Food and Drink

Essential spices used in Vietnamese cooking

Vietnamese food highlights a blend of five taste elements, namely, bitter, salty, sweet, spicy, and sour. Vietnamese dishes exhibit a particular flavor that not only reflects at least one of the five elements but also takes the base of the principal spices. Apart from imparting flavor to the dish, the spices also enhance the taste and promote digestion.

Spices make the food mouth-watering, and the use of spices is different in every region of Vietnam. People dwelling in central Vietnam prefer spicy and colorful foods. People belonging to northern Vietnam use black pepper instead of chilli and the southern Vietnam cuisines are strongly influenced by the Chinese, Cambodian, and Thai cuisines.

Here’s the list of essential and commonly used spices in Vietnamese cuisines.

  1. Star anise.

Vietnam star anise, a star-shaped seedpod, is an essential ingredient of Vietnamese cuisines. In Vietnam, star anise is considered a crucial ingredient in the preparation of the world’s famous Vietnamese cuisine Pho. The significant feature of star anise is that it enhances the flavor of the meat. Thus, it is widely used in meat dishes to enhance the flavor and taste.

  1. Black peppercorns.

Vietnamese dipping sauce recipe shows black peppercorns, salt, and lime juice as the essential ingredients. Scattering the black peppercorns over the dish enhances the taste and adds aroma to the food as well. This spice is added to almost all the dishes.

  1. Fried shallot.

Fried shallot is one of the significant spices used in Vietnamese dishes. Fried shallot is widely added to stir-fried vegetbales to give it a nutty-onion taste. Sprinkle the fried shallots and enjoy its great flavor. Fried shallots are prepared from shallots. Finely chop the shallots and boil them in oil on low-medium heat. Stir it well until the shallots turn brown. Strain them. Salt them and leave them as such for little time. They are now ready for use.

  1. Cinnamon.

Cinnamon is the most widely used spice. Vietnamese cinnamon has high levels of spice and a bigger bark than Indonesian varieties of the same. Cinnamon imparts a sweet smell and taste, which is due to the presence of aromatic oils in it. One bark of cinnamon is sufficient to flavor the entire pot of the dish. Check out Vietnamese dipping sauce recipe. It contains cinnamon. Similarly, cinnamon is present in various famous Vietnamese dishes like pho, noodles, etc.

  1. Cardamom.

Cardamom is another widely used spice next to cinnamon and star anise. Similar to cinnamon and star anise, cardamom also forms the base for soups. The Vietnamese dipping sauce recipe reveals that cardamom enhances the flavor of the dish and acts as a primary base. Black and green cardamom are the two types available for use as a spice. Black cardamom imparts a smoky flavor, and the green cardamom offers even more subtle flavor to the dish.

A notable point about cardamom is that it offers various health benefits. Cardamom keeps away the gastro-intestinal problems like acidity, indigestion, nausea, vomitings, and stomach pain.

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