"Exotic" Twists on Traditional Favorites

Stephanie Bullen
Chief Flavor Advisor
Savory Spice Shop

Print Facebook Twitter Google Plus Pinterest Email
 "Exotic" Twists on Traditional Favorites

I like to experiment in the kitchen. But I have a confession to make. Security sometimes overrides my desire to experiment, to be innovative. Yes, I do return to the same tried and true dishes...again and again and again.

Make no mistake, I enjoy the comfort and memories those favorite recipes bring. At the same time, being just a bit more adventurous has a strong appeal.

So, the million dollar question: how do you make the classics fresh and new while still keeping them familiar and delicious? Two words: exotic spices.

Here's a remarkable secret: many “exotic” spices actually have flavors that are somewhat familiar.

Fennel pollen is also known as “the spice of the angels.” Pollen? Angels? Don’t let that intimidate you. These granules have an intense but slightly sweet flavor, similar to the more familiar fennel seed. My reliable sources tell me that fennel pollen is amazing when lightly dusted over chocolate chip cookies. For a more conventional approach, if you like Italian sausage, try using fennel pollen instead of fennel seed the next time you cook pork tenderloin. If straight fennel pollen is still just a bit too intimidating, try sprinkling our Coastal Cali Fennel Pollen Rub over seafood or seared scallops for a sweet, pungent seasoning.

Have you heard about Pho? This Vietnamese beef noodle soup is one of the newest food crazes. As a rich soup with meat and veggies, it’s easy to understand why it’s savory taste is so popular. Some may argue this point but I think the broth, which is hearty but light and spicy but balanced, is the star of this dish. The depth in the broth comes from the spices, especially from the star anise. This crazy looking spice is actually the fruit of a tree native to Vietnam and China. The flavor is reminiscent of baking spice and anise. The good news is that you don’t have to make pho to use this exotic spice. Try tossing one pod into your chicken soup for about 15 minutes (much like you would a bay leaf), the richness star anise imparts will become your trade secret.

Lime. I can hardly imagine that as an exotic ingredient. But Makrut Lime Leaves? Exotic! We powder these and use them to boost the flavor of our very popular Peruvian Chile Lime Seasoning. This "exotic" flavor is delicious and irresistible. This might sound unbelievable, but these are fantastic for giving just about any dish a great citrusy kick. Our Sweet & Spicy Shortbread Cookies use powdered lime leaves. You absolutely must try these! They are the perfect combination of sweet and savory, with a lime accent.

Who knows, maybe this recipe will inspire you to use an "exotic" ingredient to put a twist on one of your classics! I'm going to try adding a pinch of wasabi to one of my salad dressings, or maybe I’ll grind some galangal and use it to season my steamed veggies this weekend. The possibilities are endless!

Comments on this Article

No comments on this article. Be the first!

Add a comment:


Email Address: (will not be made public)

To help us reduce spam please click on the symbols in the image below
Captcha Button - Yes Captcha Button - No Captcha Button - No Captcha Button - Yes Captcha Button - Yes Captcha Button - No Captcha Button - No Captcha Button - Yes


5280 Magazine adobo Alabama All Natural allspice Ashlee Redger autumn Back to School Bacon baking bananas barbacoa Barbecue barbeque BBQ BBQ Recipes BBQ Sauce BBQ Spices beans beef Behind the Product Behind the Scenes bison Black Dip Blackening bloody mary bouillon bread Breakfast brine brining buffalo sauce buffalo wings burger Burgers cajun Cajun Blackening california paprika Caramel Caribbean Carolina BBQ Carolina Reaper Cedar Plank chai chasing bbq Chicharron Salt chicken chile Chile Flakes chiles chili chimichurri chinese new year chocolate cinnamon Cobbler cocoa coconut coffee Columbian Columbus Day comfort food condiments cookbook cookies cooking with seeds corned beef creole Cuban Cue Glue curry dairy free dairy-free Denver dessert Desserts dinner dip dip recipes dips DIY DIY Recipe Kits dressing dressings dried herbs Dry Brine Easter Easy Dinner Easy Meals Eggs extract extract recipes extracts fall Fall Recipes Family-Friendly Father's Day fish flavored drinks fresh herbs fudge game day Gardening garlic Georgia Georgia Peach Spice gift gift guide gift ideas gift packs gift sets gifts gluten gluten free gluten-free gluten-free menus gluten-free recipes gluten-free spices Grill grilling Growing From Seed guacamole Ham harissa harvest hatch green chile healthy Healthy cooking healthy eating healthy recipes herb recipes herbs holiday holiday brunch holiday cocktail party Holiday Cookies Holiday Gifts Holiday Meal Holiday Meals holiday menu holiday open house Holiday Traditions hot hot sauce hungarian paprika ice cream Illinois Irish jalapeno Jamaican Jamaican Jerk jerk Kansas City KC Barbecue Kebab Kentucky ketchup lamb Latin Lemon Lemon Bars Lemon Pepper lime Liquid Brine makrut mardi gras marinade Marinades Marinate Marinating marninate mayonnaise Meal Planning meatball Meatless Monday Mediterranean Memphis Memphis BBQ menus Mexican Meyer Lemon Middle Eastern MM Local mustard mustard seeds Mutton New Year's North Carolina onion organic paleo paprika Peach Peaches pepper peppercorns pickles popcorn pork Pork Chops Potluck pumpkin Pumpkin Pie Pumpkin Spice Pyramid Peak Quiche Quick and Easy recipes resolutions ribs Rudspice salad Salad Dressing salads Salmon salsa salt Salt Block Cooking salt free salt-free salt-free recipes salt-free seasonings salty Sauce savory savory spice Scallops seafood seed to seed seeds Shrimp Side Dishes sides Skewers Slow Cooker Smoke Cans smoked paprika Smoothie snacks sofrito soup South Carolina southwestern Spanish spanish paprika spice Spice 'n Easy Spice Club Spice it Forward spice to plate spicy spring Sriracha St Louis St. Louis St. Patrick's Day Steak Stocking Stuffer stocking stuffers sugar sugar free sugar free seasonings sugar-free summer summer recipes super bowl sweet Test Kitchen Texas Texas Barbecue Texas BBQ Texas Spices Thanksgiving Toast toasting seeds tomato Top Chef traditions turkey Valentine's Day vanilla Vanilla Beans Vegetarian vindaloo Weeknight Meals Whole Hog whole seeds wings winter Women's Bean Project