My Secret Ingredient

Whenever I cook for friends and family and they ask me, what’s that delicious different taste in the food–I can’t identify it? I say “It’s a secret, can’t tell anyone!” I always refer to it as my secret ingredient. I use this ingredient in my cooking, dessert and some drinks as well. It has so many health benefits, and adds a very distinct flavor to your food, and drinks.

But what is it?  I will be willing to share my secret with the ChefXChange community, as long as you utilize it and also keep it a secret!


It’s nutmeg! I use it almost everyday- in my cooking, drinks and desserts. Many people may underestimate the power of the flavor of nutmeg and what this spice can bring to the table. So here we go…

What is nutmeg? Where does it come from?

Nutmeg is a brown hard seed that comes from the nutmeg tree. It has a warm, spicy, sweet flavor- very distinct. It’s mostly grown in Indonesia, a chain of islands widely known as the Spice Islands; it can also be grown in the Caribbean. Growing nutmeg requires patience; the first harvest takes 7-9 years after the tree is planted! I believe it’s one of the reasons why it is so valuable– it’s been said that in some parts of Europe, a few hundred years ago, nutmeg was sold for a lot of money. Nutmeg can be obtained in two forms, either as the nutmeg kernel or as fine powder- I personally like to buy it and freshly grate it. Nutmeg should be stored in an airtight container to keep the freshness, flavor and the aroma as well.


Health benefits

Nutmeg has many healthy benefits such as: the ability to relieve pain, soothe indigestion, strengthen cognitive function, detoxify the body, boost skin health, alleviate oral conditions, reduce insomnia, increase immune system function, and prevent leukemia, and improve blood circulation. It is also an antioxidant. Nutmeg is also full of minerals such as: manganese, copper, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, and phosphorus. It is also very rich in vitamins including vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, and folic acid.

In cooking

I believe that adding nutmeg to your dishes can add a very unique taste! In addition to adding nutritional value of course, you will be able to enjoy your taste buds and also impress the people you are hosting. Nutmeg best goes with butternut squash, pumpkins, mashed cauliflower, sweet potatoes, rice, and stuffings.

In drinks

Adding powdered nutmeg to your drinks will add a sweet and delicious flavor! Add it with your eggnog, smoothies, and hot chocolate on top of the whip cream!


In desserts

Adding nutmeg to dessert is just one of the best ideas! I also like to add it to my oatmeal in the morning- it adds flavor to it. I recommend adding nutmeg to any dessert that has apple in it, like healthy baked apples, apple crumble and apple pies. Also, nutmeg can be a a great addition to pumpkin pies. We can’t forget of course, nutmeg with waffles, pancakes and cookies!

apple pie

If you’ve never paid attention to the amazingness of nutmeg, I recommend you let your taste buds explore with our Chefs who LOVE nutmeg. We have Chef Nabz&G (Dubai) and Chef Dadisi (Washington DC) who are ready to take your taste buds on a roller coaster ride!