Analyzing my cooking pattern, I notice that I have 3 "go-to" spices that I essentially add to every dish (no joke)
In an effort to expand my culinary horizons, I ask, What spices do you find yourself always reaching for?
Edit: I guess I should also ask, does anyone know of a reason why I should limit using these on the regular?
i cant choose three. most frequently i cook with cumin, coriander, smoked paprika and cinnamon for spices. i use a lot of spice blends from north africa and the middle east like harissa, garam masala and baharat. grains of paradise are used a lot around here, and tellicherry pepper.
in the non-spice world i use a lot of garlic, various salts, preserved lemon peel, dill, thyme, rosemary, basil... my favorite flavor is from chile peppers though. i ALWAYS have (get this) aleppo pepper, urfa biber, chipotle mecco, de arbol, cascabel, ancho, chimayo, gujillo and new mexico green chiles. its a sickness i have. this is why i couldnt stop laughing when someone suggested i give up nightshades and capsicum for my MS- NOT. GONNA. HAPPEN.
I can't just pick three...but here are my top choices: Garlic, onion, paprika, cayenne, black pepper, cinnamon, and sea salt are the ones I can't live without.
I make homemade baked sweet potato fries: sweet potato chopped into fry like slices, tossed in olive oil, garlic, onion, cayenne or paprika and cinnamon. After they come out of the oven a light dusting of sea salt. They are AMAZING.
also most of my meats are cooked with garlic, onion, and black pepper.
I'm excited to hear what others say as I want to mix it up more.
Freshly ground Black Pepper!!! (I think I would die without this)
A good Cajun spice mix (I make my own - http://www.food.com/recipe/the-best-creole-cajun-seasoning-mix-186029)
Ahhh, so many :D erm, today I would say ginger, cumin and cayenne pepper, ask me another day and you'll probably get a different answer :D oooh, cinnamon's a good one for pork...... I also love the spice blends like chinese 5 spice or allspice.
Your top 3 have been mine as well, for most of my cooking life - I think they're the staples in any Indian household. Onion and garlic as well, if we're considering those spices.
Cumin can be mildly estrogenic - this is traditionally countered by the indoles and sulfur compounds in mustard seeds. Their taste contribution is subtle, and an acquired taste for some people, but they're indispensable to me now.
Lately I've been trying for more variety, shifting towards European herbs/spices. Black pepper, thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil are my new favorites.
Fennel and poppy seeds are also interesting, if you've never tried them.
I would NEVER willingly limit myself to 3 spices, but if I was stranded on the mythical desert island with only three, they would be ginger, garlic and cayenne. Herbs would be extra right? For those, fresh basil, rosemary and some mint for tea. I'll use the citrus rinds from the trees over next to the coconut palm for the rest of my seasoning needs.