10 Most Popular & Exotic Spices

10 Most Popular & Exotic Spices

There are many wonderful spices around the world that make food taste simply amazing, with each one having its own unique flavor profile. In this blog, we look at 10 of the very best available, while also providing a little bit about where they originate and what they offer.

So, sit back, relax and let us take you on a journey through all the amazing flavors included in our international and Turkish spices list

#1 - Ground Cumin

A staple of the Mediterranean diet, cumin is also native to China, India and South America. Ground from ‘seeds’ (which are actually dried fruit) cumin offers a mild peppery taste, 

with a warm and earthy aftertone and it’s used in many dishes like Mexican fajitas, curries from India and in middle-eastern cuisine like hummus.

#2 - Harissa Spice

Offering a smoky, peppery taste like many Turkish spices, Harissa comes from the Middle East and it has more than a little sweetness to it too. With deeper flavor than you’d get with chilli, it’s a spice that can add quite a kick to your cuisine, so use it sparingly!

#3 - Marash Pepper

The next on our list is one that’s used in many Turkish Spices recipes - Marash pepper and it comes from the South-eastern area of the country. Looking a little like latin American chiles, but not quite as shriveled and crispy, Marash pepper provides a beautifully sweet and hot picante to any dish they’re used in.

#4 - Fenugreek Leaves

Found in Southern Europe and the mediterranean, fenugreek is a herb that can be used dried or fresh. It’s typically used in dishes like curries, rice dishes and to season potatoes. Taste-wise, it offers a subtle sweetness, with hints of nut, celery and maple.

#5 - Cardamom

Next on our international and Turkish spices list is cardamom, which is commonly found in Sri Lanka and Southern India. With a piney, near menthol-like taste, it’s popular for use in both curries and stews to enhance and amplify the flavors of the other ingredients.

#6 - Baharat

Moving to the African continent now, we look at Baharat that originates from northern Tunisia. Typically created by blending ground cinnamon with dried rosebud and adding a little black pepper, it’s not at all spicy, but it is smoky, sweet and very aromatic, which is why it’s best to only use a little.

#7 - Berbere

While we’re still in Africa, we look at Berbere, which comes from Ethiopia, with the word actually meaning ‘hot’ in the native language. Needless to say, it’s great for adding to food that requires a ‘kick’ and is very popular for use in marinades, stews, soups and as a dry rub for meat.

#8 - Ras El Hanout

Again originating in Africa, but to the North West in Morocco, is the next entrant on our international and Turkish spices list - Ras El Hanout. Providing a bitter, pungent and woody taste - primarily because of the cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg it contains - it makes food ‘warm’ rather than hot and it’s great for meat rubs, stews and tajines.

#9 - Black Pepper

While black pepper originally comes from India, it’s been used in Turkey long enough for it to be included as one of our Turkish spices. As well as adding a frissant to your cooking, black pepper also helps to bring out all the wonderful tastes in mediterranean cuisine.

#10 - Chipotle Morita

Created from the Mexican Jalapeno, Chipotle has become very popular north of the border in the United States for use in many different dishes. Also coming with a mild sweetness, as well as a spicy kick, it’s wonderfully versatile, with meats, stews and all kinds of food benefitting from its addition.

A Spice for Every Dish & Occasion

The many spices from around the world can add an extra zing to your food, as well as helping to complement the flavors of your cooking ingredients. We hope that you are able to try out some of the spices on our list yourself to see just how amazing they are - something you can do by visiting the Little Istanbul shop today.

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