Bacalhau is cod fish which has been dried and salted to preserve it. It is said that there is a different dish using bacalhau for every day of the year in Portuguese cooking.
Bay leaves are one of the few herbs that don't lose their flavour when dried, rather the flavour becomes more intense. They can be bought as whole dried leaves or ground and are also popular as a fresh herb.
Mild goats cheeses are the most popular in Portuguese cooking.
Chouriço is made from pork and flavoured with garlic and paprika, which gives it a rich red colour. It is smoked and can be bought fresh or dried. A traditional way of heating and serving it is in an asador. This is a terracotta dish where the chouriço sits on a rack and a type of Portuguese grappa is poured beneath and lit giving a wonderful smoky flavour to the sausage.
Paprika is known as colorau in Portuguese and is without doubt the most widely used spice in Portuguese cooking. Sweet smoked paprika rather than the hot version is used.
Piri piri sauce
Piri piri sauce was introduced from African Portuguese colonies. This sauce has now become a widely used sauce, particularly with Portuguese chicken.
Cinnamon, vanilla, cardamom, aniseed, clove and allspice are used in many traditional desserts and sometimes in savoury dishes.
Garlic and onions are widely used, as are herbs, such as parsley, oregano, thyme, mint, marjoram, rosemary and coriander being the most prevalent.
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