Post by pepperhead212 on Aug 8, 2018 7:23:23 GMT -5
There's nothing like making your own spice mixes! Not only is it incredibly cheaper, but it tastes soooooooo much better! I can't remember the last time I bought any mixes; the only ones that I have tried were free samples from Penzey's. One of the things that I don't like about pre-mixed, as well as many of the recipes that I see, is the dried garlic and onion powder (I never have liked them), as well as some of the herbs that aren't any good when they are dried, such as basil and parsley. I'll stick with the fresh, for those ingredients.
And having a number of these items in your pantry saves a lot of time in the long run. I always have a few Thai curry pastes in the freezer, and a number of Indian masalas in small jars, to save an enormous amount of time making those kinds of dishes. And I always have salsa negra in the fridge, to add that chipotle flavor to dishes, and nam prik pao, to add that flavor, which is not really attainable using a small amount of fresh ingredients in a dish.
That's a good list of mixes to try out. Definitely have to try a few, will try the jerk and ranch dressing.
Someone recently gave me some zaatar which apparently is some type of middle eastern spice mix. This one was supposedly picked from wild herbs in southern Lebanon. Its amazingly fragrant, I think its just thyme, oregano, sesame seeds, salt and sumac, which is fairly acidic citrus tasting. I think it goes to show having fresh dried sources of some these herbs is quite important and the source can make a great difference. This stuff is great on grilled chicken , lamb and vegetables
Inland Southern California USDA zone 9b, Sunset zone 19
Post by pepperhead212 on Aug 12, 2018 0:52:28 GMT -5
I just made a pint each of classic Thai red curry paste, and green curry paste, and, since I used the last of the sambar powder, I made a batch of that, using a new recipe that sounds good. Here's the link to it:
It's easier to make than the recipe makes it to be - a lot of recipes call for toasting every spice separately, but I toast the ones together that take about the same amount of time.
This sounds similar to the one that I have used for a long time, except for the use of coconut and asafoetida in it. And the one that I have made tosses a small amount of oil in with the spices and curry leaves, then toasts them all together, giving it a different and delicious flavor. The new one had a similar, but different aroma (though all that I had was the empty jar, to compare it to).
Here is the recipe I have used, sort of a hybrid of two recipes, which I have tweaked to my taste:
1/2 cup dried Thai chiles; destemmed 1/2 cup coriander seeds, whole 1/2 cup curry leaves; firmly packed 2 tb cumin seeds, whole 1 tb fenugreek seeds 1 tb black mustard seeds 1 tsp black peppercorns 1 tb white poppy seeds 17 g moong dal 17 g chana dal 17 g toor dal 1/2 tb Cinnamon stick pieces 1 tb flavorless oil 2 tb turmeric powder
A. Combine all spices except for the turmeric in a medium sized bowl. Drizzle the oil over them, and stir to mix thoroughly.
B. Preheat a 9-10 in. skillet over med-high heat, and add the oiled spices. Toss or stir constantly for about 3-4 min., or until the poppy seeds begin turning brown, and the curry leaves turn curly and crispy. Turn onto a plate, lined with a paper towel, to absorb some oil, and let cool.
C. Grind the spices in two or three batches, then stir in the turmeric. Store in a sealed glass jar for 2-3 months. If you seldom use it, store in the fridge or freezer.
Note: Only chana dal may be used, if necessary. The total volume of the three dal is 1/4 c.
The chilis may be reduced, if desired, or chile de árbol may be used - similar in size and flavor, but milder. Or some seeds may be dumped out while destemming, to reduce the heat.
Post by pepperhead212 on Aug 12, 2018 11:17:08 GMT -5
Mumsey Many years ago, I didn't like Indian food (though I did use curry powder in many dishes, but that's not the same), as well as many middle eastern foods, due to the strong flavor of raw cinnamon, and sometimes cloves, in so much of the food. And all of the spice mixes I bought for these cuisines (even some curry powder), had these "raw" spices in them. And the first Indian cookbook I ever got (by the "best selling Indian CB author" at the time, though I forget the name or the title), gave recipes for masalas, but not one had toasted spices, and she said to simply use store bought, if we didn't want to bother with it. Looking back now, I know that this was why my first attempt at Indian cooking was not something that I liked.
It wasn't until I got the book Mangos and Curry Leaves, (which I only bought because it was by the authors of Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet, which is a great book) did I start making dishes that I liked. This book had a recipe for garam masala, in which every spice was toasted, and, to me, this was a revelation! The toasting mellowed the spices, and with those raw cinnamon and clove flavors gone, it didn't taste like I had sprinkled apple pie spice in my savory dishes. This was the only spice mix in that book, but it gave me a hint of what I was doing wrong all these years, and what I was getting in restaurants. And, in two later books that I got, I learned about many more spice mixes, as well as the regions they came from, and the ones that I like the most are those from the southern regions, as they almost always toast the spices.
Another spice mix that I always have on hand is Chinese 5 spice powder. This is mainly star anise flavor, with cloves, cinnamon, szechwan pepper, and ginger. I have had some brands that didn't have enough star anise. Funny thing is, my favorite brand is actually from Thailand. Since I don't use it frequently, I keep a small jar in the fridge, and the rest in a foodsaver pack in the freezer - a good way to preserve ground spices.
Post by desertwoman on Oct 16, 2018 22:21:41 GMT -5
yum... I love star anise. I use the ingredients of your 5 spice mix (only whole, instead of powdered) plus some others to make plum or wild sour cherry chutney with star anise, fresh ginger, whole cloves, cinnamon stick, mustard seeds, hot red chile and a splash of red wine vinegar and honey or sugar.
Northern New Mexico Zone 6b (formerly Zone 5) Posting since 2005
Post by pepperhead212 on Oct 16, 2018 22:22:28 GMT -5
binnylou 5 spice powder is great with red cooked pork, and one of my favorite ways to use it is in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 spareribs - a simple recipe using 1 1/2 lbs spareribs, chopped up to bite sized pieces. These are placed in a 9" sauté pan, with 1 tb rice wine, 2 tb dark soy, 3 tb vinegar, 4 tb sugar, and 5 tb water. 3/4 tsp 5 spice is stirred in with all this, it is brought to a boil, covered, and simmered about 45 min, stirring a few times. Then, the water is cooked off, until a glaze forms, and it is served, with the glaze.