Pungent spices and flavorings like garlic may ward off vampires and other creatures of the night (like strangers hitting on you in bars). But they also stimulate digestion and increase metabolism. The body thinks of these pungent spices, like black pepper and chilies, as irritants. The body flushes pungent irritants by thinning the blood, dilating blood vessels and increasing the heart rate. In doing so they increase circulation and help improve immunities. Such is the power of the pungent spice. According to traditional Asian healing practices, spring is the time to focus on cooking with the pungent spices.
Cook with pungent flavors and you’re cooking with chili peppers, garlic, ginger, star anise, cumin, saffron, fenugreek, and caraway seeds. Follow along with Radical Cooks this spring and learn the power of the pungent.