Uncommon Spices Used in Cooking

We live in a world where almost any type of food ingredient can be found at the nearest shop. In Singapore, it’s not a surprise that rare ingredients find their way into the local markets. Here are a few spices you need to try to level up your dishes.

Saffron

These tiny red threads are used as coloring too besides seasoning for food. They are considered one of the most expensive ingredients even if they have been used for thousands of years.

Ambergris

This is considered rare and expensive because acquiring it is no joke. Ambergris is sperm whale vomit. It is prized also for its healing properties and fragrance as well.

Grains of Paradise

Want something similar to black pepper? Grains of Paradise are dried seeds from Africa. They are expensive because the demand for them isn’t as great as for black pepper.

Sumac

Sumac are dried and ground fruits of the Rhus plant. It’s common in Middle Eastern dishes as a garnish and is made into a beverage in North America.

Fennel Pollen

Fennel seed is used for its sweet taste. It comes from a flower that is difficult to create that is why it’s almost as expensive as saffron.

Amchur Powder

Sometimes spelled amchoor or aamchur, amchur powder is made from dried and powdered unripe green mangoes. When used as a seasoning, it gives a tangy citrus flavor.

Wattleseed

Wattleseed has been used by Australian Aborigines for thousands of years. These seeds are dried, roasted and then crushed. Its flavor will remind you of chocolate, coffee and hazelnuts.

Ajwain

Sometimes called ajowan, carom and bishop’s weed, ajwain are the leaves and fruit of an herb. These are fried or dried-roasted in butter called ghee before they are used in food preparation.

Truffle Salt

Truffles salt comes the Mediterranean sea. So how is it different from other sea salt? It contains ground black truffles.

Anardana

Anardana comes from the pods of pomegranates. If you’re looking to buy some, make sure you’re prepared to shed bucks because they’re pricey. It is used as a seasoning because of its sour flavor.

Nigella Seeds

Nigella seeds are one of the oldest known spices in the world. Also called kalonji, its black seeds are used for their bitter and pungent aroma.

Asafetida

This is the powdered gum resin of the asafetida plant. It is used for its acrid and bitter flavors. You have to heat it in oil or butter to make the flavor milder.

Kala Jeera

This is called black cumin by some chefs. These are seeds from plants that belong to the parsley family. They are often confused with the kalonji and cumin spices. Black cumin should be dark brown in color and crescent-shaped.

Urfa Biber

Called isot pepper, urfa biber are dried Turkish chili pepper. They are usually maroon or red in color and they turn to purple or black when dried.

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