The use of Herb's in the kitchen is ruled by culinary tradition which vary from country to country .Every cuisine its own favorite herbs : oregano, mint & dill in the Middle East & Greece are used in a great deal in the lamb dishes .In Thailand coriander leaves are used in almost every dish on the table and lemon grass flavors the fish and chicken dishes in written Sage is favorite with pork and gives its green color to the "Sage Derby cheese" while roast lamb is always served with mint sauce .
Dill is an important flavoring for fish in Scandinavia, soups in Russia and Denmark and for pickling cucumber in America. Italians acknowledge the happy union of basal and tomatoes, rosemary and lamb and Germans of savory with beans .The French of tarragon with chicken and fennel with fish .The Herbs of Province which are justly famous for the pungency and aroma are Thyme ,marjoram, Tarragon, Juniper, Lavender, Bay, Rosemary etc
Fresh Herb's are always preferred to the dried ones & herbs such as parsley, marjoram, basil or thyme can be grown in pots. Dried herbs are concentrated than fresh ones because the water content has been removed .For every teaspoons of dried herbs, use 3 teaspoon or 1 teaspoons of fresh herbs. Bouquet garni ,much used in French cooking is a bouquet of herbs tied with a piece of string or in tied in a small square cheese cloth and put into sauces, stews or court bullion .Strictly the herbs are parsley springs thyme springs and bay leaf but other seasonings such as celery, garlic, rosemary, marjoram and so on .
SOME OF THE HERBS USED IN COOKERY
BASIL: A favorite herb in the French cookery, it has a flavor similar to that of cloves .It is in the preparation of mock thistle soup made of shellfish .It is also used in flavoring vinegar.
BURNETL: This is not used much in cookery now except for salads when bruised it smells like cucumber
CHERVIL AND TARRAGON: The leaves of chervil posses a flavor which is appreciated by many people .Tarragon also belongs to the same family as that of woodworm. Of all the pot herbs , tarragon and chervil has the strongest smell .They are used in great deal in French cookery for entrees , sauces, soups , salads, chaudfroid . Tarragon leaves are also used for the flavoring vinegar
GARLIC: This consists of a group of serceral bulbs called cloves, all enclosed in one membranous skin .When used carefully and sparingly garlic is an excellent condiment. It is considered to be very wholesome and stimulant.
MARJORAM: There are four kinds of Marjoram; the most widely used is the sweet or the knotted marjoram .Originally the native of Portugal, where it is most commonly used. It is used for soups, sauces, stews etc and can be used fresh or in dry state.
LEMON: It plays an important part in sauces. The rind juice and the essential oils contain valuable properties .The rind peel is used for flavoring a variety of dishes .Generally ,the rind is grated but the best way is to peel the rind with a very sharp knife as thin as possible without touching the white part .
MINT: This belongs to the family of plants called "Labiatae
Mentha Viridis". It is the most commonly cultivated in gardens it had better flavor and is the one used popularly in the cooking. It has the property of removing flatulence.
ONION: The name onions are given all the plants of onion tribe. For example: - leeks, garlic, shallots. The onion is next to salt, the most valuable of all flavoring ingredients used in cookery .They should be blended well with other flavorings.
PARSLEY: it possesses a wonderful quality of marking a dish with a very strong flavor if used in larger quantity than required .It not all gives a finishing touch to the stew, soups and sauces but it is also widely used in garnish .Powdered parsley is an excellent herb which impart the delicate flavor to the cooked food .To make powder parsley infuse some parsley leaves in boiling water for a few second .Drain and put into a hot oven to dry .Pass through a sieve and use as required .
SAVOURY: There are two varieties in this herb one of which is known as the summer variety. It is taken from a flowery herb plant. Both the variety is extensively used in western cooking.
SHALLOTS: This bulbous root resembles garlic. It is a native of Palestine and was introduced to England by the crusaders.
THYME: This belongs to the same family as the mint .The leaves are used both in fresh and in dry state for stuffing and in soup .It possesses a high aromatic flavor hence should be used sparingly. Lemon thyme is a smaller variety and has a strong fragrance like that of rind of lemon. Leaves of ajwain can be used as a substitute for thyme
VANILLA: This was first discovered by the Spanish .It is the fruit of an orchid. The best variety is grown in Mexico .It has the delicious flavor and largely used for flavoring puddings, custard, chocolates etc for flavoring, it is better to use vanilla pod or vanilla sugar, since the odour of the essence escapes rapidly.
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