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How to reuse left-over spices and combine them with other foods

Do you have a shelve full of spices you struggle to put into other use? This one glance spice combinations chart gives you ideas on how to reuse them by spice pairings and make different meals. 

How to combine spices with food

Unused or left-over spices tend to lose their identity and punch given the many culinary distractions that go in the kitchen.

Do not underestimate the power of these miracle flavour shots.

They may just come handy to rescue your bad kitchen day!!

If you happen to hoard herbs and spices and are not sure of how to reuse them then this Spice Combinations Chart will give you ideas and suggestions to reuse spices and par them with other ingredients to make different meals.

Why Should You Not Keep Spices for Long

Most of us will have bottles or packs of spices or herbs laying in the kitchen pantry enjoying their little cozy place in the darkness not having to do any work! (wish I had a life like that)

Keeping opened spices for a long period of time makes them lose their quality and flavour. You can refer to the shelf life of spices chart here to see the ideal time to keep your spices for.

So if you have them it is best to use spices in everyday cooking.

Using spices adds versatility to cooking and if used correctly they adapt well to the dish you add them to.

All you need to know is the right way of cooking with spices. 

If you are new to using spices or have spice confusion I suggest reading this easy 5 step guide for beginners which shares tips on cooking with spices.

This Spice Combinations Chart will help you take little steps and show you what spices go well with what vegetables, meats and other ingredients.

What Are The Best Spice Combinations And Flavour Pairings?

In theory, there is no ‘Right Way’ to add spices to your meals. But you do need to understand the taste elements of the foods to make food pairings work.

Who knew that adding chilli to chocolate one day would become a fad!

One of the best ways to start using spices is to experiment with them.

Try with adding just a teaspoon of cumin powder or garam masala powder to your favourite roast or pie.

There is nothing wrong is going beyond what the recipe calls for as long as it’s done in moderation and sensibly.

For instance, I certainly would not advocate adding curry leaves to rice pudding or star anise to mayonnaise!

No one with a remote sense of taste should even try this, unless you call your not so favourite ex for dinner that is!!

A reason for Indian cuisine to appeal to many globally is the combination of contrasting flavours all put together to make a flavourful dish.  Spices play the part of a flavour challenger as well as the changer.

This combining or pairing of ingredients is different from western cuisine. Western cooking involves ingredients sharing similar flavour compounds such as bread, milk, cream, cheese, flour etc.

If the Indians and other Asian cuisines have been doing it right all this while, there is nothing stopping you from trying flavour combinations too!

How To Combine Spices & Seasonings To Suit Your Taste

Spice are one of the most versatile cooking ingredients.

What I mean by this is that the choice of adding one or not is entirely yours.

Few people like spicy and hot food and are happy to add a bail of chilli powder to their dish (which I personally think kills the flavour of other ingredients completely) while others may like the subtle aroma and flavour of cardamom, cloves, or cinnamon.

When it comes to combining spices with other ingredients for example with chicken, fish, beans, quinoa etc, or other spices or herbs such as nutmeg, saffron etc its best to start with adding small quantities to the dish you wish to make.

The infographic below shows the 4 steps you can follow to make different meals using the spice to ingredients combination method.

How to combine spices and make food pairings infograghic

Learn Spice Pairing With  An Example

Let us say that I have few cloves, cinnamon and cumin seeds lying in my cupboard from a Lamb Curry made few days ago.

Referring to the spice combination shart below I can see that cloves, cinnamon and cumin seeds can be used to make soup, rice, stews or curries.

Curry is something I have already made, so I opt to make a new dish that is soup instead with the same spices.

I have the option to stir fry my chosen veg soup (carrots, onions and tomatoes) with a tsp of cumin seeds. I then add the broth and when it all comes to a boil, I add 2 cloves and a small stick of cinnamon and leave it to simmer for some time until done.

Before blending the soup, it is always advisable to remove chunky whole spices.

In the example above is I managed to use the spices and also made a yummy aromatic carrot and tomato soup with hardly any additional effort.

The learning from this is that the kind of spices or the quantity of spice you use depends on your personal and family preference.

If you do not like cinnamony taste in soups then choose not to use it, go for green cardamon instead.

It is amazing at how versatile and easy spices can be to work with.

There are different types of spices and herbs used for cooking for you to choose from.

You need to use your personal or household preference and make a judgement about what spices you like best with meat, veg or combined with other spices.

The Spice Combinations Chart below illustrates few spice pairing suggestions and tips.

The chart will help you decide what spices go well with vegetables, meat and other ingredients and the type of dishes or meals you can make with the extra spices you have.

A One Glance Spice Combinations Chart

Use this guide and the chart below as a starting point to begin with your experimentation.

There are no limits to the different flavour and dimension you can add to your everyday meals when you spice it UPP.

Feel free to make your own spice and flavour combos as you become more used to the taste.

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How To Season Food – E- book

If you still feel confused or wish to learn how to use spices and herbs to flavour your everyday food then this handy cooking guide will help you unveil the secrets on how professional chefs season food.

Become a pro at flavouring and use all the spices and herbs in your cupboard by never making a bland meal.

Get your copy of theGuide to Seasoning’ here.

How to season food e-book
Click here to buy online

To Conclude and Recap

Left over spices will lose their flavour if not used. The best way to reuse spices is to combine them with other ingredients and make different meals.

Since there is no ‘Right Way’ of combining spices as such, it gives you the flexibility to use spices and ingredients you and your family enjoy.

Use the 4 step spice to ingredient method and refer to the spice combination chart above for ideas on meals you could be treating your family with.

Do you have spices laying in the cupboard that you are not sure what to do with? Let me know if I can help in any way. 

Suggested Relevant Posts

Top 10 spices to have in your pantry to make meals under 30 minutes. 

Struggle with finding Indian spices? Use these spice substitutes instead. 


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Related Posts

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