11 Aromatic Chinese Ingredients To Bring Out The Best In Your Food

11 Aromatic Chinese Ingredients To Bring Out The Best In Your Food

Chinese ingredients include scallion, ginger, peppers, leeks, garlic scapes, coriander, shallots, Thai basil, and chili peppers to enhance flavor and aroma.

Chinese cooking is all about savory, fragrant, & aromatic dishes. Most Chinese cuisine includes scallions, chives, onions, & peppers. Without them, the dishes would be dry & bland.

These ingredients are vital for the various Chinese dishes people crave. However, the ingredients are not typically common. There are plenty of varieties to each of the major ingredients. You may become overwhelmed with these varieties. These Chinese ingredients are unique in their own ways. Each of them has uses in many distinctive dishes. You can’t substitute them with a similar ingredient. 

If you do, you won’t get the desired taste, odor, or color from the dishes. 

The below-mentioned ingredients are some of the most common aromatics used in Chinese food.

1. Scallions Or Green Onions

Scallions are the most famous onions in native China. People also call them green onions outside China. However, these onions are indigenous to Chinese, Asian, Mexican, & Cajun dishes.

People usually buy scallions in large quantities. These onions also grow well in the backyards of our houses. Scallions are incredible allium plants that play a significant role in savory dishes. They have two parts, namely green & white.

Both parts are edible. The green part gives a mild flavor & offers beautiful color when used as a garnish when used in the dishes. The white portion of scallions spread a sweet smell & flavor of onion when used in the dishes. Chefs use these two portions separately in the cuisines.

Some of the most famous dishes that use scallions are scallion pancakes, scallion ginger shrimps, etc. 

2. Onions

In Asian countries, onions are called western onions because they mostly use scallions & large green onions. These onions are entirely different from scallions. A lot of people confuse onions with chives. But there are some major differences when you compare chives vs. green onions.

The chive stems are longer and more tender than onions. Their flavor is also milder.

They are round & mostly found in brown & red colors. As these regular onions (western onions) are not native to China, they only use them in western Chinese dishes like shrimp fried rice.

3. Leeks

These plants are native to the USA & other western countries. However, the Chinese people often call it “syun,” which usually means green garlic. Leeks are a kind of vegetable that resembles green garlic & big onions. 

Unlike scallions, the green part of leeks is slightly inedible. But the white part is edible & adds flavor to the dishes. The dark green part of the leeks becomes tender & sweet when people cook it in a hot wok using oil.

Leeks are the primary component of pepper steak, traditional Buddha’s Delight, & twice-cooked pork dishes.

4. Garlic Scapes

The Chinese people call the garlic scapes garlic flower buds or garlic hearts. Only the buds & stems are edible from these garlic scapes. The taste of garlic scapes is somewhat similar to the garlic. They are more prevalent in China than in the USA.

They are very tender & soft. However, these are a bit more expensive than regular garlic. People buy them in bulk in the summer season. These garlic scapes work amazingly with chunks of pork & julienne peppers.

Peel the skin if you want to use it in stir-fry dishes. This way, the taste will be intact & fine.

5. Ginger Or Ginger Root

Ginger or ginger roots are popular ingredients in Chinese & Indian dishes. Ginger brings out the subtle taste of seafood dishes. 

Chinese people mostly use ginger in the steamed fish cuisines. However, you need to peel the skin of ginger before using it. You can slice it into pieces & store it in the refrigerator for future uses.

Famous dishes that use ginger are ginger scallion shrimp, ginger scallion crab, & ginger scallion lobster—the ginger flavor pairs well with shellfishes & sea fishes. Ginger has medicinal qualities too.  

6. Shallot

Shallots are one type of onions but more tender & potent. They give a milder flavor than regular onions. They are more expensive than scallions or green onions. Shallots are an indispensable component of the salad.

You can use shallots or onions, depending upon the availability & personal preferences. Fried rice tastes a lot better with shallots.

7. Chinese Chives

Chinese chives or garlic chives are the same. They deliver strong odor & have flat leaves. You can eat them raw or cook them. You can sprinkle raw chives over the top of anything or eat it with dips & sauces. However, Chinese chives are popular as vegetables rather than herbs.

Some familiar dishes of Chinese chives are pork chive dumplings, chive frittata, Taiwanese Cang Ying Tou, or stir fry dish, etc. The Chinese chive flowers are used in various juices & drinks too.

8. Cilantro Or Coriander

Mainly people use cilantro to decorate or garnish dishes like steamed fish dries or soups. Coriander is also a favorite ingredient of Mexican cuisines.

Whole steamed fish & noodle soups mainly use coriander for excellent fragrance.

9. Chinese Toon

Chinese toons are only available during spring & for a few weeks only. They spread a sweet floral flavor & have a purple tint. Cold dishes suit Chinese toast the most. 

Salad & cold tofu appetizers smell & taste great if there is a Chinese toon present. Egg dishes & stir-fried egg dishes also use Chinese toons.

10. Thai Basil

Thai basils are a fragrant herb that is hard to track down. The most popular one that the Chinese use is a variety of Thai basil. This aromatic herb increases the taste of Thai basil shrimp fried dishes, Thai basil pesto pasta, & eggplant dishes enormously.

11. Long Green Hot Peppers

Green hot peppers are the most common, inexpensive, & available peppers for Chinese dishes. Sometimes, they taste delicious & mild, and sometimes they can unleash a sudden sweat storm due to being spicy.

Tigerskin pepper, Sichuan three pepper chicken & beef, and pepper stir-fry are some of the most famous dishes that use long green hot peppers. 

Final Thoughts

The holy trinity of Chinese ingredients, namely scallions, ginger, & onion, increase the subtle taste note of many famous Chinese dishes. Many dishes will become sad & lifeless without these ingredients. 

Top 10 Spices and Seasonings for Offal Meats

Liver. Tongue. Heart.

If your mind jumped to anatomy – and not tonight’s dinner – you’re not alone. But if you’re willing to expand your mind (and your palate), you just might be in for a treat.

What are offal meats?

Offals, also known as variety meats, make up the organs and other parts of the animal that are less mainstream than the cuts you may be used to buying. This includes (but isn’t limited to) liver, heart, sweetbreads, tongue, oxtails, certain muscles, tripe, bones and more.

These less common cuts are not only a great way to get out of your usual recipe rut, but also present an opportunity to explore global cuisines. As an added bonus, Variety meats are often more affordable than traditional cuts, and they reduce your environmental footprint by making use of nearly the whole animal.

Plenty of Recipe Potential

There are all kinds of great recipes you can make with variety meats. Make Liver and Onions – a nostalgic classic – or branch out and try your hand at an authentic Caldo de Res Mexican-Style Beef Soup.

Or try swapping out your commonly used cuts for variety meats the next time you grill out. Whether you’re a culinary explorer or just want to try something new, you’ll be surprised just how delicious variety meats can be.

Enjoyed by Many Cultures

While many cultures have enjoyed variety meats for centuries, these cuts are known for their acquired taste. But with the right seasonings and preparation, offal can taste amazing to both adventurous and reserved eaters alike.

No matter how you prepare your variety meats, there are a handful of spices and seasonings you can use to get the best flavor. Here are the top 10 spices and seasonings for offal meats.

Essential Spices and Herbs for Offal Meats

1. Salt
While salt is technically a mineral and not a spice, you should always season your offal meats with salt. In fact, every cut of meat needs salt. That’s because salt enhances flavor. So, salt is always a good base to start with.

2. Garlic Powder
It’s true – garlic goes with just about everything, and variety meats are no exception. Don’t forget about the fresh stuff, either. Garlic in all forms will enhance the flavor of your offals in ways you never thought possible.

3. Chili Powder
A staple in kitchens everywhere, chili powder is traditionally made from ancho chiles and a blend of Latin American spices. It’ll give your Latin-inspired variety meats dishes a spicy, smoky flavor.

4. Turmeric
Turmeric adds color and an earthy flavor – plus, studies show it’s loaded with health benefits. Add it to your favorite variety meat soups and stews for an extra layer of depth.

5. Paprika
Like chili powder, paprika powder adds a layer of smoke and spice. However, paprika has a warmer, sweeter flavor. Use them in combination for the best of both worlds.

6. Cumin
Cumin adds a strong, earthy, slightly spicy flavor. It’s a key ingredient for many soups, stews, tamales and tacos, and is often found in Mexican, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines. It’s great to use as a rub or in a marinade.

7. Espresso
You might be surprised to see espresso on the list, but finely ground espresso beans add a unique richness to red meat – particularly beef. The same rings true for your favorite variety meats.

8. Adobo Seasoning
Adobo comes from the Spanish word “adobar,” which means “to marinate.” So it’s no wonder adobo seasoning adds a delicious punch of zing to your favorite variety meats. This Latin seasoning typically consists of garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt and pepper – but different brands can have different additions.

9. Achiote
Achiote is native to the Caribbean and Mexico and comes from annatto seeds. It gives off earthy, peppery flavor with a hint of warm sweetness. It also gives food a beautiful orange color. Mix it with other herbs and spices and oil to create an achiote paste that’s great for marinating and giving smoky flavor to meat.

10. Pepper
While it’s a simple, common spice, black pepper is key to adding heat and flavor to your variety meats. For the best flavor, grind your own whole peppercorns.

Discover all Offal has to Offer
The next time you’re browsing the meat case, do yourself a favor and don’t skip over the variety meats. And be sure to stop by the spice aisle on your way out. You never know – you could be well on your way to your next star dish.

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7 Health Benefits of Using Nutmeg

7 Health Benefits of Using Nutmeg

Nutmeg contributes a sweet aroma, used as a spice in making dishes from many different cuisines. Nutmeg is native to Indonesia in the Spice Islands, and it is the seed of the fruit of an evergreen tree. These seeds also grow in Malaysia, South India, and the Caribbean. 

As an exotic spice, a little pinch of nutmeg is all you need to make meat gravies, steaks, beef stew, roulades, soups, and desserts. You can use nutmeg as an essential ingredient for many delicious meals, like this recipe that uses nutmeg to create a pumpkin pie spice. Not only is nutmeg an exotic spice, but it is also considered an aphrodisiac. Its tree provides medicinal benefits, where the leaves and other parts of the tree can have their essential oils extracted. Nutmeg butter is also beneficial for beauty and health issues. Here are some of its health benefits:

Takes Away the Pain

Essential volatile oils such as eugenol, safrole, elemicin, and myristicin are all useful for joint and muscle pain treatment. They are all available in nutmeg; just a few drops of the essential oil can ease the swelling, inflammation, muscle pain, joint pain, and sores.

Aids in Treating Insomnia

In small amounts, nutmeg can produce a calming effect. There are different medicinal practices from ancient times where people use nutmeg for inducing sleep and de-stressing. Adding a pinch of nutmeg to a glass of warm milk before sleeping may help you feel well-rested in the morning.

Assists in Digestion

The essential oils that nutmeg contains have a carminative effect on our bodies. A small amount of nutmeg in your stews or soups may help treat digestive issues such as constipation, bloating or gas, or diarrhea. Nutmegs also contain fiber, which helps your bowel movements. Its essential oils can aid in the secretion of digestive enzymes that can help remove excessive gas in our system.

Improves Brain Function

The Greeks and Romans used nutmeg as a brain tonic to stimulate the nerves in the brain. Its essential oil may be an effective treatment for anxiety, depression, and easing stress and fatigue. Nutmeg may also help lower blood pressure and enhance your mood. As a stimulant and tonic, nutmeg may also assist in recovery from an illness.

Cleanses Your Mouth

The toxicity in our bodies can lead to bad breath. This is due to improper diet and an unhealthy lifestyle, where toxins in our organs can quickly build up. Nutmeg can help in clearing out the toxins from the kidneys and liver. The essential oils in nutmeg contain antibacterial properties that help eliminate bacteria inside the mouth that is causing bad breath. It is also an active ingredient for gum pastes and toothpaste, where eugenol may help in relieving toothaches. 

Clears Skin

People are using nutmeg for skin care, as it contains anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also a good remedy for removing blackheads, clogged pores, and for treating acne. Mixing equal parts of honey and ground nutmeg can make a paste. You can apply this recipe on pimples for 20 minutes, then wash it with water afterward. 

A mixture of nutmeg powder and a few drops of milk can create a paste, which you can massage into your skin before rinsing it clean. 

Regulates Blood Circulation and Pressure

Nutmeg has a high mineral content, which may assist in controlling blood circulation and pressure. Our bodies need calcium, potassium, iron, manganese, and many more, which are critical for our body’s different functions. As nutmeg may help reduce stress levels, it may also help in relaxing the blood vessels to keep our heart working efficiently.

Nutmeg contains essential components that we all need in taking care of our health. Remember, you need to use nutmeg in small doses to cook or treat various health conditions. You should know that large quantities of nutmeg can cause hallucinations, palpitations, and nausea. 

Spices for Sports: What Spices Are Recommended for Athletes?

Spices for Sports: What Spices Are Recommended for Athletes?

Athletes are renowned for being extremely careful about what they eat. The top sports stars know that what they put into their bodies has a huge effect on their performance.

Yet, not everyone takes the time to consider the question of what spices to use. The truth is that a wise choice in this matter is just as important as in the other types of food that you eat. What are some of the smartest choices?

Turmeric

This is the root of a flowering plant that has a bright orange color. It has been used for centuries in the traditional medicines of Asian countries such as India and China.  Despite being so widely used, there is still a lack of reliable evidence on its clinical properties.

One area that a lot of athletes agree on is that turmeric can be highly effective in dealing with inflammation in different parts of the body. It is also said to help digestion and relieve fatigue. There are a number of ways of taking this spice, from adding it to a smoothie or a salad to making a wonderfully golden-toned turmeric latte.  

Ginger

Ginger is another root that is believed to be a powerful aide in reducing inflammation. It was originally found and cultivated in Asia, where it forms an important part of the natural remedies that have been trusted by generations. This is a hugely versatile spice that can be used in an enormous number of ways.

It is commonly used to add flavor in Asian cuisines and as an appetite stimulant. The list of health benefits that have been attributed to ginger is long, with pain reduction, weight loss, improved cardiovascular health, and better digestion all mentioned. For serious athletes, it is the way it is purported to reduce inflammation that may be most useful.

Parsley

This is a flowering plant that originated in the Mediterranean and expanded from there to virtually every part of the planet. Parsley is widely used in many cuisines and offers a wide range of health benefits. These include a high level of vitamin C, anti-inflammatory properties, improved bone health, and better absorption of calcium.

One of the simplest ways for sports stars to get some parsley in their diet is with some green smoothies. Given that the likes of NBA and NFL players need to take on-board a lot of calories each day, this is a clever way to do it in a healthy way. When you bet on sports events, such as the SuperBowl wagers, see if you can work out which players have the best diets that help them to perform well. 

Cilantro

Sometimes known as Chinese parsley and called coriander in certain parts of the world, cilantro shares many of the properties that parsley has. Interestingly, research has shown that whether you love or loathe the taste could come down to genetic factors.  

If you like it, then you could use cilantro in salads, salsas, smoothies, and many other ways. It is one of the nature’s richest sources of chlorophyll and is said to help our digestion, lower pain and inflammation levels, and treat fungal infections too.

Oregano

Another great healing spice, oregano reduces inflammation and also contains large quantities of vitamin B and chlorophyll. It is particularly recommended for people with digestion problems. In terms of athletes, oregano is associated with the benefit of helping sore or stiff muscles to relax.  

Oregano is used in numerous ways, from sprinkling on bread and salads to adding it to tasty sauces. For athletes who are keen to get the maximum amount of benefits, the slightly bitter oregano tea is well worth trying..