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How to Use Exotic Spices in Everyday Dishes

My number one goal when traveling is to taste something new each day. This usually means I end up with a few edible souvenirs to bring back home, including a variety of spices. With a bounty of exotic ingredients in my spice cabinet I try to challenge myself with new recipes that remind me of my travels. In this edition, learn how to use some my favorite hot and spicy ingredients in simple, everyday dishes. Cooking is the perfect way to taste the world without ever leaving your kitchen!


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Adjika from Georgia

Adjika is a spicy dip or dry seasoning originated in the country of Georgia and the Abkhazia region. It is made up of Spicy Georgian red peppers, salt, ground coriander, blue fenugreek, garlic, herbs and spices. The flavor is unique—a savory medium heat that adds the perfect punch to most dishes.

I was introduced to adjika by my husband, who spent time in the country of Georgia while serving in the Peace Corps. He started sprinkling dried adjika over runny eggs in the morning and I quickly followed suite. I find it to be a perfect substitute for red pepper flakes, Sriracha, or any spicy seasoning. So throw caution to the wind and sprinkle some dried adjika on your pasta, pizza, and anything else you’d season with heat. You won’t regret it!

You can buy dried Adjika from Kargi Gogo, importers of authentic Georgina spices. Follow their Georgian travel adventures here, and discover traditional recipes here.

Aji Amarillo from Peru

Aji amarillo is a species of chili pepper with origins in ancient Peru. Aji is the soul of Peruvian cuisine and the aji amarillo pepper is the main ingredient in Huancaína sauce, a staple of daily cuisine. This yellow pepper is hot, but not blazing hot, and has a citrusy essence.

I first discovered and tasted aji amarillo while spending two weeks in Peru. I was tasting my way through all of Gastón Acurio’s restaurants on a work-related trip. It was one of the most delicious and eye-opening experiences of my life. If you can get your hands on some dried aji amarillo, I recommend using it in a white bean chili. Aji amarillo paste is great for making a creamy, cheesy dipping sauce (similar to the traditional Huancaína sauce). Check out this simple recipe to pair with french fries, nachos, warm pretzels, and more. The paste can be ordered off of Amazon convenient!


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