Sunday, August 9, 2015

Spices - The Tiny House Friendly Way To Add Lots Of Variety!

Spices. They are foundational to tasty food in my opinion. And if you live in a tiny house, they are small and light, and can make a crazy difference in the flavor of your food. As your probably know, I love to cook from scratch and I use a large selection of spices. (Which I store in racks on the back of my pantry door.) But are you comfortable with knowing what spice to use with what food? When I was learning to cook, my mom had a list hanging on the back of the spice cupboard door that was very helpful. I think when I learned how to season food, it was a huge help to me in my cooking. Now if I'm making tomato soup for instance, I have an easy reference for what spices would compliment tomatoes, and I can experiment within that.

I don't know where the list my mom had that I learned from originated, but the source for this one is at the bottom of the page. I recommend printing this and hanging it somewhere (like the inside of the door) close to where you store your spices for easy reference.

Spices By Foods They Compliment: 

Chicken - Basil, Bay Leaf, Cilantro, Cinnamon, Curry Powder, Garlic, Lemongrass, Mace, Marjoram, Mint, Onion, Paprika, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Saffron, Savory, Tarragon, Thyme

Beef - Basil, Bay Leaf, Black Pepper, Cayenne, Cumin, Curry Powder, Dry Mustard Powder, Garlic, Green Pepper,Lemongrass, Onion, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme

Fish - Bay Leaf, Cayenne, Curry Powder, Celery Seed, Chives, Dill, Fennel, Lemongrass, Lemon Zest, Marjoram, Mint, Dry Mustard Powder, Onion, Paprika, Parsley, Red Bell Pepper, Saffron, Sage, Sesame Seed, Tarragon, Thyme, Turmeric

Lamb- Basil, Cinnamon, Cumin, Curry Powder, Garlic, Marjoram, Mint, Onion, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Savory, Sesame Seed, Thyme

Pork - Allspice, Caraway, Celery Seed, Cloves, Coriander, Fennel, Ginger, Juniper Berries, Dry Mustard Powder, Paprika, Sage, Savory

Veal - Bay Leaf, Black Pepper, Curry Powder, Dill, Ginger, Lemon, Marjoram, Mint, Oregano, Paprika, Parsley, Saffron,Sage, Tarragon

Eggs - Basil, Chives, Curry Powder, Dry Mustard Powder, Green or Red Bell Pepper, Onion, Paprika, Parsley, Tarragon

Cheese - Chives, Nutmeg, Oregano, Red Pepper, Sage, Tarragon, Thyme

Artichokes - Bay Leaf, Parsley, Oregano, Thyme

Asparagus - Garlic, Lemon, Onion, Chives, Sesame Seed, Tarragon

Beets - Star Anise, Allspice, Basil, Dill, Ginger, Mint

Bell Peppers - Basil, Oregano, Rosemary

Broccoli - Red Pepper, Savory, Turmeric

Cabbage - Caraway Seeds, Celery Seed, Juniper Berries, Tarragon

Carrots - Allspice, Star Anise, Bay Leaf, Caraway Seeds, Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, Mint,Sage, Tarragon

Cauliflower - Chives, Coriander, Sage, Turmeric

Corn – Basil, Chives, Dill Seeds, Oregano

Cucumbers - Dill, Mint

Eggplant - Basil, Cumin, Marjoram, Oregano

Fennel - Caraway Seeds, Fennel Seeds, Rosemary, Thyme

Green Beans - Basil, Dill, Garlic, Onion, Savory

Mushrooms- Black Pepper, Marjoram, Nutmeg, parsley, oregano, sage, tarragon, thyme

Onion - caraway seed, mustard seed, nutmeg, Oregano, Sage, Thyme

Peas - Mint, Onion, Parsley, Rosemary, Tarragon, Turmeric

Potatoes - Caraway Seeds, Chives, Dill, Dill Seeds, Paprika, Parsley, Thyme, Turmeric

Spinach - Dill, Nutmeg, Tarragon

Sweet Potatoes - Allspice, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg

Tomatoes - Basil, Cilantro, Cumin, Fennel Seeds, Garlic, Oregano, Red Pepper, Black Pepper,Rosemary, Saffron, Tarragon, Thyme

Zucchini - Basil, Oregano

Spices By Ethnic Foods They Compliment:

Cajun & Creole Spices 
Allspice, basil, bay leaves, black pepper, caraway seeds, cardamom, cayenne, celery seed, chives, chile peppers,cinnamon, cloves, cumin, dill seed, dill weed, garlic, gumbo filé, lemon, mace, marjoram, nutmeg, onion, oregano (Mediterranean), paprika, parsley, saffron, savory, tarragon, thyme, white pepper and yellow mustard.

Caribbean Spices
Allspice, achiote seeds (annatto seeds), black pepper, chile peppers, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, ginger, lime, mace, nutmeg,onion, and thyme.

Chinese Spices
Cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, ginger, hot mustard, lemongrass, Sichuan peppercorns, star anise, Tien Tsin chiles,turmeric and white pepper.Indian Spices

Indian Spices
Anise seed, ajwain, asafoetida, bay leaf, black cardamom, black cumin, black mustard seed, black pepper, black salt,brown mustard seed, citric acid, chile peppers, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cubeb berries, cumin, dried mango, fennel seed, fenugreek leaves, fenugreek seeds, garlic, ginger, green cardamom, lemon, lime, long pepper, mace, mint, nigella,nutmeg, onion, poppy seeds, saffron, sesame seed, star anise, turmeric and white pepper.

Italian Spices
Basil, garlic, onion, oregano (Mediterranean), marjoram and parsley.

Mediterranean Spices
Basil, bay leaves, black caraway, black pepper, cardamom, chervil, chile peppers, chives, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves,coriander, cumin, fennel seed, fenugreek seeds, garlic, ginger, juniper, mace, marjoram, mint, nutmeg, onion, oregano (Mediterranean), paprika, parsley, rosemary, saffron, sage, savory, tarragon, thyme, turmeric and white pepper.

Mexican Spices
Allspice, achiote seeds (annatto seeds), basil, Mexican cinnamon, cayenne, chile peppers, cilantro, coriander, cumin,epazote, mint, nutmeg, oregano (Mexican), sage and thyme.

Middle Eastern Spices
Aleppo pepper, anise seed, caraway, cardamom, cumin, maras pepper, nutmeg, sumac and turmeric

North African Spices
Birds eye chiles, cilantro, cinnamon, cubeb berries, cumin, garlic, ginger, grains of paradise, long pepper, mint, onion andsaffron.

Spanish Spices
Basil, bay leaf, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, mint, nutmeg, oregano (Mediterranean), paprika (Smoked Sweet),parsley, rosemary, saffron, sage, tarragon,thyme and vanilla.

Thai Spices
Basil, black pepper, cardamom, chile peppers, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, lime, mace, mint, nutmeg, shallots, turmeric and white pepper.

What are your favorite seasonings? Or what are you going to try after reading this list? I'd love to hear about it!



  1. Do I smell a Tiny House spice exchange club on the horizon?! (I hope so!) ��

    1. Maybe, but I seem to use everything I grow. ;) I'm not sure I'd have any extra to exchange!

  2. I like to experiment with spice too, and the way I do it is to pull some from the shelf, open the lids, and smell them one after the other, discarding the ones that don't smell compatible. I usually won't try this method with more that six spices at a time, so I don't overwhelm my olfactory sense. I also start this method with one herb or spice that I know I am going to use in the dish and then let my nose choose the others. No one has complained about the resulting taste of the food yet.
    I love the list you've included, and will definitely tape it to the inside of the spice cabinet.

    1. Nice, sounds like it's working well for you. Some people are just scared to try spices and I'd love to make everyone more comfortable with cooking tasty food.

  3. Useful reference list! Thanks for posting. My 84-year-old mother likes having at least a couple of small pots of fresh herbs handy indoors so she can snip and add them to dishes. Do you have any tips for growing fresh herbs in a very small, indoor space?

    1. I grow most of mine outside in the summer. If you have very limited space and have to grow inside, just use things that are naturally smaller plants. Thyme can be very tiny. Basil is pretty small. etc. And then there are things like dill that get huge and probably won't work well inside. Ikea makes a little kitchen holder rod that you can hang small buckets from. They look like you could plant things in them so that may work well to put them on the wall if spaces to set them are limited.

    2. Thanks! She usually has two pots going at one time. She's been successful with basil (her favorite), thyme, rosemary, and she currently has oregano and sage going. I am thinking about the wall-hanging idea.

  4. Hello Ariel. I just wanted to let you know that in my case I never grew up with my mother past age 7. To learn how you grew up learning all of the herb and cooking you did is wonderful. Of course it was a lot of work when you have many siblings. I never think that is fair to children. At the same time you are a professional chef, even if you don't think so, being that you automatically know how to just add things that go together to a dish. I love learning from someone who just adds a little of this or that to make something. The recipe simply would be to add a pinch of this or a dash of that or leftover of whatever. It shows your wonderful experience with cooking which is great. Thank you so much for sharing. It would be great to see some cooking videos no matter what you cook, especially when you add the herbs to the food. Oh and I'm an outdoor country nature person also but I live in the city. We have winters here so can relate to that too. I love your wood burning stove.