The Spice of Life

The Spice of Life


I am caught in a web of cultures. This is not a scary thing. I welcome it with an open heart and a very big appetite. I have one foot in America and another in Europe. My heart is rooted in Puerto Rico while my passion is India. But where do I shop? In Italy.

Although I live in a northern Italian town where the cuisine lacks spice, I am never bored. I have learned to blend parsley, basil, sage and other traditional Italian herbs into a cuisine all my own. My Indian fiance is often asked what we eat at home. His answer? Everything.

Since I get asked for recipes quite often, I wanted to take a minute to examine my pantry. This way I can catalog a list of the spices and herbs I most commonly use to create everything from Punjabi dishes to falafel, pasta and empanadas. 

For all those Spicy Rose followers, this is for you…

My Indian dhabba (spice box) has the following:         
-mustard seeds
-cumin seeds
-turmeric
-red chili powder
-cloves
-garam masala




My other Indian spices include:    
-cardamom
-fennel
-ajowain
-coriander seeds
-cinnamon (whole and ground)
-ginger (whole and ground)
-long pepper
-star anise




The herbs in my garden are:               
-sage
-rosemary
-thyme
-basil
-mint
-lavender (which I am babysitting for a friend)



My Puerto Rican spices include:            
-annatto seeds
-powdered garlic (which I never use but, in this case, is required to make adobo)
-powdered onion (see explanation as above)
-dried oregano
-black pepper (whole)
-bay leaves




My Asian pantry staples:                 
-soy sauce
-sesame oil
-Thai fish sauce
-red curry paste
-sambar
-miso paste
-kombu





All purpose herbs/seasonings/aromatics I buy often:
-cilantro 
-scallions
-lemon grass (if I’m ever lucky to find)
-kaffir lime leaves (dried)
-curry leaves (dried)
-chilies
-coconut milk



Some stuff I just found while taking my last look around:
-vanilla beans
-nutmeg
-sesame seeds
-cayenne pepper
-pink peppercorns
-amla
-pickled green chilies
-pickled red chilies
-black bean sauce
-pumpkin seeds (used in mole)
-apple cider vinegar
-balsamic vinegar
-white wine vinegar
-extra virgin olive oil
-assortment of specialty salts



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