It goes without saying that herbs and spices rank among the most prized food ingredients for people the world over. Professional chefs will undoubtedly know the value that these food ingredients offer. However, even the average Australian will be aware of the subtle manner in which these ingredients can make a simple dish acquire a distinctive flavour. In terms of convenience, not many food ingredients can offer comparable levels of taste as dried herbs.
Similarly, in terms of value, dried herbs can be hard to beat too. To cite an example, you will inevitably use a lesser proportion of dried herbs in a dish as opposed to its fresher variety. This will usually be the case because dried herbs feature superior concentration in taste than their fresher counterparts. Thus, you’ll easily be able to make a bland and boring dish more delicious and jazzier with the use of some commonly available dried herbs.
Some of the most commonly used dried herbs in Australia include:
- Dill: The fragrance of fresh dill can be quite compelling. However, when you cannot lay your hands on fresh dill, opt for its dried form instead. Using dried dill can make any dish incredibly aromatic and flavourful.
- Oregano: For many people, dried oregano offers better value than its fresh variety. Spices and beans suppliers will invariably stock dried oregano and other dried herbs. Dried oregano often comes into use when preparing Mexican and Italian dishes.
- Bay Leaves: Bay leaves can be among the most easily identifiable herbs sold in the markets nowadays. Adding them to any dish can enhance its flavour by several notches. This can be especially so when preparing stocks, stews, soups and braises. A few bay leaves can imbue these preparations with a mellow sweetness.
- Thyme: Many Australians prefer using fresh sprigs of thyme for flavouring an assortment of dishes. However, when you cannot find fresh thyme, consider using its dried version instead. This multi-purpose herb can impart a distinctive flavour to soups and casseroles alike.
- Sage: In its dried form, sage comes in two varieties – powdered and rubbed. If you truly want to bring out the flavour of sage in your dishes, consider using the rubbed or crumbled variety. It can be worth mentioning that dried sage will lack the aroma and flavour that its fresher form features. But, it still complements a variety of dishes including meat-based dishes.
- Rosemary: Chefs often use rosemary for imbuing slow-cooked dishes with a pine-like fragrance. In particular, this dried herb comes into use in stews, braises, Italian soups etc. However, it can be best to chop dried rosemary prior to using it in your dishes. Otherwise, you could end up with a dish that features spiky rosemary leaves in it.
- Mint: The contemporary popularity of Middle Eastern cuisine has brought the use of dried mint in cooking back in vogue. Like its fresher form, dried mint can overpower the flavour of the dish quite easily. Hence, consider using it sparingly.
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