Our grandmothers have always used spices, either for cooking or for home remedies. My mother is a firm believer that a good herbal tea will cure the stomache faster than any other medicine.
Here is a list of some of the spices that we use in the kitchen.
BAY LEAVES (HOJAS DE LAUREL)
Great for stewed chicken (Pollo Guisado o Pollo en fricase ), tomato dishes, fish and my favorite…Pot roast. One or two leaves per pot should be more than enough. Make sure you remove the leaves after your food is done.
This amazing berry that looks like peppercorn is use for many dishes. I use it for sweets like….arroz con leche (rice pudding), habichuelas con dulces.
CORIANDER (SEMILLAS DE CILANTRO)
It has a nutty-lemony flavor, grind it and use it in meat dishes and soups.
CINNAMON ( CANELA)
One of my favorite! Great for desserts. Use the powder to enhance already made desserts like rice pudding, tembleque o majarete. Some people use the sticks to make tea and to prepare different dishes.
I cannot live without oregano! I use it for meats, soups and beans. I use the dry leaves and powder it myself.
Dominicans do not use this spice very often, however through exploring other cultures I have learned to use it. It has a very strong flavor. Cumin can be used ground or as whole seeds. Excellent for Chilli and Mexican dishes.
ANNATO (BIJA, ACHIOTE, BIJOL)
Natural food coloring. You can buy it powdered or the whole seeds. Use it for yellow rice, pasteles or any dish that requires a little bit of color.
STAR ANISE ( ANIS DE ESTRELLA)
Is a spice that resemble anise and fennel in flavor . Star anise has been used in tea and to help digestion.
It has a similar flavor-but-milder to star anise and fennel. Use in tea for home remedies (It helps digestion) and for cooking. Anise is sweet and very aromatic.
Now that you know some of the spices we use in our food and home remedies. What are some spices that you found to be useful in you kitchen? Share with us what you use at home.