I had been hinting to Greg that I was running low on spices, and some of my spices were extremely old and expired, and that someone could get me a nice spice kit from Penzey’s or something for Christmas. Apparently I’m hard to buy Christmas presents for, which I don’t believe in the slightest, so I try to drop hints (some more subtle than others).
Instead, Greg did one better and found a website with all kinds of exotic and foreign spices, and he somehow managed to buy a bunch that I’ve never even heard of.
In no particular order, and with brief descriptions when needed from the World Spice Merchants website:
Amchoor Powder (India): Dried ground unripe mango
Anardana Seed (India): Dried pomegranate seeds
Beet Powder (USA): Obviously dried ground beets, but what’s neat about this is that they suggest using it in a vinaigrette! Tasty. (Yes, Sarah #2, this is already on the Thanksgiving menu for February.)
Black Lemon (India): Whole dried black lemons, often used for chutney
Cassia Cinnamon (Indonesia)
Cumin Seed (India)
Ginger Powder (China)
Grains of Paradise (Ghana): A cross between pepper, ginger, and cardamom in flavor, this is suggested for lamb or eggplant dishes (and obviously beer)
Juniper Berries (Italy)
Nigella Seed (Turkey): Often used to season naan, comes from the “love-in-the-mist” plant
Pequin chiles (Mexico): tiny searing hot chile peppers, often used in salsas and bean dishes
Poivron Rouge (Marrakech): sweet ground red pepper, similar to sweet Hungarian paprika
Rosebuds and petals: often used in Middle Eastern and sometimes French cooking
Sumac Powder (Syria): a distinctive sour and tangy flavor
Urfa Biber (Turkey): This quote is too good, so I’m using it verbatim: “This rich pepper flake from Turkey has an earthy, smoky edge that hints at chocolate and tobacco alongside a mild heat giving it a well rounded, complex flavor.”
Chervil (USA): FYI, my parents gave us three huge bags of chervil from a Penzey’s order, so I’m now drowning in lovely chervil (which is not the same as gerbil…)
Ajwain Seed (India): Common in Indian and African food, the seed looks like fennel and tastes more musty. Frequently used in lentil dishes.