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What spices should I try?

I like to have a wishlist by Christmastime, which includes inexpensive stuff. I thought, hey, I'll add togarashi and pomegranate molasses. What else should I add? Looking for crossover type ingredients- stuff that's pretty versatile. Any suggestions much appreciated.

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  1. How about sumac (or za'atar, a spice blend that incorporates sumac and sesame seeds and salt). Good for Middle Eastern/North African/Turkish cooking.

    1 Reply
    1. re: nofunlatte

      Sumac is good on anything! I sprinkle some on sliced tomatoes when they could use a little help.

    2. I'll second the za'atar! And the pomegranate molasses...YUM! My favorite salad is baby spinach, feta, toasted walnuts/almonds, craisins - dressed with olive oil, pomegranate molasses, salt, pepper, and sugar/simple syrup and lemon juice if you want. YUM.
      Tabil (Tunisian blend - yummy on roasted tomatoes, veggies)
      Ras El Hanout (Moroccan/North African blend - good with any kind of roasted meats especially chicken in my opinion)

      1 Reply
      1. re: kamper

        Third on the sumac/za'atar. Yum..It's soooo great. I've even started to make a salad dressing of greek yoghurt, a squeeze of lemon and sumac.

      2. Any kind of nuts would be high on my list--pistachios are my latest favorite.

        1. A nice dark sesame oil - the stuff made in Japan in the odd shaped bottle is my fav!

          LOVE pomegranate molasses - also nice for making a glaze on fish or chicken...

          And dried apricots are great - lovely on their own, or simmered with chicken (or pork!).

          1 Reply
          1. re: happybaker

            I second the dried apricots -- the unsulfured ones are especially delicious! Dried figs are a favourite as well.

            Vanilla beans are also wonderful (and inexpensive if you buy them online).

            Or how about crystallized ginger or smoked paprika or saffron.

          2. Aleppo. Delicious stuff. I've only gotten it from Penzey's but haven't looked anywhere else.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ErnieD

              Agreed! You can get a lot of aleppo for a good price at any Middle Eastern market. Mmmm!