Singapore’s diversity is not only celebrated in our international array of restaurants island-wide but also in the kitchens of every Singapore household.
Walk into your Malay friend’s kitchen and don’t be surprised if you find a pot of Hokkien Mee, halal-style. Walk into your Chinese friend’s home and you might just be greeted by the mouth-watering aroma of mutton masala. Walk into your Indian friend’s home and feel the heat from a wok of sambal fish bubbling on the stove.
Our melting pot of cultures have inevitably led to a shared taste for multi-racial cuisine prepared in the comforts of our very own kitchen.
Living on your own? Moving in your first home?
Fear not, Cultlinary arms you with a (non-exhaustive) list of 10 essential spices your Singapore home kitchen needs. Now!
Chilli (Ground & Flakes)
Heat is quintessential to the Singaporean palate. There are many powerful blends of chilli powder in the market, unique to the cuisine you are preparing.
Ask for the Kashmiri chilli powder at any Indian grocer and be prepared to receive a bright red powder which will add a great deal of flavour and nuance to all your curries.
Chilli flakes, on the other hand, add specks of smokey heat to any stir-fried dish and to Italian favourites like aglio-olio and pizzas.
Cinnamon (Ground & Sticks)
Ah, the sweet smell of Christmas, which also smells like the warmth of every Asian mom’s kitchen. Cinnamon is a versatile spice, perfect in both savoury and sweet dishes.
Stock up on sticks of cinnamon, easily found in every grocer in Singapore, such as comforting bowls of this Sichuan-style chicken noodle soup. While you’re at it, grab a packet of cinnamon powder to sprinkle atop your hot chocolate and cakes.
Coriander (Ground & Seeds)
Yet another versatile spice, coriander is not only a contributing factor to aromatic curries, it is also a great component in spice rubs for chicken and fish!
Stock on both Coriander seeds and powder for more flavoursome dishes.
For maximum flavour, roast this spice before adding to your dish.
Cumin (Ground & Seeds)
Cumin is what gives briyani its appealing aroma. If you’re a big fan of this Indian-Muslim favourite, Cultlinary encourages you to buy a small packet of these aromatic to perfume your steamed rice.
Your guests will appreciate the familiarity!
Did you know that five-spice powder is not only unique to Chinese cuisine but also commonly used in Arabic cookery? Now you do!
Perfect with vegetables, stews and roasts, this spice blend will add an impressive kick to even the simplest of meals.
For convenience sake, you can buy this blend pre-made in most local grocery stores. However, if you’re interested in trying your hands at spice blending, you will need: star anise, cloves, Chinese cinnamon, Sichuan pepper and fennel seeds. Some Chinese restaurants add a secret sixth spice – ginger- as a natural flavour enhancer.
You are now half-through achieving the perfect spice rack in your Singaporean home kitchen.
Sit tight and watch this space for Part 2 of our spice series!