Being Malaysian, I believe most of us are born with 1001 Asian taste buds, hence herbs and spices are such a big part of our lives. And I bet every household here in Malaysia (or any rumah rakyat Malaysia across the globe) have herbs and spices rack in their kitchen kan? BUT only few clearly recognize and know what are those stuff and their proper usage.
Anyway, I'm one of those people who always have difficulty to differentiate between types of herbs and spices and their uses. Lagi-lagi kalau resepi orang putih, haiyohhh I tell you, meraban mata mencari bahan dekat supermarket tu @___@ And very often, without any specific need and reason, I just beli and beli sebab seronok tengok botol spices berderet dekat dapur -_____-"
But not anymore, because here, a special entry on list of commonly used herbs and spices which hopefully, may come in handy to every amateur cook like me :P Don't worry, you can often find below items in the spice aisle at most major supermarkets in town.
You know, those being sold in the little jars, except the fact that price for each little bottle can sometimes be really pricey. :P Talk about Mc Cormick and Masterfoods lah, or else you can just buy those under Tesco brand, confirm murah, ranging from RM3.90-RM6.90 jer tau.
- Allspice - Cakes, puddings, dessert, fruit preserves or marinate meat dishes. Taste like a mix of nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves & black pepper.
- Aniseed (Jintan Manis) - Garnish. Always used in combination with Cumin (Jintan Putih).
- Basil (Daun Selasih) - Salads, sauces, meat dishes, vegetables such as potatoes & spinach.
- Bay Leaves (Daun Salam) - Soup, stew, tomato sauces.
- Cardamom (Buah Pelaga) - Rice dishes, cakes, pastries.
- Cayenne Pepper (Cili Merah la kan?)
- Chives (Daun Kucai) - Add mild onion taste to salads, soup, egg and meat dishes.
- Cilantro/Coriander (Daun Ketumbar) - Curries, pies, soups, stuffing.
- Cinnamon (Kayu Manis) - custard, milk, coffee, cake, ice cream, cookies and pastries.
- Cloves (Bunga Cengkih) - Roast chicken/meat, soups, stews.
- Cumin (Jintan Putih) - Rice dishes, curries, stews.
- Dill - Seasonings, salads, soups, meat, fish, egg, potatoes, gravies.
- Fenugreek (Halba) - Gravies, curries.
- Galangal (Lengkuas)
- Garlic (Bawang Putih)
- Ginger (Halia)
- Italian Seasoning - Great in pasta, sauces, pizza, meat marinades, soups, stews.
- Kaffir Lime Leaves (Daun Limau Purut)
- Leek - Fish, seafoods
- Mint (Daun Pudina)
- Nutmeg (Buah Pala) - Baked dishes, soups.
- Oregano - Tomato and cheese dishes, meat, pizza, pasta.
- Paprika (mix of dried bell peppers) - Shellfish, fish, salads, egg, garnish.
- Parsley - Salads, sauces, garnish.
- Rosemary - Meat recipes especially lamb, sauces, marinades.
- Saffron - Rice, stews, fish. Very nice but expensive! Expensive sebab each flower yang produce saffron, cuma ada 3 stigmas. So imagine, you need a whole lot of flowers for only few threads. And it's hand picked too. I read it on the internet and said that every 14000 stigmas only produced one ounce of saffron threads -_______-" That little.
- Sage - Meat stuffing and seasoning.
- Thyme - Soups, chicken and fish marinades, cheese, salads, sauces and stuffing.
- Turmeric (Kunyit) - shall I explain more? ;)