Indian cuisine is incomplete without the magical spices that make us believe in the existence of our taste buds. Each spice has its own taste profile but has unique benefits. Since ancient times, many spices have been used as elixirs and medicines for skin ailments, digestive health issues, etc. From cinnamon to cloves, these aromatic little things spice up our kitchen!
Let’s explore some more interesting ways to extract the magic of these spices:
Create your own spice mixes
Everyone uses different spices for their flavour profiles, but making your unique spice mix requires little expertise. No worries! We are here with some unique spice mix ideas for you:
Your go-to spice mix
You will require some of the best spices like fennel seeds, back pepper, green cardamom, cloves, coriander seeds, cinnamon and bay leaves. All these spices from the Nourish Store already have powerful and enchanting aromas. If combined, these will create a delicious spice blend that you can use in every recipe to bring your own unique flavour to it.
You will require black tea leaves, cinnamon, ginger, green cardamon, star anise, and cloves. If you are a Chai lover, you will absolutely love this blend. It will turn your regular Chai into a delicious beverage. Moreover, it will also entail certain health benefits for you. You can add your uniqueness to this by adding a secret spice to it, like Jaivtri.
You will require coriander, turmeric powder, fenugreek seeds and some lemon zest. Blend all the ingredients together and add to any curry recipe. It will add a refreshing citrusy burst to every spoon of the curry you taste.
The Samosa spice
Everyone loves a delicious samosa, right? But how do you make it as delicious as home? You will need coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, garam masala, turmeric, and asafoetida. Mix these well and add them to your fresh aloo mixture. The samosas you will make with a blend of these best spices will taste better than the ones you eat at an outlet.
The Tandoor Twist
Do you love the smoky and spicy flavour of tandoori dishes? You can also achieve that flavour at home without using a tandoor. You will need paprika, cumin seeds, ginger powder, fenugreek leaves, coriander, garlic powder and black salt. Blend them well and use them as a marinade rub on your veggies. It will give the same smokey taste and tandoori aroma to your dish.
The art of blending
Spice blending is not just about mixing ingredients; it is also about how you blend them. If two people mix the same ingredients, their results can be completely different because of their different approaches. So, this is where you can add creativity to your unique spice blend. You can roast each of these best spices before adding them to enhance their flavours and bring out their natural oils. Similarly, you can completely turn them into powdered form and blend them. It is entirely your choice, as you are free to create your own art as a culinary artist.
Tips to add spice blends to your dishes
Now, the question is when to add these spice blends to your dishes. The following are some tips you can use to spice up your dishes:
Seasoning at different stages
spices can release different flavours at different stages of cooking. Some powdered spices can be added at any point in the cooking process, but some ground spices are added in the initial phase directly in the oil to get their best flavours out. For example, you can initially add a combination of Rai, Curry leaves, and Cumin seeds. It will give a delicious aroma to your dishes. Similarly, some delicate spices like Bay Leaves (Tej Patta) and Cinnamon are added in the end to get the best results.
Mix with Water
Suppose you want your magical spice mix to show its true magic in a dish. You must heat it in a bit of water till all the spices release their essence in it. Then, you can add this water to your dish. It will beautifully bend all the flavours together and evenly spread them throughout the dish. The water will dry up and leave behind only the true blended flavours of your spice mix.
You can add some binding agent like butter or Cold-Pressed Mustard Oil to your spice mix, apply it to your ingredients like vegetables, Tofu or Paneer, and let it marinate for a while. Then, you can lightly saute it. It will give a spicy flavour to your dish. Marination is a popular method, especially in Achars. You can use this method to make your own homemade pickles, too.
Roast them up
You can also roast your spice mix in a dry pan to give your dishes a smokey flavour. Just heat up your pan and add the spice mix. Keep moving them in the pan to prevent burning. Roast them till you can smell the smokey aroma in the air. Then, you can add them to your dish or grind them for future use.
Keep a balance
spices have strong and pungent flavours. If you add a little bit of extra spices, it can ruin your dish. So, make sure you start with a small amount so that slowly you can develop an idea about the balance. It comes with experience. So, don’t stress about it.
It’s okay to experiment
Cooking is an art, and it’s okay to experiment with it. Understand your ingredients and their distinct flavor profiles, and try to combine the spices with similar or complimentary flavor profiles. You never know; you may end up discovering something new and unique with your experiment.
All the ideas mentioned above for mixing and blending your spices and tips for using them in your dishes will help you in your cooking journey, even if you are a budding cook or an expert in the field. It is okay to experiment more and make some mistakes. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and get our hands spicy.