Spices are indispensable in every kitchen. They have the ability to transform a basic meal into a burst of flavour. They are excellent for us because of their various health benefits. They also allow us to take our sense of taste on a journey by flavouring and colouring our food at minimal cost! Don't forget that using spices in cooking minimises the amount of salt we use in our meals.

History of spices

Brief history of spices, there are always Arabs involved….

A spice is a fragrant or pungent plant product that is used to season dishes. The spices can be obtained from bark (cinnamon), flowers (saffron, cloves), leaves (tea), fruits (pepper, dill, mustard), bulbs (garlic, onion, ginger) or seeds (fennel, coriander).
Spices are used in small quantities in cooking, as a preservative, seasoning or coloring. Spices are to be distinguished from other products used to flavor dishes, such as aromatic herbs or fruits. (Wikipedia)
The spices were used 5000 years before our era for culinary and medical needs.
During Antiquity, in Mesopotamia, the Assyrian and Babylonian nations already knew the different taste, medicinal and perfumery utility of spices.
The spice trade had a good place in the trade in gold and precious stones.
The Arab merchants were the first to bring spices from China and India to the West.
From the 15th century, Portuguese navigators crossed the Cape of Good Hope and embarked on this so profitable trade.
The Spice Route was at this time controlled in the east by the Arabs and in the south by the Portuguese.



Why mix spices?

The combination of spices has an effect on the virtues of the spices! For example, if you combine turmeric with pepper, the benefits are increased tenfold!

Blending is an excellent technique for getting the most out of the tastes and qualities of your spices!

Blends are often easier to use than spices. They are therefore perfect for those who are afraid to use spices in their cooking!

How to make your own spice mixes at home?

A ready-made spice mix is very practical in the kitchen. These spice blends have the impact of a real alchemy of flavours, making you want to develop your own spice blends. Here are some examples of spices that blend well together:

  • Turmeric,
  • Mustard,
  • Cumin,
  • Ginger,
  • Coriander.

You should also be aware of typical spice combinations to avoid taste mistakes.

The most famous spice blends

Here are some commonly used spice blends that you can use to enhance the taste of your food and dishes:

The Curry

Widely used in India, from the word "kari" which means simmered. Curry is made of a mixture of spices which are : ginger, coriander, cardamom, cloves, mustard seed, aniseed, fennel, garlic, and especially turmeric which gives it its distinctive yellow colour.

The Massala

Another spice blend from India. Massala goes very well with chicken. This spice mix consists of :

Coriander seed, black pepper, cumin, turmeric, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon, cumin, salt, oregano, garlic.

Ras el hanout

Ras el Hanout comes from the Algerian desert and Morocco. This mixture composed of more than thirty spices is complex and only highly qualified people can make it, hence its name " ras el hanout "which literally means: "head of the grocery shop".

The Cajun

This spice mixture is ideal and very popular for making a marinade. It consists of thyme, red onion, black pepper, cumin and paprika.

The dukkah

This spice mixture comes straight from Egypt and consists of spices such as cumin, coriander and peppermint, as well as some dried fruit. It is used to season lamb, fish and chicken.