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6 Signature Spices of Global Cuisine

One thing all global restaurants have in common? The laundry list of herbs, rubs, and seasonings that populate the menus. From tart to peppery, here are six signature spices to know.


1. Garam Masala

An Indian spice staple, garam masala preparations can vary, but most often it’s a highly aromatic blend of peppercorn, cloves, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, bay leaf, and cardamom.


2. Sumac

The flowers of the sumac plant are dried and made into a powder used heavily in Middle Eastern cuisines. The antioxidant-packed spice has a tart flavor like lemon, but is less tangy, and is usually sprinkled on rice.


3. Jerk Seasoning

The quintessential Jamaican spice is typically made of peppers, cloves, cinnamon, thyme, and other seasonings and rubbed over meat.


4. Berbere

This Ethiopian and Eritrean seasoning includes chili pepper, ground onion, garlic, and other additions like paprika, cumin, fenugreek, cardamom, sea salt, coriander, and cinnamon.


5. Khmeli Suneli

Common in stews and meat plates in Georgia, this mixture usually includes fenugreek, coriander, peppercorns, dill, bay leaves, and mint.


6. Turmeric

A common ingredient in Thai, Caribbean, and Indian cooking, turmeric is used as a natural yellow dye in foods (hello, yellow curry!) but is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties.

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