September 30th, 2008
You’ve seen “Saigon Cinnamon” listed as an ingredient in many of my recipes, and I’ve listed a few of my favorites at the bottom of this post.
Saigon Cinnamon is also known as Vietnamese Cinnamon, and in fact it isn’t the same plant as actual cinnamon; it is more closely related to cassia. Its flavor is similar to cinnamon but much stronger. Read more background information on Saigon Cinnamon on Wikipedia. When the weather outside begins to cool and all through the winter, this aromatic spice sets a cozy mood and warms you from the inside, too.
The key point that you should remember about this ingredient is how potent it is. I use it often but in really small quantities — anywhere from a pinch to a 1/8 or 1/4 teaspoon does the trick. I have only rarely used a 1/2 teaspoon of Saigon Cinnamon, when in combination with another huge flavor or of course for a large quantity.
As a principle, the same applies to a lot of other spices, especially when fresh. Use strong spices in moderation. As much good as they do in terms of digestion and of course flavor, too much of a good spice can cause stomach and other health problems. Some Indians and Indian food lovers may hate me for saying this, but what is the point of eating food so spicey, or so hot, that your tastebuds can barely taste it?!
Market Spice is my source for Saigon Cinnamon. They have high quality & fresh spices and blends from the world over and you can buy as little as an ounce.
Below are some of my favorite recipes using Saigon Cinnamon, and you can also add just a little to your everyday warm drinks, like coffee, cider, or hot chocolate :)