Herbs & Spices – A to Z

Akudjura

Refers to the crushed version of bush tomato. The flavour is a pungent sharp tamarillo – caramelised sun-dried tomato flavour. Akudjura can be added directly to any dish – it does not require further preparation. Uses include seasoning for soups, vegetables, salads, cheese.

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Allspice

Allspice, also called Jamaica pepper, pepper, myrtle pepper, pimenta, or newspice, is a spice that is the dried unripe fruit (“berries”) of Pimenta dioica, a mid-canopy tree native to the Greater Antilles, southern Mexico, and Central America, now cultivated in many warm parts of the world. The fruit are picked when green and unripe and, traditionally, dried in the sun.

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Amchoor

A fruity spice powder made from dried unripe green mangoes and is used as a citrusy seasoning.

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Andaliman

The dried fruit of andaliman has an aromatic odour that, for most species, can be described as lemon-like, with more or less pronounced warm. The taste is pungent and biting; it may take some time to develop, but in the end produces a strongly numbing, almost anesthetic feeling on the tongue.

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Annatto

Annatto, sometimes called roucou or achiote, is derived from the seeds of the achiote trees of tropical and subtropical regions around the world. The seeds are sourced to produce a carotenoid-based yellow to orange food colouring and flavour.

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Black Pepper

These come in different colours and potencies. Green peppercorns are packed in brine, vinegar, or salt soon after they’re picked. They’re mild and soft and can be eaten whole. Black pepper and white pepper are both dried, and sold either ground or as whole peppercorns.

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Black Salt – Kala Namak

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Kala namak (Hindi) or bire noon (Nepalese; literally “black salt”) is a type of rock salt, a salty and pungent-smelling condiment used in South Asia. It is also known as Himalayan black salt, Sulemani namak, bit lobon, kala noon, or pada loon. It is found mostly in the Himalayas of Nepal.

The condiment is …

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Bolivian Coriander

The plant is commonly grown in Mexico and South America for use in Salsas.

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Bouquet Garni

The bouquet garni (French for garnished bouquet) is a bundle of herbs usually tied together with string and mainly used to prepare soup, stock, and various stews. The bouquet is cooked with the other ingredients, but is removed prior to consumption.

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Bush Tomato – Akudjura

Regarded as a staple, bush tomatoes that had dried on the shrub in low humidity desert conditions were gathered and ground with water to produce a thick paste which was formed into large balls and left to dry in the blazing sun. The high acidity characterised in the tangy flavour and rich vitamin C content acted as a preservative, making storage over long periods of time possible and these balls were often wedged into the forks of trees for later use.

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Carom Seed

Ajwain seeds are used as a spice. The greyish-green seeds are striped and curved (similar to cumin or caraway seeds in appearance), often with a fine silk stalk attached. They are usually sold whole. The seeds are often chewed on their own for medicinal value, tasting bitingly hot and bitter, leaving the tongue numb for a while.

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Chile de árbol

The Chile de árbol (Spanish for tree chilli) is a small and potent Mexican chilli pepper also known as bird’s beak chilli and rat’s tail chilli. These chillies are about 5 to 7.6 cm long, and 0.65 to 0.95 cm in diameter.

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Chilli Powder

Chilli powder (also powdered chilli or chile powder) is the dried, pulverised fruit of one or more varieties of chilli pepper, sometimes with the addition of other spices (when it may be known as chilli powder blend). It is used as a spice to add piquancy and flavour to dishes.

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Chironji

Chirongi nuts are small pale and speckled with dark patches. They are slightly flat and round in shape and are the size of lentils. They have a slightly nutty aroma and a pronounced taste that is between nutty and musky. They taste just like almonds and usually are added in kheers, payasams and kulfis.

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Coriander

Coriander, also called cilantro or dhania, is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. Coriander is native to southern Europe and North Africa to southwestern Asia.

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Culantro

In Australia, Europe, and the United States it is not well known outside Latino and Caribbean communities, and the name culantro sometimes causes confusion with coriander, the leaves of which can be known as cilantro, and which culantro is said to taste like.

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Cumin Seed

Cumin seeds belong to the parsley and dill family and resemble caraway seeds, though they are different in flavour from them. Oblong shaped, these pale or dark brownish seeds are a very popular spice in the world and are used as a spice for their distinctive aroma.It is an aromatic spice with bitter and warm flavour.

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Epazote

Epazote is an herb well-known to Mexican and Caribbean cooking. The name comes from the Aztec (Nahuatl) epazotl. It is also known as pigweed or Mexican tea and is frequently regarded as a garden pest.

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Filé Powder

Filé powder, also called gumbo filé, is a spicy herb made from the dried and ground leaves of the North American sassafras tree (Sassafras albidum).

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Galangal

Galangal is a member of the tropical ginger family, and has a sharp, strong aroma and hot, clean taste.

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