Herbs and Spices are considered to be the heart and soul of every dish. Enthusiastic chefs around the world use them to add texture, aroma, color, and flavour to cooking.
Here is how to use these magical and naturally grown ingredients in the best possible way. They are guaranteed to enhance the taste when used in the right way. Combine them together to produce a rich symphony of flavors or use them separately to relish that distinctive tinge. Before any further ado let us understand their properties and put them to proper use in your kitchen.
A little secret about the herbs and spices
Generally, herbs are plants with savory or aromatic properties. Herbs refer to the leafy green or flowering parts of a plant, either fresh or dried. For the culinary purpose, Herbs are used for flavoring and garnishing food. Common kitchen herbs are basil, cilantro, chamomile, oregano, mint, and parsley.
Spices may be available in several forms: fresh, whole dried, or pre-ground dried. However, most spices are dried. A spice is a seed, fruit, root, bark, or other plant substance. For cooking purpose, spices are primarily used for flavoring or coloring food. Common kitchen spices are cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, coriander, cumin, and allspice. For a full list click here.
For a full list of Herbs and Spices Click here...
Since ancient times, herbs and spices have been used throughout the world, but now this secret has been re discovered and their usage have been increased tenfold in the modern era.
No doubt, both add flavor to the food and enhance the taste, but they are also beneficial for a healthy diet. Both have anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to heal body cells quickly. Moreover, their flavors are a healthy substitute for unwanted chemicals like salt, fat, and sugar which are dangerous for health. They also act as appetizers.
Often both end up in the same kitchen rack because of their use for seasoning. However, both are different from each other in terms of properties and tastes. Comprehensively, both herbs and spices are part of plants, but herbs can be fresh or dried whereas spices are mostly dried.
There is a famous saying that herbs and spices give an unpleasant medicinal smell to our dishes. In fact if used properly and in correct quantity they produce a tantalizing aroma and add a sensational flavour to our cooking.
Herbs have a subtle flavor and sweet aroma. In contrast, spices have a more robust flavor and sharp aroma. We can add extra herbs, but additional spices will destroy your dish. With spices, less is more. For example, an extra pinch of oregano in White Pasta Sauce will enhance the flavor and aroma, but extra black pepper will make your pasta very spicy.
Herbs and spices are used to enhance flavor in various cuisines and drinks, such as savory dishes, desserts, jams, sauces, chutneys, dips, cocktails, and mocktails. Leena Spices has an authentic use with easy to cook recipes.
The skill of combining Herbs and Spices
- When it comes to seasoning, little is okay. Adding too much will destroy the original taste of that dish. For example, an extra spoon of cinnamon will make the cookies unable to eat.
- Don’t spoil the broth by adding two or more potent herbs into the same dish. One strong flavor of herb and the other mild will complement better.
- For optimal flavour dried herbs are put in the beginning, while fresh herbs are added in the end. For example, we add oregano in between cooking while we add parsley in the end.
- Cold dishes need extra time to blend. That is why, we have to add herbs and spices hours before serving. For example, we rub spices on raw meat and leave it to marinate so that the meat can absorb proper flavor.
- The more you chop, the more flavor it will generate. We have to chop the fresh leaves finely, as the more the number of surface cuts, the more the food will absorb the flavor of herbs.
- An ancient device for milling by pounding is a good example. A mortar and pestle come in handy when it comes to powdering dry herbs. Always keep it in the kitchen if you are an avid user.
- Double the recipe, half the herbs. When we double any recipe, we will not double the quantity of herbs. We will use 50% more herbs to get the right taste.
- Better dried out than fresh. Dried herbs are more flavorful and suitable than fresh ones.
- In a nutshell just keep in mind that 2 teaspoons of fresh herbs are equivalent to three quarter of dried or a quarter of powdered.
How to Store Herbs and Spices Properly To Protect their Flavor
- Proper storage is necessary to retain the natural flavor of herbs and spices.
Store dried herbs and spices in a cool, dry and dark place (preferably in the cabinets) in air-tight containers.
- Gluten free dried herbs and spices can stay without losing any of their properties. Leena Spices is the company that have spice blends with no additives and preservatives. They are pure and chili free.
- It is convenient but not preferable. Storing herbs and spices near the stove can be handy but not a good option as heat, air and light ruin the natural flavor.
- Check for life. Rub the herbs between your fingers; if you cannot smell its aroma, it will be time to purchase fresh supply.
- Fresh herbs like to be treated like a bouquet. We have to remove the stems, vertically place the herbs in the water (preferably glass of water) and the refrigerator.
- To increase its shelf life we can freeze fresh herbs to give them more energy. To do so, we have to wash them and pat dry them. Snip the stems and store the upper part in the freezer bag.
- We can also store fresh herbs in the freezer bag after washing, chopping, and freezing them in ice cube trays to save on extra time later.
The art of making butter chicken masala curry spice has been perfected over the centuries with recipes being passed from generation to generation and family to family. With these recipes comes not only ingredients but also techniques and tips that make cooking your classic Butter Chicken curry easy.
Try our top 9 tips when you make your next Butter Chicken
Go simple with spices.
With so many spices out there, it can all seem a little overwhelming. The best thing to do is start simple and buy and tried and tested spice mix such as the Leena Butter Chicken Curry Masala Spice. From there you can start to experiment with other spices and herbs.
Buy spices in small quantities.
When you open a pack of spice it can lose its kick after some time, so make sure you are buying in smaller quantities while you’re trying new recipes.
Machine power is best when grinding your own.
Feeling like an expert already? If you do choose to grind your own spices, then make sure you used something like a coffee grinder. Grinding your own spices for a butter chicken can be fun but make sure to replace blades often as they will weaken.
Use the freezer.
The freezer is a great place to store specialised ‘fresh’ ingredients such as curry leaves and dill. Having it ready to go in the freezer means you don’t have to buy it fresh.
Freeze minced garlic.
Food prepping is key to making that wonderful butter chicken. Try freezing minced garlic and minced ginger in ice cube trays. Once frozen you can push them out and throw them in a zip lock bag ready for that butter chicken curry. The best time-saver.
Use Greek Yoghurt instead of cream.
Greek Yoghurt is amazing at adding that thick and creamy texture to a butter chicken. It’s also a lot healthier than cream.
Adding a pinch of sugar while the oil is heating up helps to create a natural red colour in your butter chicken curry. It is optional and not always recommended.
Learn to use a pressure cooker and you will save yourself so much time in the kitchen.
Make extra food!
There is a lot of love and effort that goes into making a butter chicken curry – so you may as well make sure you have more for leftovers.