• Don't be afraid of spice, says Anjum Anand. (SBS Food)
What have you got on your spice rack? More importantly, what spices do you use? We find out from The Chefs' Line judges what spices up their kitchen lives.
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23 Mar 2017 - 9:23 AM  UPDATED 9 May 2018 - 3:00 PM

Home cook or restaurant chef, be prepared to see some vibrant dishes come to life. With 13 weeks and 13 different cuisines on offer, The Chefs' Line  delves deep into flavour (and that means spice!) along the way. We go to the series stars Maeve O'Meara, Dan Hong, Melissa Leong and Mark Olive and see what makes their spice rack shine and what they couldn't go without.

 

Maeve's pick: Nigella seeds

"The perfect sprinkling on any savoury pastry before it’s baked as heat unlocks its beautiful exotic fragrance. Perfect on flatbreads, Turkish sides and naan, or sprinkled on golden haloumi."

Try it in: 

Homemade pide

Pide is the Turkish version of a traditional pita flatbread, and this recipe shows just how easy it is to make your own. Serve it warm with sea salt and olive oil for a satisfying pre-dinner snack.

Lamb, apricot and fennel seed lollipops

Call these lollipops, kofta or meatballs (which is, technically, what they are), they make quite a statement when served. Kids big and small will love these. Who doesn't love a good meatball?

Blackened paneer skewers

Paneer is an Indian "cheese". Combine your blackened seasoning, roll your paneer, grill and then serve with a wickedly good tomato relish. 

Blackened paneer skewers

Take your nigella seeds and use them wisely through our vibrant recipe collection here.

 

Dan's pick: Star anise 

"My favourite spice of all time. The aniseed flavour really brings out the meatiness and umami of savoury dishes, especially meat stocks and braises." 

Try it in: 

Chinese masterstock

Stock is the basis for all cooking. Dan Hong thinks that a meal isn't complete without an aromatic stock or broth to sip on. Here he shares his very own masterstock recipe, a classic liquor in Chinese cooking to braise meats. 

Duck with pomegranate

A duck maryland covered with a sour pomegranate sauce, let's tap into this saucy Turkish special. 

Vegetarian pho with shiitake mushrooms 

Pho is all about the broth and its seasonings, so a little effort and a good homemade stock will make a huge difference to this vegan- and vegetarian-friendly soup. 

 

Get some more super-star anise inspiration here.

 

Melissa's pick:  Nutmeg

"Once you grate from whole, you’ll never go back. Freshly grated nutmeg over fresh pasta with truffle oil is simple perfection. It’s also integral in any good béchamel or chai mix." 

Try it in: 

Jollof rice with fish

Jollof rice is a staple across much of West Africa, with each country possessing its own interpretation. Like many African recipes, jollof rice can be served at all occasions – toned down for weeknight meal or adorned with seafood for a more lavish affair. 

Jollof rice and other dishes from the diverse continent might soon have their moment.
Ligurian green lasagna (lasagne verde)

This lasagna is a perfect way to make the most of your herbs – this recipe replaces meat with a fragrant basil pesto.

Broccoli béchamel bake

Go cheesy with your broccoli, you won't regret it! This recipe takes cooked broccoli, rolls it in Greek cheese and bakes it in a classic béchamel sauce which brings all the flavours together. 

Want more nutmeg? Check out our recipe collection here.

 

Mark's pick: Kaffir lime leaves

"Amazing in their flavour profile – zesty, fresh and fragrant. I use kaffir lime to accompany lemon myrtle leaves when baking fish."  

Try it in: 

Fish steamed with pandan and lemongrass

Steaming is a brilliant way to deal with a large, whole fish and kaffir lime, chilli, coriander and pandan really ramp up the flavour on this wholesome plate.

Fish steamed with pandan and lemongrass
Ruby grapefruit and kaffir lime-ade

Enjoy this on its own or add a splash of soda water for your next party, or use it to top up a glass of champagne.

Vietnamese-style vegetable curry with peanuts

Inspired by Vietnam’s ca ri ga (chicken curry), this vegetarian version is moderately spicy with just a hint of sweetness. Talk about better than takeout! 

For more kaffir lime-inspired recipes, see our zesty collection here.

 

Have we got your attention and your tastebuds? Cultural exploration and discovery through food reaches a new level with the launch of The Chefs' Line.  Watch it 3pm weekdays on Food Network.