The Magic Of Spice

I love spices. They are the key to making satisfying healthy meals. Getting comfortable using and combining spices will make a big difference in the dishes you make.

Spices come in fresh, dried, ground, roasted and smoked. Each form functions differently in recipes. It is difficult to know how to replace a whole form with a ground form. Some are more intense ground, others are less intense. It is a trial and error experiment to find what works.

Each region of the world has its own favorite spice combinations. Many of the recipes here at Food For The Soul utilize some of these combinations. I have been into Indian flavors of late. The aroma coming out of my kitchen when I am making dal is tantalizing. I also love making recipes from different regions of Afrika.

Where can you find spices? Many are available in your neighborhood grocery stores. Look for international markets for less common varieties. Particularly Asian markets. There are online sources for spices as well.

Here are the spices I try to always have on hand.

  • Cumin Seedswholespices
  • Ground Cumin
  • Curry Powder
  • cardamom Pods
  • Ground cardamom
  • Coriander Seeds
  • Ground Coriander
  • Mustard Seeds
  • Ground Mustard
  • Turmeric
  • Paprika
  • Fenugreek
  • Allspice
  • Nutmeg
  • Chili Powder
  • Chipotle Pepper Powder
  • Whole Cloves
  • Ground Cloves
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Black Pepper Corns
  • Fennel Seed
  • Ground Fennel
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Ginger Root
  • Ground Ginger
  • Vanilla Bean
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Vanilla Powder

curryKlimeLeavesI recently discovered that my local international market has fresh curry leaves and kaffir lime leaves. I had seen them in recipes but had never tried using them. Kaffir lime is used in Thai food. (Please excuse the spelling in the photo!)

I LOVE the curry leaves. Their smell is fabulous. Curry leaves are not the same as curry powder. Curry powder is really a mix of a variety of spices. Different curry powders have different flavors due to the difference in the mixture of spices used. The same with chili powder.

I encourage you to keep your pantry stocked with spices. Look for international recipes to see how to use them. Start with the amounts indicated in the recipe. Taste and adjust as needed. I often use more than what is called for. Try your own combinations as you get familiar with the flavors and are more comfortable using spices.

Do you have a favorite spice or spice combination? Tell us about it below.

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Ama Opare
Lifestyle Coach, CEO at Opare Institute
Helping my coaching clients go from vegan wanna-be to Unshakably Vegan! From meal-time boredom to loving what they eat. From self-sabotage to taking control. From tempted by all the wrong choices in their non-vegan world to making the right decisions. And from sick and tired to vibrant and healthy. Discover your personal recipe for success and abundant health! BE UNSHAKABLE!

5 Comments on “The Magic Of Spice

Ama Opare
03/03/2015 at 7:18 pm

You are most welcome Nita. Your comment the other day was the inspiration. You are doing great!

Nita Mason
03/03/2015 at 7:07 pm

Thank you for this information, Ama. I needed, to learn more about spices. You inspire me to keep going and not let this vegan journey get the better of me. I believe in good tasting food – raw or otherwise. I believe I will win and all my dishes will be fabulicious!!

Nana Kwaku Opare, MD, MPH, CA
03/03/2015 at 2:36 pm

That dish Ama made in the photo above was fabulishish! A Dahl to live for.

Nana Kwaku Opare, MD, MPH, CA
03/03/2015 at 2:39 pm

I think that should be fabulicious!? Yum I am so spoilt!

Ama Opare
03/03/2015 at 4:15 pm

Ain’t you sweet!


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