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Food is nothing without spices, always better when properly seasoned, and every country has its own preferred ones. It’s these unique combinations that give different cuisines their uniqueness.
Cumin is the most popular spice in the world, and coriander (or cilantro) is the most commonly used herb. In Europe and Africa, garlic is the most common among all dishes considered, and—no surprises here—oregano is common in the Mediterranean regions.
Herbs and spices are used frequently in Polish cooking, but some are used more frequently than others. Stocking your herb cabinet for Polish dishes means concentrating on those herbs and spices that turn up most frequently in recipes. These are the herbs and spices you will most frequently encounter:
Dill (koperek) – its’ aromatic flavor complements many Polish dishes. Can be used as a garnish for soups and salads, great for dill pickles and often used “mizeria” (cucumber/sour cream/yoghurt salad)
Paprika (papryka) – an essential ingredient in goulash, paprika is also popular in Polish recipes, giving a red color and aromatic flavor to many meat dishes
Bay leaves (liście laurowe) – frequently used in soups, stews and meat dishes, bay leaves are essential herbs for Polish cuisine.
Caraway (kminek) – these aromatic little black seeds may be most often encountered in rye bread, where they give the characteristic flavor that goes so well with corned beef. But caraway is also used in many other dishes, from sauerkraut to sausage. They are an essential ingredient in caraway soup or caraway vodka.
Poppy seeds (mak) – these seeds are most often found sprinkled on bread rolls, but they also are an essential ingredient in the well known Polish dessert dish called makowiec (poppy seed cake) and kutia (Christmas pasta dish).
Vegeta – an all-purpose food seasoning. It contains several types of dried vegetables in a unique and original combination of natural vegetables and spices. Used in soups, meats, salads, sauces!
Here are few other names of spices/herbs in Polish:
clove – goździk
allspice – ziele angielskie
nutmeg – gałka muszkatałowa
cinnamon – cynamon
saffron – szafran
curry – curry
turmeric – kurkuma
ginger – imbir
salt – sól
vine vinegar – ocet vinny
vanilla – wanilia
capers – kapary
marjoram – majeranek
basil – bazylia
coriander – kolendra
camomile – rumianek
horseradish – chrzan
mint – mięta
chives – szczypiorek
parsley – pietruszka
garlic – czosnek
My personal favorites are garlic and basil! How about you?
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