The role of spices in cooking:

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Assistant Cook
May 2, 2023
Exploring the flavors and health benefits of different spices.
  • Spices are used to add flavor, aroma, and color to food.
  • They come from the seeds, roots, bark, and fruits of plants.
  • Different spices have different flavor profiles that can be used to create a range of different tastes and sensations.
  • Spices also have health benefits and can be used in a variety of cuisines.
  • When using spices, it's important to be mindful of the amount used and store them properly to preserve their freshness and flavor.


Sous Chef
Aug 12, 2006
There are different views too.

You wrote about spices in an additive manner, one is adding to the food. English biases us to think this way. Adding something is good in English.

In cooking, thinking in reduction can be useful. Trim off the silverskin, excess fat. And this subtraction is done to improve texture, final flavor and so on.

The highest grade of sauces are reductions.

You might use salt to draw out moisture or blood as in koshering poultry.

The chinese in part think about seasoning as corrections to flaws in the original product. Ginger, scallions, even garlic suppresses off flavors. Wine and pepper supress rank flavors. The Chinese language videos often talk about using white pepper to reduce the fishy smells and flavors, not about the flavor of pepper itself.

Beyond that many spice choices in Chinese cooking are beliefs about health. They are added to increase an attribute, fight off an illness, correct an imbalance.

Spices have a range of uses and reasoning beyond the western merely additive view.

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