The 4-Spice Rule
Part of what makes Paleo a sustainable venture is not having to pre-plan every single meal. With a full-spice rack and a little practice, you can quickly and easily come up with something tasty. How? By following the 4-spice rule.
Simply put, I try to use 4 spices in every meal. I learned this the hard way after suffering through months of bland food. Almost any meal you cook will taste better with some combination of 4 different spices. Don’t worry if you don’t have much experience in the kitchen. When I started, neither did I. You will learn quickly to recognize spices that taste good together. A good rule of thumb is to start cooking, and then pop open a couple of spices and smell them along with what you’re cooking to get an idea of how they will mingle with the food.
If that confuses you more than helps, just make sure you pick spices from the same family (coriander/cumin or oregano/thyme/basil or nutmeg/cinnamon, etc.), and you can’t go wrong! When you’re feel more confident in your culinary abilities, start trying out some interesting combinations and see what you get. With the different meat, vegetable, and spice combinations, you could literally never eat the same meal twice for the rest of your life!
When I’m in a rush and want to make sure to get some good meat and veggies in, there is nothing easier than a stir-fry. Just throw some coconut oil down, brown the meat, and toss in the veggies with 4 spices to top it off. Today, I was futzing around in the kitchen and came up with this quick, delicious meal.
What You’ll Need:
- A lb. or 2 of Ground Beef/Pork/Turkey. (In Japan, they sell a 70/30 beef/pork mix that’s pretty good.)
- Onions (1 or 2)
- Diakon (Japanese Radish, I like it because it’s got a light flavor, gets soft when cooked, and adds in some extra veggie goodness.)
- Any other veggies in your fridge you want to get rid of. (Ex: spinach, pepper, carrots, mushrooms, zucchini, squash, etc.)
- These spices: Sea Salt, Coriander, Powdered Cumin, Cumin Seed, Red Pepper, Roasted Garlic, and Black Pepper.
- (Optional) A Paleo-friendly Salsa (make sure it doesn’t have hidden sugars in it!)
- Throw a bit of coconut oil/EVOO along with the ground meat in a frying pan. Turn the heat on medium-low, and let it start to brown. Stir every couple of minutes to make sure it doesn’t burn to the bottom.
- Dice up your onions, diakon, and other veggies.
- Once the meat is mostly browned, throw in the veggies to give them some time to cook and get soft.
- Add several healthy shakes of each of the spices, especially the cumin seed, sea salt, and black/red pepper.
- Let it all cook together, and stir occasionally. Even after the meat is browned, you can still turn the heat down and let it simmer some more to make sure the veggies get soft.
- Throw some on a plate, add the salsa on top, and enjoy!
I really thought these flavors worked well together. While I know this is not a fancy or complicated meal, there’s no reason it needs to be. Plus, it reheats well!
What are some of your favorite stir-fry combinations? What spices do you use the most? (For me, it’s definitely garlic.)
Stay healthy everybody.