7 essential spices everyone needs in their kitchen cupboard
Dilan Perera, founder of The Urban Spice Shop shares his favourite seasonings
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Variety is the spice of life, as they say, and your kitchen cupboard is your first point of call if you are looking to shake yourself out of a cooking rut.
If your plan is to banish the bland and add a bit of adventure to your meals during these bleak winter months, Dilan Perera, the founder of The Urban Spice Shop, can help.
Based in Singapore, The Urban Spice Shop provide high-end restaurants with high-quality authentic spices from farms across Sri Lanka, India and Madagascar. All the spices are 100% certified organic, sustainable and hand packaged, ensuring natural flavour and freshness.
Here are Dilan's very own desert island spices, or at least the essential spices he thinks we should all stock in our kitchen cupboards, to elevate that takeaway or homemade pasta in a pinch and a sprinkle. You'll never use ketchup again. Now, over to Dilan.
Top spice picks by The Urban Spice Shop
The Urban Spice Shop
"The best cinnamon in the world comes from Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon) and it's far superior in quality and taste than the likes of cassia, which is a thicker darker bark and does not have the same rich subtle flavours.
"Ceylon cinnamon, as it's still called, has a mild sweetness to it and blends well in desserts and drinks. It is sold in quills and many other formats and preparing the spice in this way involves a very traditional and labour intensive process, but it's worth it because this really adds to its overall taste finesse.
"We sell cinnamon quills of C5 special grade which is one of the best grades produced. It goes great with both savoury and sweet dishes, from meat curries to cookies and cakes."
The Urban Spice Shop
"Star Anise has a great aroma and sweetness to it mixed with a slight hit of liquorice. It is great for infusing into soups, stews and chicken dishes and can be used in many traditional and modern Asian dishes. It's great with any curry and amazing with many Indian dishes including chicken tikka masala and biriyani dishes. That's why I love this spice so much."
"The chillies we sell at The Urban Spice Shop are rich in colour with a beautiful slow burn, and a sprinkle can add flavour and depth to your everyday meals.
"The chilli flakes also add a splash of colour and beauty to your meal with thanks to its beautiful red flare. Chilli can be added to any meat, poultry or fish dish, and is great scattered over your pasta or pizza at home."
Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels
"At The Urban Spice Shop we provide hand picked selected cloves from Sri Lanka that have a beautiful rosey brown colour and an amazing fruity aroma.
"Not many people realise cloves are a key ingredient in many spice blends out there including Chinese five spice, curry powders, Moroccan Ras el Hanout, Garam Masala, French quatre epices, English mixed spice, Arabic Baharat and Ethiopian berbere.
"Clove acts as a hero spice in both meat and poultry dishes and curries, and in desserts, cakes and sweets, due to its deep aroma and richness of flavour."
"Black pepper adds depth and extra heat to any ordinary meal, be it meat, fish or poultry and is great to enhance any home made or store bought meals. That's why it is a handy spice to have in any kitchen. The Urban Spice Shop Black pepper is sourced from organic farms and are processed and packed to retain its true piperine punch."
Photo by Nikoli Afina on Unsplash
"Cumin is my personal favourite. It has such a wonderful warm sweetness with a slight feel of freshness on the tongue, and can really elevate your daily meal.
"The Urban Spice Shop source organic certified cumin from organic certified farms in India and guarantee freshness and a high-quality taste. Cumin goes great with darker meats, including goat, lamb and venison, adding a wonderful fresh breeze to an otherwise hearty meal."
"The yellow colour in turmeric is due to a compound called 'Curcumin', which is a powerful antioxidant and offers great benefits for a healthy body.
"The taste of turmeric is more intense in its dry form and it can be used to add a beautiful warm colour to your bland or colourless dishes such as pastas, soups and even porridge. Turmeric can also be added into beverages like lattes."
Find out more about The Urban Spice Shop, and how to take your spice game to the next level.