Craving something new? You’re not alone — our insatiable craving for flavor is actually hardwired. Research shows that our tastebud receptors actually release two hits of dopamine (the feel-good hormone) when we eat something tasty.
This may explain why throughout history, herbs and spices were highly sought after as a means of flavoring food, for both taste and medicinal purposes. Spices were so valuable that they were often used as currency or traded along roads that connected cities in the ancient world, and even the earliest humans were flavoring food with local plants like mustard seeds.
We might not be trading our meals for gold in modern times but the skill of combining herbs and spices for a globally-inspired dish is priceless. And thankfully it’s also simple to try out in your kitchen — with the right mix of ingredients that you likely already know and love.
To help you get started, we’ve pulled together a list of the herbs, spices, and other ingredients that define the flavor of four of our favorite globally-inspired cuisines. Including ingredients from different parts of the world in your meals is a great way to introduce something new to your cooking routine!
|rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, sage, marjoram, tarragon, bay leaves, parsley, mint, dill||black pepper, white pepper, anise, saffron, nutmeg, coriander, chili flakes, cardamom||garlic, shallots, onion, leeks, fennel, lemon|
|Thai basil, cilantro, mint, lemongrass, sorrel, curry leaves, shiso, kaffir lime leaves||ground ginger, peppercorn, star anise, mustard, cinnamon, cloves, mace, turmeric||fresh ginger, garlic, lime, chiles, green onion, wasabi, sesame seeds|
|curry leaves, cilantro, bay leaves, kaffir lime leaves||ground ginger, fennel, anise, garam masala, turmeric, ajwain, cinnamon, cloves, mace, saffron, coriander, chili flakes or powder, cardamom, fenugreek||fresh ginger, various peppers, tamarind, onion, fennel|
|cilantro, parsley, chives, bay leaves, marjoram, oregano||chili flakes or powder, cayenne, paprika, cinnamon, cumin, achiote, anise, coriander||onion, garlic, lime, jalapeño, chipotle, other peppers, tamarind|