When it comes to food, flavor is king. Quality ingredients and a sprinkle of salt are a start, but to really go all the way, stock up on some spices. Here are 5 staple spices every chef (AKA you!) should have at home:
Black pepper is the one spice every chef absolutely needs. Salt and pepper are sufficient for probably 90 percent of savory dishes, especially with high-quality ingredients.
Pepper provides a kick without a strong flavor, which allows for incredible versatility and highlights the natural flavors of the ingredients. If possible, opt for whole peppercorns.
While garlic gets a bad rap for causing a stink, nothing creates more fragrance and depth of flavor. Fresh garlic is always great, but garlic powder is a good alternative for when you don't have time and want to avoid the stinky fingers!
Most people associate cinnamon with sweet treats, but these spicy sticks are far more versatile. In addition to the spicy kick, cinnamon’s slight sweetness adds flavor complexity. Sprinkle ground cinnamon into spice rubs or toss a few sticks into marinades and spice bags to instantly add another dimension to the dish.
Ginger is the black pepper of Asian cuisine. It’s thrown into everything from stir-fries to soups to grilled fish. Ginger brings a bright zing that adds flavor, but more importantly, cuts through fat and banishes fishiness. It also serves to bring out the umami in dishes. Ginger works miracles, but be judicious, because ginger can quickly become overpowering!
Cumin is often overlooked in favor of more assertive spices, but this mellow yet aromatic spice is a true powerhouse. It works with nearly all flavor profiles and really gives any dish some extra flair, whether it's in Tex-Mex or Asian dishes.