The Secret to Creating Global Flavors While Cooking at Home
Hint: It's incredibly easy to do and doesn't cost much money at all.
Want to re-create global flavors at home? The key is mixing and matching herbs you're probably already familiar with (pictured from top left). Keep reading for strategies, techniques, and tips on combining fresh herbs—from the Real Simple test kitchen to yours.
Twenty-five species exist, but spearmint is one of the most common. Besides using mint for pea recipes and tea, try adding fresh torn leaves to a pasta or grain salad. This herb loves zucchini and cucumbers, two summertime stars; pair lots of mint with parsley for a fresh Middle Eastern flavor.
With a mild oniony taste, this slender herb adds depth in a delicate way. Look for a bunch with lavender-colored flowers attached (you can eat those too!). Toss chives with parsley, tarragon, and chervil to make classic French fines herbes.
This sturdy herb is lamb's best friend and traditional on a roast, but it stuns in a lemon pound cake. For a tasty herbal iced tea, steep rosemary in hot water with lemon verbena, then chill.
You know it works in Italian dishes, but basil is also welcome in desserts alongside strawberries and stone fruit. Toss it with cilantro and mint to give a meal Southeast Asian flair. Try Thai basil for authentic flavor and opal basil for a surprise pop of purple.
Combine this versatile herb with cumin and oregano for Latin American dishes, curry powder for Indian meals, and coconut milk for aromatic Thai dinners.
Good in more than just stuffing, sage shines when pan-fried in butter or olive oil and takes any plate of pasta, pork tenderloin, or chicken to new heights. Its earthy flavor is a delicious complement to roasted peaches or apples, especially when combined with woody thyme.