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The Spice Lover's Guide to Herbs and Spices

The Spice Lover's Guide to Herbs and Spices

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Originally published in hardcover as The Contemporary Encyclopedia of Herbs & Spices: Seasonings for the Global Kitchen

Tony Hill

1. Cookery (Herbs) 2. Herbs


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Book Details
 Price
 2.50
 Pages
 695 p
 File Size 
 14,736 KB
 File Type
 PDF format
 ISBN-13

 ISBN-10
 978-0-764-59739-8 (pbk.)
 978-0-471-21423-6 (cloth)
 0-764-59739-6 (pbk.)
 0-471-21423-X (cloth) 
 Copyright©   
 2004 by Tony Hill 

PREFACE
Every culture in the world uses herbs and spices to enliven food and to create the
culinary signature of its native land. Select seeds, leaves, roots, bark, flowers,
and pods provide the special notes cooks summon up to make dishes sing.
Combinations of seasonings create indelible patterns of taste tied to specific
cuisines. Cumin and cilantro, for example, blend in a Latin beat. Ginger and star
anise proclaim an Asian accent. And saffron and pimentón speak of Spain.
Because dining has become so global, with many cuisines fused to startling
effect, herbs and spices are more sought after than ever before. Cooks have
become culinary adventurers, bravely seeking out new foods from all over the
globe. Foreign travel has introduced an incredible diversity of flavors, which,
back home, dominate the contemporary dining experience. Star chefs, always on
the lookout for the next hot trend, constantly experiment with exotic herbs,
spices, and rubs. They mix their own blends, and like white-coated chemists,
steep fragrant oils in glass jars, seeking yet another potent elixir to thrill their
customers’ ever more sophisticated palates.

With all this experience comes a vast array of new ingredients. Cooks want to
re-create the flavors of India, Thailand, and the Middle East. Where the spice
rack once stood neatly stocked with European herbs and sweet spices—basil,
rosemary, oregano, thyme, cinnamon, cloves—it now bulges with containers of
less familiar items: fenugreek, tabil, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves. Luckily
for the cook, the availability of these items has increased exponentially along
with the demand.
I’ve been a world traveler most of my adult life. Returning home from each
trip, my bags laden with packets, jars, and bags of fragrant spices and other
pungent ingredients, I would be compelled to re-create the exciting tastes I found
abroad. What came next was an odyssey of discovery. Inspired by the romance
of the past, I became a spice merchant, a modern-day Marco Polo of sorts,
tramping all over the world in search of adventure and the knowledge that goes
with the territory.
The history of the spice trade is filled with adventure, romance, and much
peril. As early as the second century B.C., spices were the exclusive provenance
of kings and the wealthy merchant class. Overland trade routes from Asian
plantations to European cities financed empires perched along the way. More
than five centuries ago, wars were waged over cargoes of cloves from the Banda
Islands of Indonesia, and the English and Portuguese dueled over trading rights
to nutmeg. And Malacca (Singapore today), a port poised at the gateway to the
oceanic routes to Europe, was conquered some eleven times in two hundred
years. It was the extraordinary profits from spice commerce that prodded
Magellan, funded by the queen of Spain, to try so desperately to discover a way
to sail around the globe.
Great caravans laden with cinnamon and peppercorns trekked across Asian
deserts, unloading their precious wares in the port of Constantinople. From there,
sailing ships carried the cargoes across the Mediterranean Sea to Venice, at that
time the spice-trade capital of the world, where they commanded the most
outrageous prices Europe had to offer. Andean chiles and Caribbean allspice
were deposited right next to Aztec gold in the treasure vaults of Spanish
conquistadores.
Marco Polo himself was motivated to travel to the East, lured in part by
profits from the spice trade. Old World trading centers such as Istanbul became
melting pots of culture and status, just as their kitchens blended spices and herbs
in culinary masterpieces laced with the essence of far-flung cuisines.
The spice trade today continues to encircle the globe. I’ve followed the same
paths of discovery and adventure—alas, without a sailing ship or a great Spanish
queen as financial backer. Mastering the finesse of spicing techniques has been
my goal. After years of roasting coriander, sifting rosemary, and grinding curry
blends, I now happily offer my own considerable number of the “tricks of the trade.”
In fact, The Contemporary Encyclopedia of Herbs & Spices presents more
than 125 pure herbs and spices, plus dozens of interesting blends. Here are
botanical facts, information on buying and storing, and, most important, cooking
uses for each listing. Recipes to accompany unusual seasonings pepper the book.
Photographs help to identify all the herbs and spices as well as provide a glimpse
into fields and harvests.
Some people seem intimidated by more complex spice combinations,
choosing to take a simpler approach, and that is fine too. There is no need to
spend hours making Indonesian sambal goreng to benefit from a knowledge of
spices. Imagine a simple perfect, sweet, garden-ripe sliced tomato. Add a tiny
dusting of Tellicherry peppercorn and a pinch of French sea salt, and that tomato
is transformed into a culinary epiphany. Even the casual condiment user can
vastly improve his or her dining experience by following the spice basics
included here.
The section on spice blends will help you re-create the flavors remembered
from visits to the Caribbean, Russia, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and beyond.
Armed with knowledge from these pages, you can make the same journey to the
Old World by seasoning in the fashion developed locally over the centuries. This
is not to discourage experimentation at the stove. But traditions evolved for a
reason—the food tasted good that way. Only by knowing the “old” ways of
spicing can you create “new” options for yourself.
I’ve been lucky enough to learn these flavor patterns directly from the cultures
that created them. My work has given me access to the paprika fields of Hungary
for authentic goulash, the saffron plantations of La Mancha for a fragrant paella,
and the chile markets of the Andes for a properly spiced Peruvian stew, to name
a few. These are places that have elevated their indigenous foods to cultural-icon
status. Generations of home cooks and chefs have worked to perfect these
recipes, all the while relying on local ingredients, not the least of which are
spices and herbs.
It is my hope that this book will inspire you to seek out the incredibly diverse
varieties of herbs and spices available to everyone today. With each entry, I’ve
sought to provide history, horticulture, tradition, and techniques, along with my
own first encounters with the particular seasoning. Whether you are looking for
a way to perk up an old meat loaf standby or the secrets of an authentic
Indonesian rijsttafel, my intent is to reveal the fascinating international world of
flavors that offers adventure in the kitchen and ongoing delight at the table.
Tony Hill
Seattle, Washington, USA
....

Herbs and Spices Defined

SPICES AND HERBS FOR THE CULINARY world are harvested from the
entire spectrum of plant species. Most commonly the seeds and leaves of these
botanical treasures are used to impart flavor, but barks, roots, nuts, flowers, and
berries also have much to offer, depending on which plant you have before you.
What just about all these species, in their many forms, have in common is a
unique pungency compared with other crops. A spice or herb destined for the
kitchen is likely to have a strong signature not duplicated elsewhere.
Occasionally, however, the selection of species is only part of the process. It
can be what occurs after harvest that situates the basic plant firmly in the spice
category. The gentle roasting of saffron to intensify its flavor, the drying of
peppercorn berries into black or white varieties, and the curing of raw green
vanilla beans into a usable form are all prime examples of how other hands make
those tastes into what we know in the kitchen.
In the spice world, many parts of the same plant may be used for culinary
purposes. Seeds, buds, barks, roots, stems, flowers, and a variety of other forms
can all be pressed into service in the kitchen, frequently with very different
results. Generally speaking, seeds and barks tend toward the lowest common
denominator of a given species’ flavor, whereas leaf and bud forms typically
have a brighter characteristic. There is some intrinsic logic at work here if you
think of the former as the “older growth” of a plant and the latter as the “new
growth,” with all its spring energy pumped into propagating itself in the plant world.

A perfect example of this same plant/different parts approach is coriander, or
cilantro, and it makes for some confusion in the kitchen with regard to the name
game played by cooks around the world. In America, the seed form is known as
coriander and the leaf form, usually, as cilantro. In Europe, “cilantro” is typically
dropped and a recipe will call for coriander leaf, coriander seed, or even,
perhaps, fresh coriander, meaning the green leafy parts with stems intact.
Southeast Asia will call on both, or even the root of the same plant, and, to
confuse you completely, may ask for all three in the same recipe, interchanging
the names or muddling them all together with local dialects.
....


Table of Contents
Title Page
Dedication
Copyright Page
PREFACE
Acknowledgements
All About Seasonings for the Global Kitchen
HERBS AND SPICES
AJWAIN
ALLSPICE
AMCHOOR
ANGELICA
ANISE, BROWN
ANISE, BLACK
ANNATTO
ARROWROOT
ASAFETIDA
AVOCADO LEAF
BARBERRY
BASIL
BAY LEAF, TURKISH
BAY LEAF, CALIFORNIAN
BAY LEAF, INDIAN
BAY LEAF, INDONESIAN
BLACK LEMON
BLACK SALT
BOLDINA LEAF
BORAGE
BREAD CLOVER
BUSH TOMATO
CANDLENUT
CARAWAY
CARDAMOM, GREEN AND WHITE
CARDAMOM, THAI
CARDAMOM, BLACK
CATNIP
CELERY
CHERVIL
CHICORY
CHILES
CHIVES
CICELY
CILANTRO
CINNAMONS AND CASSIAS
TRUE CINNAMON
INDONESIAN CASSIA-CINNAMON
CHINESE CASSIA-CINNAMON
CINNAMON, WHITE
CLOVES
CORIANDER, EUROPEAN
CORIANDER, INDIAN
CORIANDER, VIETNAMESE
CREAM OF TARTAR
CUBEB
CULANTRO
CUMIN, BROWN
CUMIN, BLACK
CURRY LEAF
DILL
EPAZOTE
FENNEL
FENUGREEK
FINGER ROOT
GALANGAL, GREATER
GALANGAL, LESSER
GALE
GARLIC
GINGER
GOLPAR
GRAINS OF PARADISE
HORSERADISH
HYSSOP
ANISE-HYSSOP
JUNIPER
KAFFIR LIME
KENCUR
KOKUM
LAVENDER
LEMON MYRTLE
LEMON VERBENA
LEMONGRASS
LICORICE
MACE
MAHLEB
MARJORAM
MINT
MITSUBA
MOUNTAIN PEPPER
MUGWORT
MUSTARD SEEDS
NIGELLA
NUTMEG
OREGANO, MEDITERRANEAN
OREGANO, MEXICAN
PAPRIKA
PARSLEY
PEPPERCORNS, BLACK, GREEN, WHITE, AND “TRUE” RED
PEPPER, LONG
PEPPER, NEGRO
PEPPER, PINK
PEPPERLEAF
POMEGRANATE SEEDS
POPPY SEEDS
ROSE PETALS
ROSEMARY
SAFFLOWER
SAFFRON
SAGE
SASSAFRAS
SAVORY, SUMMER AND WINTER
SCREW PINE
SEA SALTS
SEAWEEDS
SESAME SEEDS
SHISO
SICHUAN PEPPER
STAR ANISE
SUMAC
SWEET FLAG
SYLPHIUM
TAMARIND
TARRAGON
THYME
TURMERIC
VANILLA BEAN
WASABI
WATTLE SEEDS
ZEDOARY
HERB AND SPICE BLENDS
American Blends
Mexican Blends
Central and South American Blends
Caribbean Blends
Northern European Blends
Central European Blends
French and Italian Blends
Medieval Blends
Russian Blends
Middle Eastern Blends
Indian Subcontinent Blends
African Blends
Southeast Asian Blends
Chinese Blends
Japanese Blends
BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX


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Published by arrangement with Tony Hill and becker&mayer!, Ltd. www.beckermayer.com.
Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey
Published simultaneously in Canada

Interior photography: WKDG Partners
Book design: Richard Oriolo
Cover design: Jeff Faust

Printed in the United States of America
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