General Rasam Powder recipes.
All mustard seeds have Jekyll and Hyde characteristics. When crushed, they are nose-tinglingly pungent. However, thrown into hot oil and allowed to pop, they turn quite nutty and sweet.
Saffron is formed from the whole, orange-red dried saffron threads, the stigma of the autumn crocus, crocus sativus.
Native to India, pepper is a branching, perennial climbing plant from whose fruiting spikes both white and black pepper are obtained. Used as a spice and condiment. Whole peppercorns are added to rice and other dishes for a mild peppery-lemony flavour.
This is sometimes called lesser galangal or lesser ginger, but this is not quite correct as it is a different plant to galangal and ginger.
Green Mangoes and Green Mango Powder (Amchur) are ubiquitous ingredients in India and Thailand.
Lime juice is somewhat more “green” in taste than the lemon, and can be used interchangeably in most dishes. I prefer limes over lemons in most recipes, except desserts.
Lemongrass is really a variety of hard grass, but is used as a herb for its refreshing lemon-minty flavour.
There is a lot of confusion about the name of this spice. It is variously referred to as black cumin (shar, or kala jeera), black caraway because of its usage with caraway seed in Jewish rye breads, and black onion seeds due to its similarity to onion seed.
Ginger is an erect plant with thickened, fleshy and aromatic rhizomes. Used in different forms as a food, flavouring and spice, it is related to tumeric and galangal, and is one of the most ancient culinary and medicinal spices around.
Garam Masala is a mixture of spices, and the combinations vary with each household. It is basically Persian in origin, but is now indispensable in North Indian cuisine.
Galangal is an erect annual plant with aromatic, ginger-like rhizomes and is a staple of SE Asian cooking as a flavouring. Sometimes called Laos, or Blue Ginger, it is a member of the ginger family.
All over China, five spice powder is known and valued. It is an aromatic, intense and tantalising spice of various recipes that has been used in China since ancient times.
Fennel Seeds look a bit like cumin seeds (or vise versa), but are plumper and greener. Their flavour is anise-like.
Cumin is a small shrubbery herb, the fruit of which contains a 2 – 4 % volatile oil with a pungent odour, and which is used as a flavouring and as a condiment.
Green Coriander or Cilantro, is the “parsley” of Indian and SE Asia. And the seeds are ubiquitous in the cuisines of that region. Read some more about this delightful spice.
This is the small, brown, nail-shaped spice, once found only in the islands of the Moluccas, east of Bali.
“Curry” as a word does not exist in any Indian culinary dictionary, nor is it used in any Indian language. It is rather, a corruption of the Tamil word “kari”.
Cinnamon is the bark of a tree – a type of cassia, used in various parts of the world in very different ways.
Removing the confusion from chilli-based spices
Chillies are a common ingredient in many cuisines. There are many different species, all containing capsaicin, a biologically active ingredient beneficial to the respiratory system, blood pressure and heart. Did you know there are more than 300 varieties of chilli?