Base Spices for Different Ethnic Foods

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Spices give a dish its signature flavor. And knowing what combinations of spices to use makes your dish stand out from everyone else’s. So, if you’re wondering why one bite can flood your brain with memories and images of a specific place, it’s probably safe to say that it’s because of the spices!

Chinese Five Spice (China)

Five Spice is used in many Chinese dishes. It’s a combination of cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise, and Szechuan peppercorn. People who grew up with Five Spice know just how much of each ingredient to use to create their own homemade Chinese Five Spice. While there are many recipes out there, the best food to pair Chinese Five Spice with is fried chicken or fried pork cutlets. Simply sprinkle some on the top and you’ll be transported to a street market somewhere in China.

Gomasio (Japan)

Gomasio is a spice made from sesame seeds and salt. It’s sprinkled on plain, white rice to give it extra flavor. Since Japanese dishes are meant to be paired with rice, gomasio can help enhance the flavors of whatever vegetable or meat you’re eating. Many people prefer gomasio to soy sauce because it contains less salt. Plus, you get the added health benefits of the sesame seed.

Herbes de Provence (France)

Herbes de Provence is made up of a mix of herbs – thyme, basil, rosemary, tarragon, savory, marjoram, oregano, and bay leaf. This mix goes well with any sort of roasted meat, such as chicken and pork. You can also add Herbes de Provence to roasted vegetables to enhance the flavor or just jazz up everything. 

Pumpkin Spice (North America)

Pumpkin spice is the unofficial smell of fall. It’s one of the most American spices since pumpkin only grew in this area of the world. It’s a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves that are then added to lattes, coffee, and even beer! If you really want to get in the fall mood, throw on a fuzzy sweater and boots while sipping on your drink.

Chili Powder (Latin America)

Latin American dishes just wouldn’t taste right without chili powder. This spice is made from ground, dried chili peppers. It gives a nice zing to any dish, whether it be tacos or rice or seafood. There are any types of chili peppers made from various types of chilis, so choose wisely and make sure to keep a glass of milk nearby.


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