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Cajun Spices - Let the Pungent Spicy Tingle Rule Your Taste Buds

Cajun Spices
Cajun spices are an essential for preparing Cajun cuisine that are characterized by its rustic nature and spicy pungent flavors.
Tastessence Staff
Last Updated: Sep 25, 2017
Cajun cuisine is very popular worldwide and it is dominated by the use of a blend of spices and herbs in the dishes. Spices are what gives this cuisine its characteristic flavor. The staple ingredients of Cajun cuisine consist of rice, corn, beans, tomatoes, onions, sassafras, sugarcane, sweet potatoes, and meat along with Cajun spices. To any true blue Cajun chef, the chief ingredient is the holy trinity of onion, bell pepper, and celery with liberal use of spices like cayenne pepper, bay leaf, and thyme.

The history of Cajun spices in very interesting and as we know, the culture of a place has a very important role in the evolution of any cuisine. Acadian refugees who were driven out of Nova Scotia in the late 1700s were first sent to Maryland and later settled in Louisiana. There they attempted to reunite with families that were torn apart and learned to adapt from their new surroundings. They began a new method of cooking that involved the use of fresh produce with wild game and lots of spices. The early Cajun dishes all used the concept of one pot cooking where the entire meal was prepared in a single pot. Some popular Cajun dishes that use these spices are jambalaya, gumbos, friscassees, and grillades.

Ingredients

Although there are many different variations of Cajun spice blends, but all the recipes include all or some of these ingredients.
  • Garlic powder
  • Ground cumin
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Dried thyme herb
  • Salt
  • Paprika
  • Dry mustard
  • Onion powder
  • Dried basil
  • Cardamom
  • Dried oregano
  • Black pepper
  • File powder
  • Caraway seeds
  • White pepper
  • Ground cloves
  • Dried sage
  • Ground coriander
All or some of these spices are mixed together to make spice blends. Cayenne pepper and paprika are added to the Cajun spice blend, not only for its heat but also to give a distinctive red color to the dishes. Dried basil adds a bit of subtle sweetness and thyme adds a nutty flavor to the spice blend. Onion powder and garlic powder are made by crushing dehydrated onions and garlic in a grinder to a fine powder and are very essential ngredients. You can make your own Cajun spice blend by mixing together some or all the above ingredients.

If Cajun spices are not available in your local supermarket, then you need a substitute. The best substitute for Cajun spice is to make your own blend by mixing certain spices together. Just grind together, some whole black peppercorns with garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, dried parsley, cayenne pepper, and dried oregano. This spice blend should be stored in an air tight container in a cool dark place and it stays well up to 6 months. The most important factor to remember while making your own spice blends is to make sure that you use at least three to four spices that are originally in the Cajun spice blend.
Fresh and Dried Oregano, White Background
Pile of dried Basil
White peppercorns
Caraway isolated on white
Whole and Ground Cloves, Isolated on White
Dried coriander powder in a wooden tray
Sage Leaves on a White Background
Cumin heap
Powdered fajita seasoning mix in a small bowl
Bunch of thyme isolated on a white background
Sweet Paprika
Mustard powder pile