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Techniques - Using Herbs and Spices

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© Provided by DKBooks

© Provided by DKBooks

© Provided by DKBooks

© Provided by DKBooks

Using Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices are essential for adding aroma and flavor to a slow-cooked dish. Experience will teach you which spices to use with which foods, so use them sparingly at first. Add woody herbs, such as thyme and bay, at the beginning of slow cooking, but delicate ones, such as parsley and mint, are best added at the end as they can lose their potency. Chilies, on the other hand, can intensify on slow cooking.

Making a bouquet garni

This is a bundle of herbs used to flavor a sauce. For a classic combination, tie sprigs of thyme and parsley and a bay leaf together. You could also include sage or rosemary.

Seeding and cutting chilies

Slice chilies in half lengthwise then scrape out the seeds (this will reduce their heat, so leave if you wish). Slice or chop finely; wearing plastic gloves is a good idea.

Dry-roasting spices

To dry-roast spices such as cloves, cinnamon, and star anise, place them in an oven preheated to 325°F (160°C), or fry them in a dry pan until lightly browned.

Frying spices in oil

When spices are fried until lightly colored, their flavor gets trapped in the oil. This is called tempering. The oil is used along with the spices at the start or end of cooking.

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