years (cloves are stuck into onions in all court bouillons!). The tree, which is native to Indonesia, can reach up to 20 metres in height. The buds are picked before they bloom and are dried in the sun until […]
Each year, in January, millions of people look for some miraculous fixes to counteract the harmful effects of the holiday overindulgence (… and all the excess of the previous 12 months). I personally do not believe that such quick fix exist, and rather prefer to eat well and exercise throughout the year. But if I […]
If you think that spiced dishes are always “spicy”, think again! According to the dictionary, a spice is an aromatic herbal substance, whose more or less fragrant or pungent flavour is used to season dishes. Several spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise, vanilla are very aromatic, without being “pungent”, while others, such as pepper […]
Curry, a generic term of Tamil origin, is primarily used in the West to denote a blend of spices that is added to sauces in Indian and Southeast Asian cuisines. Though the spiciness or mildness of a curry depends on the composition of its ingredients, it is always very fragrant.
We do not all have the same likes and … dislikes. But all of us do have about 4000 taste sensory receptors, 75% of which are located on the dorsal surface of the tongue, the remainder being distributed along the palate, pharynx and upper esophagus.
This subtle bouquet of bronze coloured spices that peps up savoury as well as sweet dishes, is used all the way from the West Indies to Asia and it passes through Africa and of course, India. It is a mixture that can contain anywhere between five to 30 different spices, but it is most usually […]