Thursday, October 13, 2011

Spice Blends

I use a lot of garam masala in my Indian recipes, and I'm starting to discover the joys of the Moroccan spice blends, such as Ras-el-Hanout. both of these mixtures can contain several spices. Ras-el-Hanout can contain dozens of spices. This can put some people off, thinking it is too pricey to gather all the ingredients. True, you can buy both of these spice mixtures online, but you may also have many of the ingredients in your pantry already.

I have cobbled together a recipe for each, in case anyone is interested in trying their hand at making their own. Spice blends are fun to experiment with. Just make sure your spices are fresh. If you can't remember when you bought something, it's probably older than you think. Old spices don't have much flavor, and it takes more to get the same taste. When you buy your spices, write the day that you bought them on the containers. You may also wish to buy whole spices and toast and grind them yourself in a dedicated coffee grinder. This will give you the freshest mixes possible.

Ras – El- Hanout
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground mace
2 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon ground anise seed
Pinch of saffron threads, optional
½ teaspoon ground cayenne

Combine the spices in a bowl. Transfer to an airtight container and store in a cool, dark, dry place.

Garam Masala

1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 ½ teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 ½ teaspoons black pepper

Combine spices in a bowl and transfer to an airtight container. Store in a cool, dry, dark place.

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