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This section is titled "Flavors" because there are so many things out there to add a harmony of flavor to a recipe! Obviously herbs and spices are the first and foremost to look to; natural products that evoke so much enjoyment and pleasure, a delight to the senses.

Chile peppers come in such variety, they will be treated as a section of their own.  The list is confusing, because so many, while common to various countries, are named differently in each country.

Spices also have a more exotic class.  There are so many spices used in ethnic cooking, but not known all that well here in the US, unless, like me, you love hunting out these unusual flavors!  Galangal, Sumac, Nigella, Ajowain, Amchur, Mahlab!  These are just a few. 

And then, there are spice blends. So many countries have their own unique sets of spice blends; Garam & Chaat Masalas of India. Curry powder, while sold in India, is a British concoction no self-respecting Indian would have in their house, though it is exported, of course.  Ras el Hanout and Zahtar are Moroccan mixtures. Quatre-Epices is a standard French 4-spice blend for long stewing. Harissa is a fiery mixture from Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.  Sambhar Powder is widely used in Southern Indian Brahmin cooking, which is vegetarian. Five-Spice Powder is widely used in Southern China and Vietnam.  And the list goes on.


Thankfully these days fresh herbs are so much more readily available!  In their fresh form there is so much more flavor than when they are obtained in dried form.  Dried is acceptable in most cases, though I rarely use dried herbs.

One reason I prefer fresh herbs is that some dried ones cause me some stomach distress, where the fresh version does not, no matter the quantity used!  What is tastier on a pizza than fresh strewn basil or oregano leaves?  What would a Caprese Salad be without fresh basil?  These and many other dishes would just not be the same without fresh herbs.

Herb Sampler
Herb Sampler: Sage, Thyme, Oregano, Variegated Thyme, and Basil

HERBS- a list

Angelica - Angelica archangelica
Basil - Ocimum basilicum
Bay Leaf -
Laurus nobilis
Bergamot -
Monarda didyma
Borage -
Borago officinalis
Calendula / Marigold -
Calendula officinalis
Chervil -
Anthriscus cerefolium
Chives - Allium schoenoprasum
Cilantro - Coriandrum sativum
Curry Leaf -
Murraya koenigii
Dill - Anethum graveolens
Fennel -
Fenugreek -
Trigonella foenicum-graecum
Lavendar - Lavandula angustifolia
Lemon Balm - Melissa officinalis
Lemon Verbena -
Aloysia triphylla
Lovage -
Levisticum officinalis
Marjoram / Oregano -
Origanum sp.
Mint -
Mentha sp.
Mustard -
Oregano (see Marjoram)
Parsley -
Petroselinum crispum
Rosemary -
Rosmarinus officinalis
Sage - Salvia officinalis
Salad Burnet - Poterium sanguisorbe
Sweet Violet -
Viola odorata
Tarragon -
Artemisia dracunculus
Thyme - Thymus sp.
Winter Savory -
Santureja montana
Yarrow - Achillea millefolium

 SPICES- a list of common spices

Allspice - Pimienta dioica
Anise -
Pimpinella anisum
Anise, Star -
Illicium verum
Caraway -
Carum carvi
Cardamom -
Elettaria cardamomum
Cassia -
Cinnamomum aromaticum
Celery Seed -
Apium graveolens dulce
Cinnamon -
Cinnamomum verum
Cloves -
Eugenia caryophyllus
Coriander Seed -
Coriandrum sativum
Cumin -
Cuminum cyminum
Dill -
Anethum graveolens
Fennel Seed -
Foeniculum vulgare
Ginger Root - Zinziber officinale
Juniper Berries - Juniperus communis
Lemongrass -
Cymbopogon citratus
Mace (see Nutmeg and Mace)
Mustard Seeds:
      "White" Mustard - Sinapsis alba
      "Brown" Mustard - Brassica juncia
      "Black" Mustard -
Brassica nigra
Nutmeg & Mace -
Myristica fragans
      Black Pepper - Piper nigrum
      Cubeb Pepper - Piper cubeba
      Long Pepper -
Piper longum
Poppy Seed - Papaver somniferum
Saffron - Crocus sativus
Sesame Seed -
Sesamum indicum
Tamarind -
Tamarindus indica
Turmeric -
Curcuma longa
Vanilla -
Vanilla planifolia

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Go to Herbs page
Go to Spices page 1, 2
Go to Spice Mixtures page

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Spices are almost always found dried, and usually ground.  Drying and grinding speeds up loss of flavors, so use them up or toss them out and get fresh.  You just don't know what you're missing, otherwise!  Again, my preference is to get whole spices whenever possible and grind them myself, as needed.  There is so much more flavor to be had.

Spice Sampling
Spice Sampling: Cumin, Coriander, Cardamom, Cloves, Chile Pods, Black Cardamom, Bay Leaf, Ceylon Cinnamon

While herbs and spices are magnificent flavors to work with, we all use so many other flavoring agents.  I hope to hear from you with comments or questions about some of the flavors I write about, or others you may have tried.  From simple condiments like mustards (in all their variety these days), to tamarind paste, there are so many to choose from.  More on these, coming soon.


Ajwain (see Carom)
Asafetida - Ferula assa-foetida
Black Cardamom - Amomum subulatum
Black Cumin - Bumium persicum
Black Sesame - Sesamum indicum nigrum
Carom / Ajwain - Trachyspermum ammi
Fenugreek - Trigonella foenum-graecum
Galangal - Alpinia officinarum
Grains of Paradise - Aframomum melagueta
Kaffir Lime Leaf - Citrus hystrix
Mahlab - Prunus mahaleb
Mango Powder - Mangifera indica

Nigella - Nigella sativa
Sichuan Peppercorns - Xanthoxylum piperitum
Star Anise - Illicium verum
Sumac - Rhus coriaria
Tamarind - Tamarindus indica

Baharat Spice
Barbecue Spice Mix

Beef and Pork Seasoning

Berbere - Ethiopia
Chaat / Chat Masala - India
Chinese Five-Spice Powder - China
Dukkah -
Egypt/Middle East
Garam Masala 1 - India
Garam Masala 2 - India
Gomasio -
Green Masala - India
Harissa - N. Africa
Dry Onion Soup Mix 
Panch Phoron - India
Pickling Spice Mix -
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Quatre-Epices (Four-Spice) -
Ras el Hanout - Morocco
Sambhar Powder - S. India
Sweet Smoky Cocoa Rub
Wet Rub for Steak  -
Zahtar / Za'atar / Zatar - Middle East

Return to Welcome page
Go to Herbs page
Go to Spices page 1, 2

Go to Spice Mixtures page