Cooking is true joy. Transforming a handful of ingredients into a delicious experience is a form of art and eating that food is a privilege indeed! So, those of us who know our way around the kitchen and cooking, know the importance of herbs - even a small change in the quantity can change the entire essence of a dish. Unlike spices, herbs are more subtle in flavour, but when misused or unused, make a whole world of difference. In some cuisines, like Italian, herbs are not just a suggestion in cooking but a hard and fast rule. In other cuisines, like Chinese, herbs are accompaniments and embellishments for other flavours such as meat or dairy products. Herbs aren’t just for cooking though, they’re also a major staple in cakes, dips and sauces. So, for those of us who want to know about the herbs used in cooking, or want to re-acquaint ourselves with what is out there, here is a list of herbs used as taste enhancers that you need to have in your kitchen:
Basil has a sweet and pungent taste and is heavily used in salads,sandwiches,soups and sauces. It is commonly paired with tomato and mozzarella, usually with some bread. However, in cooking, dried basil is usually added at the beginning to develop its flavour. If you’re cooking Italian or French, this herb is an absolute must-add.
Parsley has a mild and earthy flavour that lets other flavours become stars of the show while giving background support. It has a pungent flavour, so it is best to use it in moderation. It is generally used as a garnish when the leaves are fresh and dried leaves are used in cooking. Parsley sauteed in butter makes a great bed to grill fish or chicken and cut-up fresh parsley work amazingly well as a salad garnish.
What jeera is to Indian cuisine, sage is to Italian cuisine. Stews and other slow-cooked dishes borrow heavily from sage’s flavour, especially pairing well with fatty meats. It also works well in pasta sauces and butter sauces. However, when used too much, it can lead to a bitter aftertaste that can ruin the whole dish. Use with caution and follow the recipes to the T if you want to successfully use sage in your cooking.
Dried fenugreek leaves are used mostly in Indian cooking. They give a dish its full essence, such as with aloo methi and butter chicken, but also work as a flavour enhancer when cooking dal. It can also be kneaded into the dough to make delicious parathas or chapatis. If you’re feeling extra decadent, use a spoonful in everyday curries to add a uniquely great taste.
In Latin, rosemary means “dew of the ocean”, a poetic name for a truly gorgeous herb. If you can find fresh sprigs, it brings a new dimension to cooking with lamb and pork. On the vegetarian side, sprinkle fresh rosemary with olive oil on potatoes and roast for a truly comforting dish. Rosemary has a fresh, citric and earthy flavour and is especially used in Mediterranean cooking. However, much like other herbs, its strong taste calls for a light hand when used in cooking.
Now that you know about the herbs used in cooking, all you have to do is to invest in quality kitchen products and herbs and cook up a storm for your family! For any quality kitchen appliance, check outWonderchef!
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