Spices of Singapore

\"\"By Datta Dharmadhikari

On 15th July, 2011, Singapore   has  issued five beautiful stamps  in different denominations, on its spices.  In  19th century,  spices were as valuable as gold.  At that time, there was a fight for control over the sources and routes to the Spice Islands of Southeast Asia and India. In response to this fervor, a garden at Fort Canning Park was planted mainly with nutmeg, clove and other plants with economic value.  In this special stamp issue, Singapore has introduced three spices found in the Spice Garden: Tamrind, Cinnamon and Turmeric, as well as two other spices commonly used in local cuisines—Coriander and Star Anise.Tamrind comes from the elongated velvety pod of the Tamrind tree. The pod contains shiny black seeds enclosed in a sticky pulp.

The  aromatic Cinnamon is obtained from the inner bark of the Cinnamon tree, a small evergreen tree that can grow to about 10m  tall. Principally it is used as a condiment in beverages and desserts. Most of ten used in powder form, Turmeric is derived from the rhizome of the Turmeric plant. There could be medical benefits from turmeric as well.

All parts of the Coriander plant are edible, but the fresh leaves, roots and the dried seeds are the parts most commonly used in cooking. Star Anise is a spice that closely resembles anise in flavor.  It is obtained from the start-shaped dried fruit of the tree, is native to southwest China. Star Anise is widely used in Chinese cuisine  and in foods from Southeast Asian nations.

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