Author Topic: Complex spice mixes  (Read 895 times)

Offline Artos

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Complex spice mixes
« on: March 22, 2019, 11:14:37 AM »
Im thinking about things like berbere or chinese 5 spice or curry or garam masala.  I like to make ethnic dishes and finding quality spices is a hit or miss thing.  They also tend to have relatively short shelf lives.  Any suggestions from those who make your own as to what tools or tips make things easier for you?  How do you handle storage? 

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: Complex spice mixes
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2019, 12:16:23 PM »
I haven't noticed a short shelf life for many spices, but I expect my sense of taste is fading with age!  So I dunno.  I usually keep things in small jars with a tight-fitting lid, and it seems to work.

Here's an Ethiopian spice mix I concocted from a few recipes.  Ingredients are all finely-ground powder:

4 parts:
  Ginger
2 parts each:
  Cardamom
  Fenugreek
  Black Cumin
  Coriander
  Ajwaan
1 part each:
  Allspice
  Cloves
  Nutmeg
  Cinnamon

To this is typically added heroic quantities of cayenne, paprika, and black pepper (which unfortunately I can't handle in heroic quantities anymore).

Offline Artos

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Re: Complex spice mixes
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2019, 10:13:47 PM »
I believe that is berbere.  And yes, it is heroic if you can eat it, especially at full Ethiopian strength.

Offline Redman

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Re: Complex spice mixes
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2019, 06:10:20 AM »
Yes looks much like a berbere recipe I have. This from a book of tagine recipes.

5 dried cayenne peppers
1 tbsp black peppercorns
2 tsp allspice berries
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp cardomom seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds (also known as methi)
3 whole cloves
1 piece (about 1 inch) cinnamon, crushed

Offline David in MN

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Re: Complex spice mixes
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2019, 07:14:07 PM »
I make them all. If Ethiopian is your kick check out books by Marcus Samuelson. He's an Ethiopian adopted into one of the Scandy countries and became a chef rediscovering the rubs of his homeland.

I am continually trying to make Turkish kebab as good as I have had in Germany made by the Turks there. Also dig a good chicken korma introduced to me by a Pakistani friend.

Nothing else, an African spice rubbed chicken grilled and served with grilled pita and hummus makes a great meal.

We live in the era of Amazon so getting spices is easy. I recommend whole spices when possible. Get a good mortar and pestle. That usually means wider and flatter. This is where we go to town on our cardamom, clove, coriander, allspice, and the like. I promise if you pestle whole coriander you will evoke the spirit of many dishes. And with the whole "warming spices" my family can't figure out why my carrot cake is the best. Here's the secret: I shred the carrots myself and pestle the spices whole.

If you really get gummed up Penzey's is a resource for spices. It's spendy but they have a lot. Hope it helps.

Offline LvsChant

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Re: Complex spice mixes
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2019, 10:42:51 AM »
... And with the whole "warming spices" my family can't figure out why my carrot cake is the best. Here's the secret: I shred the carrots myself and pestle the spices whole...


recipe please :)

Offline David in MN

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Re: Complex spice mixes
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2019, 11:09:31 AM »
recipe please :)

Boring but I use the America's Test Kitchen Cookbook recipe...

2.5 cups flour
1.25 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1.25 tsp cinnamon
.5 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp clove
.5 tsp salt
4 eggs
1.5 cups sugar
.5 cup light brown sugar
1.5 cups veg oil
1 lb grated carrots

Blend the flour, leavening, and spices. Beat the eggs and sugar and slowly add oil. Blend in flour mix. Add carrots. Bake 35-40 minutes.

OK, so I change it a little. Instead of 2 sugars I'll just use 2 cups of demerara sugar. I also add a little Jamaican allspice because it really pops up the flavor (and I like allspice better than clove). Use all whole spices and grate and pestle fresh. A good carrot cake should make your tongue tingle a little like a Coca Cola on a hot day. Be very heavy handed with the spices.

Offline LvsChant

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Re: Complex spice mixes
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2019, 11:39:43 AM »
Thank you!

I just made a carrot cake this past weekend and, while the recipe is very delicious, it doesn't really have enough spice to suit me. I'll try your recipe out... My recipe calls for crushed pineapple... I've tried one without and I think I prefer it with (ymmv)

Offline Artos

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Re: Complex spice mixes
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2019, 06:20:26 AM »
Very nice, thank you all!