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Taste Test: A Guide to Black Pepper

Spice Hunting Max Falkowitz 18 comments

There's no shortage of places to get your black pepper from; as one of the world's most popular spices, it's grown all across the world's spice regions, from India to Indonesia to Ecuador and Brazil. We don't talk much about terroir when it comes to spices, but it's worth thinking about. After all, peppercorns are fruits just like grapes, and soil, growing conditions, and variety of peppercorn are all going to have an impact on flavor profile. How strong are these flavor differences, and how do they pan out with food? We tasted peppercorns from seven major growing regions to find out. More

5 Great Spices for Grilled Beef

Spice Hunting Max Falkowitz Post a comment

Sure, we've talked about grilled lamb already, and we've dabbled with chicken. But let's be honest: if you're grilling this summer, you're grilling beef. Sure, great beef—be it a fat porterhouse, a svelte skirt steak, or a classed up filet mignon—doesn't really need anything more than salt (and fine, maybe some pepper and butter), but a few choice spices don't hurt. More

5 Great Spices for Grilled Lamb

Spice Hunting Max Falkowitz 3 comments

The arrival of Spring means some wonderful things, like new harvests of ramps, peas, and asparagus. But it also means a new batch of tender, fatty, wonderfully flavorful lamb. Here are five great spices for lamb on the grill. More

5 Great Spices for Grilled Chicken

Spice Hunting Max Falkowitz 10 comments

There are some choices additions for grilled chicken to boost its flavor all the more—especially spices. Stick to spices that complement the roasted, meaty flavors of grilling. Check out the slideshow for our favorite grilled chicken spices, and how to use them for your next grill session. More

Spice Hunting: Caraway

Spice Hunting Max Falkowitz 10 comments

I've been wanting to write about caraway all winter long, but somehow winter never happened and I never got around to that bowl of sauerkraut stew. Fortunately, loving caraway isn't weather-dependent, and this spice has plenty of uses beyond flavoring your sauerkraut or adding texture to your rye bread. Caraway is a great spice for adding Old World flavor to modern dishes. More

Halloumi-stuffed Olive Oil Flatbread

Serious Eats Max Falkowitz Post a comment

[Photograph: Max Falkowitz] About the author: Max Falkowitz is the editor of Serious Eats: New York. You can follow him on Twitter at @maxfalkowitz.... More

Spice Hunting: Annato Seeds (Achiote)

Spice Hunting Max Falkowitz 6 comments

Pop quiz: What spice is used in Latin American rice dishes, English cheese manufacturing, and Vietnamese braises? Okay, the title of the post gives this one away. But let's talk about annato for a minute, the great understudy of the spice world. More

Achiote Oil

Serious Eats Max Falkowitz 1 comment

This fragrant red-orange oil can be used to color and flavor all sorts of Latin American and Caribbean rice dishes, stews, and braises. The oil forms a mild base to build layers of flavor with browned meat, onion, garlic, fresh chile, citrus, cumin, and tomato. More

Spice Hunting: Berbere, Ethiopian Chili Powder

Spice Hunting Max Falkowitz 6 comments

Like niter kibbeh, berbere is used in a bunch of Ethiopian dishes, either as a primary spice or an added layer of flavor. You can think of it like Ethiopian chili powder: a chile-based blend at once earthy, sweet, and hauntingly aromatic, with notes of fragrant cardamom, fenugreek, and clove. It'd be a mistake to say that berbere is a one-stop Ethiopian cooking lesson, but it's a damn good start. One whiff and your sense memories will definitely say, "Ethiopian restaurant." More

Beef Tibs

Serious Eats Max Falkowitz 1 comment

The sauce in this dish gets its kick from berbere, an Ethiopian chili powder fragrant with cardamom, fenugreek, and clove. Use it once and you'll see why a good chunk of Ethiopian cuisine is built on it. More

Spice Hunting: Gochujang, Korean Chile Paste

Spice Hunting Max Falkowitz 23 comments

Sriracha's lovely. Harissa is a fiery punch in the mouth with flavor to match. But if you're looking for a sweeter, funkier flavor from your chiles, gochujang (pronounced go-choo-jong) is the thing for you. More

Fried Rice Cakes with Bacon and Cabbage

Serious Eats Max Falkowitz 3 comments

Render bacon till really crisp, fry Korean rice cakes in the bacon fat, then stir fry half a head of napa cabbage in what's left. Combine everything together with enough gochujang to make a sauce for a meal that takes almost no effort but reaps boundless rewards. More

Spice Hunting: Make Spice Kits for Fast, Creative Cooking

Spice Hunting Max Falkowitz 2 comments

If I have all the time in the world, I'll make small batch of blended spices for every dish I cook, but since that rarely happens, I rely on spice kits. A spice kit is basically a blend-to-be, a shortcut that can still be customized for specific dishes. Stashing spices together will make you more likely to use them. More

Spice Hunting: On Blending Chiles and Herbs, and the Spice of the Janissaries

Max Falkowitz 5 comments

Blending herbs with dried chiles restores some of their greener flavors while complimenting their newfound sweetness.The resulting flavor is so many things at once: sweet, herbal, spicy, and almost meaty. It makes for the unique kind of satisfaction that comes from a dish that tastes complete. More

Baked Eggplant with Lamb and Walnut Sauce

Serious Eats Max Falkowitz Post a comment

A Turkish-inspired dish with a ragu as complex as bolognese that can be made in a fraction of the time. The principal spice blend in the sauce is called janissary spice, the product of Turkish spice blender in Istanbul, but it's easy to replicate at home. Seek out maraş chiles, which are intensely sweet, not that hot, and carry the rich flavors of sun-warmed tomatoes with hints of red bell pepper for the blend. You can find them at Cambridge's Formaggio Kitchen and Oakland's Market Hall foods (both sell online as well). Easier-to-find aleppo makes a good, if not more tart and spicy substitute. More

Spice Hunting: How to Increase Your Spice Tolerance

Spice Hunting Max Falkowitz 18 comments

A common complaint I hear from spice newbies is that their palates just can't take hot dishes. And while I'm not one of those people who eats spicy food just for the sake of it, some of the world's best cuisines employ heat as an essential part of their flavor profile. So what's a globally-minded spice wimp to do? More

Spice Hunting: New Things To Do with Mint

Spice Hunting Max Falkowitz 20 comments

Leftover mint is a killer for me. Unless I'm making some kind of minty ice cream, in which case my technique is use ALL the mint!, I usually have some leftover leaves in the fridge. Mint expires especially quickly; here are some technique-based applications that you can whip up at a moment's notice. More

Spice Hunting: Palm and Coconut Sugar

Spice Hunting Max Falkowitz 19 comments

Spice Hunting's tour of the world of specialty sugars has already explored earthy turbinado and rummy piloncillo; now it's time to talk about my absolute favorite: palm sugar. More

Spice Hunting: Seven Spice Powder (Shichimi Togarashi)

Spice Hunting Max Falkowitz 8 comments

At first glance seven spice powder may sound like a variant on Chinese five spice powder, but they couldn't be more different. Or rather, they're exactly as different as their native cuisines. Five spice, fragrant with sweet and spicy anise flavors, is the perfect compliment to meaty Chinese braises and barbecues. On the other hand, seven spice powder, or what the Japanese call shichimi togarashi, is practically built for the grilled meats, noodles, rice, and soups that so characterize Japanese cooking. More

Seven Spice Pork Lettuce Wraps

Serious Eats Max Falkowitz Post a comment

You can size up these patties to make full-on pork burgers, but I prefer smaller ones to wrap in tender lettuce and dip in a garlic-laced soy dipping sauce. Be careful not to compress the meat when forming the patties; they should just hold themselves together. Leftover dipping sauce can be served over rice or stir fried with leafy green vegetables as a side dish. More

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