Learn more below about how the ports of call below figured in spice history and the CanolaInfo recipes they inspired!
China’s main trading point during the spice route was in the Spice Islands, a competitive piece of land. Its other trading location was Sri Lanka off the southern coast of India.
The Chinese five-spice powder utilized in this recipe for Pork Tenderloin with Five-Spice Powder and Peppers is complex and aromatic. Canola oil’s neutral flavor is perfect for showcasing this centuries-old spice blend, which typically includes star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Szechuan pepper and fennel seeds.
India was located in the center of the Spice Route and enjoyed friendly trading relations with Europe. However, Islamic conflicts in the Middle East by mid-7th century cut off the country from the rest of the world. Indian traders were forced to trade with Europeans that arrived by sea, which eventually led to the British takeover of India.
In this Indian-style Turmeric-Rubbed Wild Halibut with Cracked Black Pepper, the fish is flavored with turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, black peppercorn and ginger, which are highlighted beautifully by canola oil.
Savvy Persian traders told fantastic tales of spice collection – such as fighting mysterious creatures in strange lands – in order to increase interest in their goods. Their geographical location at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa was a huge factor in their trade success. The Spice Route also occasionally overlapped with the Silk Road, increasing trade opportunities.
In this recipe for Persian Lamb Stew with Dried Apricots, ginger, cumin, turmeric and red pepper combine for an exotic taste experience. Canola oil’s neutral flavor lets these gorgeous ingredients shine.
Perfectly situated on the Mediterranean Sea, Lebanon was reachable by land and water, putting it at the center of trade. Many cultures crossed here, influencing the cuisine.
The cumin in “Lentils of Arabia” with Rice, Cumin and Caramelized Onions is also associated with Indian, Mexican and Vietnamese food. The ancient Greeks always kept a dish of cumin on the table for seasoning, just as we use salt and pepper now. Ground coriander, also used in the dish, helps thicken sauces and curries. Canola oil’s high heat tolerance is ideal for sautéing the onions in this recipe.
North and East Africa were important regions for the commercial spice trade between India and the Greek and Roman empires.
The cumin used in Ethiopian Chicken with Berberi Sauce and Fresh Ginger was once valued primarily for its medicinal properties and the cinnamon was worth more than silver during Roman times. Canola oil does not stand in the way of these valuable flavors.
Europe was forced to obtain spices through middle men from the Middle East and Africa, driving up their cost. At the time, Greeks used spices for more than flavor, believing, for example, that nutmeg stimulated the brain. When the Romans took over, they adopted Grecian cuisine and spices. The Romans eventually broke the Arab monopoly on the market by discovering the secret to their ship routes: Monsoons reversed direction mid-year, allowing ships to sail much faster.
Saffron, nutmeg and black peppercorns are featured in our Greek-style Phyllo Bundles with Saffron-Flavored Chickpeas. The canola oil keeps the phyllo sheets from sticking together, creating a flaky texture.