May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, meaning it’s the perfect time to celebrate this rich culture by exploring all of the tastiest traditional foods we can find! While Pacific Islander cuisine blends various ingredients for a delicious final result, no food is complete without spices.
Flavor is everything when enjoying food, and seasoning is the only surefire way to make your flavors pop. To help you celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we’ve compiled the ultimate list of some delicious, traditional organic spices commonly found in Pacific Islander cuisine and some examples of the delicious meals you can create with them. Let’s dive in!
So What Spices are Common in Asian American and Pacific Islander Cuisine?
A staple of Asian American and Pacific Islander cuisine is turmeric, a spice known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric can be included in various food and drink recipes to provide a pleasant, slight bitterness and enhance the flavor of the other ingredients. As part of the ginger family, turmeric is integral to the earthiness that comes through in Asian American and Pacific Islander cuisine.
Turmeric can be used in many recipes, such as this delicious Fijian Fish Curry. However, it’s an incredibly versatile spice you can add to anything, from your morning cup of coffee to a delicious homemade chili.
We recently learned a thing or two about curries, but there is always more to know! Curries really are a worldwide phenomenon!
Ginger's distinct–and delicious–flavor makes it an excellent addition to many recipes. Ginger has a bold, aromatic flavor and a spicy kick to make an impact on anyone who tastes it. It is an incredibly flexible spice used in numerous Pacific Island dishes to add a warm flavor and a spicy aftertaste in sweet and savory recipes.
To honor Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with delicious organic ground ginger, why not test this tasty lumpia recipe?
Spicy, earthy flavors are a staple of classic Asian and Pacific Islander dishes, and a massive contributor to this memorable taste is coriander. Ground coriander is similar to ginger in many ways and provides a citrusy, peppery, and pungent flavor that makes it stick out in any dish.
Try out ground coriander yourself in classic dishes like this delicious chickpea curry.
Garlic is a given in most kitchens and adds an irresistible flavor to many recipes and a pungent and savory flavor commonly found in cuisines like Hawaiian food. Even a simple dash of minced garlic can go a long way in taking your traditional dishes to the next level and unlocking the mouth-watering flavors of Pacific Islander cuisine.
If you want to cook traditional Hawaiian food this month, check out this delicious fried chicken recipe.
5. Black Sesame
Another delicious addition to Pacific Islander and Hawaiian food is the rich and unique black sesame seed, often the perfect finishing touch for dishes like salads, bagels, sushi, and soup. Black sesame seeds have a rich and nutty flavor and a bold black shade that make them stand out no matter the recipe.
These seeds originate from the Sesamum Indicum plant and are equally healthy and delicious. Consider putting black sesame front and center in these mouth-watering smoked salmon rounds with black sesame seeds.
Another excellent spice in many Asian American and Pacific Islander dishes is cardamom, a pungent and sweet seasoning used to flavor sweet and savory dishes, including coffee, rice dishes, tea, and curries. Cardamom has numerous health benefits and is part of the ginger family.
Cardamom has a unique taste that balances mint, cinnamon, and a piney aftertaste for an exceptional flavor experience. Adding cardamom to your next dish can provide a memorable taste that you can incorporate into endless other recipes to try out some new flavors. If you’re looking for a traditional cardamom recipe to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Island Heritage Month, check out this milk bread buns recipe with cardamom and black sesame seed.
7. Bay Leaves
The versatile bay leaf can be found in different recipes across a plethora of Asian American and Pacific Islander cuisine. Bay leaves originate from laurel trees and have a somewhat minty, mild flavor with an earthy bitterness typical of this cuisine.
Bay leaves are perfect for various recipes and can add a unique flavor to dishes like soups, potatoes, sauces, veggies, teas, stews, and shellfish. Subtle hints of pine and pepper help to balance rich dishes that would be too heavy otherwise. If you want to start incorporating bay leaves into your cooking this month, try this Filipino Adobong Manok (marinated chicken) recipe we love!
8. Lemon Zest
Adding some extra citrus to your dish can make a massive–and welcome–difference in the overall flavor. Lemon zest has a tasty citrus flavor without as much bitterness as you’d find in lemon peel. Lemon zest is perfect for capturing the lemon taste without getting all of the acidity in the mix.
Lemon zest is also popular in traditional Asian American and Pacific Islander recipes, making it a helpful seasoning to have by your side this month. Use delicious, organic lemon zest in recipes like this delicious chicken stir fry with vegetables.
9. Chili Powder
Chili powder is necessary for any avid chef looking to celebrate this month with traditional Asian and Pacific Islander flavors and recipes. Chili powder has a full-bodied aroma and bold flavor, making it the star of many dishes. Take your spices up a notch using organic chili powder in tasty recipes like this okra fry.
Find the Best Organic Spices From FreshJax
No dish is complete without a perfect blend of spices and seasonings. To celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with traditional cuisine, you must ensure that your kitchen is stocked with the best quality spices. That’s where the flavorful, organic spices and blends from FreshJax come in.
FreshJax understands that food is all about flavor, and the flavor is all about seasoning! Mastering this unique and irresistible cuisine is possible with our extensive supply of organic spices to suit your cooking needs and help you find your favorite recipes for years to come. Check out our unique, organic spices catalog today to plan your next unforgettable meal!
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