3. Vanilla Paste
Vanilla is a popular and expensive spice because the process of growing and hand pollinating the vanilla bean pods requires a considerable amount of work. Vanilla paste offers an alternative to vanilla pods and includes vanilla along with its seeds, in a paste form. This makes it an easy ingredient to add to recipes and it adds a deeper vanilla flavor than just using vanilla pods or liquid vanilla.
2. Black Cardamom
Black cardamom might be related to green cardamom, but there are considerable differences between the two. Black cardamom tends to look less spectacular visually, and it offers a strong smoky flavor to foods, along with earthy and ginger notes. This spice works particularly well along with hot cinnamon and it is also a common ingredient in Indian foods. The strong taste of black cardamom means that you will probably need to play around with the spice to figure out the best ways of using it and the best dishes to combine it with.
1. Szechuan Peppercorns
Szechuan peppercorns is a common spice in a number of different types of cooking, including Indian, Chinese and Tibetan. The term can actually apply to two different species used to produce peppercorns, but their similarity makes them largely interchangeable. These peppercorns could not be imported into the United States from 1968 to 2005, because of a ban based on their potential to carry a bacterial disease that can affect foliage and citrus crops. The ban was lifted in 2005, although any imported Szechuan peppercorns need to be heated to kill any bacteria present.