7 Essential Asian Cooking Spices For Asian Cuisine Lovers

asian cooking spices

Asian cuisine is heart-warming and for a number of reasons. Whether it’s Asian BBQ chicken, chili chicken, or noodle soup, it’s the use of


A close up of a bottle and a glass of milk

Cumin is one of the most used Asian cooking spices. Both white and black cumin is added to prepare meat dishes, noodle soups, marinades, curries, and more. While cumin has a strong aroma and distinguishing bitter flavor, the black variant is less pungent. No matter which variety you use, it will aid digestion and boost your immunity. Try adding white cumin in Southeast Asian dishes including stir-fried noodles, grilled chicken, chicken sandwiches, and slow-roasted pork. If you need a more complex flavor, experiment with black cumin.


Many different types of food on a table

Known for its woody and sweet flavor, cinnamon is present in almost all kinds of Asian dishes – be it hot, sweet, mild, or spicy. This spice comes in various varieties, the most common ones being Chinese cinnamon, Indonesian cinnamon, and Vietnamese cinnamon. While the Chinese version imparts a hot and spicy flavor to the dish, the Vietnamese cinnamon gives it a peppery and sweet taste. The Indonesian version of the spice is the mildest cinnamon that helps balance the flavors. Add cinnamon to chicken dishes, desserts, and curries as per your taste.


If you are cooking Chinese or Indian dishes, adding garlic to them is a must. Be it a stir-fry, noodles, rice, or soups, add garlic to impart pungent, spicy flavor. Garlic is also an antibiotic spice that promotes blood circulation and prevents infections. You can use garlic cloves or add the spice in powder form.


Just like garlic, ginger is one of the most popular Asian cooking spices. It is generally accompanied by garlic in fish curries, sauces, soups, and stir-fries. Those who require high-Yang generally prefer this seasoning herb. It is hence, widely used during cold weather season when Yang is low. Add ginger to your soups and rice dishes in powdered or root form. You can also add ginger to your desserts such as muffins, cakes, bread, and other sweet snacks.


The anti-inflammatory properties and a distinct yellow color make turmeric a well-known spice used in Asian cuisine. It is a crucial spice to prepare curry dishes and make them more appealing. Add turmeric to tandoori chicken, roasted honey pork, Malaysian Rendang, Chicken Khao Soi, and Indian chicken curry. You can also use them in curry-flavored noodles or rice.


Cloves are used in various parts of Asia to give their dishes an intense flavor and aroma. This spice imparts both sweetness and bitterness and hence has a unique taste. Add cloves to savory and sweet food recipes as per your convenience. Use whole cloves in broths and rice dishes. Ground cloves can be added to almost every dish such as stews, soups, stir-fries, and even desserts.

Well, clove is also a crucial ingredient in Chinese five-spice seasoning along with salt, star anise, cinnamon, black pepper, and fennel. It is also used in Lebanese 7-spice powder.

Star Anise

Known to be a chief ingredient in the infamous 5-spice powder, star anise has a sweet taste. It can enhance the flavor of any dish including beef, pork, or chicken dishes, soups, and even tea. Try adding star anise to fried rice, Chinese chicken, noodle soup, honey-glazed pork, Chinese tea, beef soup, and other Asian dishes of choice.

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