Cloves are a pungent spice found in savory dishes, desserts, and drinks. Ground or whole cloves flavor meat, sauces, and rice dishes. Cloves are often used along with cinnamon and nutmeg in sweet dishes and in drinks.
Cloves are commonly used in spice blends for meat rubs and marinades, including the popular blends Chinese five-spice powder and garam masala.
Whole or ground cloves are used to flavor sauces, soups and rice dishes, notably a number of traditional Indian dishes, and it’s one of the components of garam masala. Whole cloves are either removed before serving or picked out of the dish. Even when cooked, whole cloves have a very hard, woody texture that would be unpleasant to bite into.
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