Spices and herbs of the world

by Sanjeev Kapoor

One can say food without spices would be like life without friends, it will exist, but there won’t be any excitement or fun! Spices and herbs play an exemplary role in crafting delicious delights in the culinary world.  Like in India, we can never get done with adding spices to all our dishes and we have our own beloved spices, distinctive to each region.  Similarly, every country has their own mix and match of spices and herbs which are incorporated while prepping varied dishes. We’ve got some information on which ones are the most important spices and herbs in several countries and why do they think it’s important.  Take a look.



  • Saffron (Azafran) - The good old kesar which has been regarded as one of the most expensive spices in the world is very dear to the Spanish cuisine. Spaniards love adding a pinch of saffron to the most popular dishes like Paella.
  • Ñora Pepper - The use of peppers in this cuisine is extravagant, but these are not the usual ones. Spanish cuisine uses Nora peppers, which are of the ‘ball variety.’ They have a little sweet and a strong aroma to add to the dish, without making it spicy.
  • Garlic (Ajo): Lehsun or garlic has added natural flavours to most popular dishes in various cuisines around the world. Spanish cuisine uses it in the prepping of many popular dishes like gazpacho, aioli, ajoblanco and many more.



  • Oregano (Origano) - You might already know that Italian cuisine considers Oregano as their star ingredient. Almost every recipe is seasoned with this flavourful herb.
  • Hot Pepper (Peperoncino) - Italians only use the freshly ground pepper in their food. The special kick it adds to the food is one of the secrets why Italian food is to die for.
  • Rosemary (Rosmarino) – This popular herb is a native to Italy and is used to add an extra aroma to the dish. It has got a potent whiff to it which enhances the dish and adds the ‘wow’ factor to it.



  • Cassia, Chinese Cinnamon (Ròuguì) - This is quite similar to the usual cinnamon we use. The Chinese prefer using it more in their desserts, pastries, cakes, etc.
  • Ginger (Jiang) - Ginger is used extensively by the Chinese. Garlic and ginger both are used together to flavour most of the comforting Oriental dishes.
  • Sichuan Pepper -It is a very popular condiment in Sichuan cuisine. It’s known for its numbing taste and is also one of the ingredients in the popular ‘five-spice powder.


  • Dill (Anthos) - Dill, the nutritious herb is very popular  in  Greek food. They use it widely in fish and salad recipes.
  • Fennel leaves (Maratho) – Another widely used herb in Greek cuisine is fennel leaves.. It is added majorly in seafood dishes, stews, meats and fritters for flavour.
  • Spearmint (Dyosmos) - Mint is one of the most widely used herbs in the world. However, the Greeks use the spearmint to flavour their cheese-based dishes, rice, sauces and more. It is also used to make a special kind of herbal tea in this cuisine.



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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.