Calling all Indian spice lovers

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Calling all Indian spice lovers

Postby TeresaFoodie » December 18th, 2017, 5:22 am

When I moved home my spice cupboard was cleared out by family, most of which has gone into storage, most of which by now will be well out of date, so I am having to start again.

So far I have crushed chilli flakes, ground cumin, smoked paprika, whole nutmeg, ground turmeric. I have been getting by with these, but...

Just two minutes walk from my door there is what is labelled a 'cash and carry' shop. I have popped in for the odd item but the other day whilst waiting for a bus I ventured further in towards the halal meat section. Tucked away up that end - a whole aisle dedicated to whole and ground spices. Hundreds of them, some of which I have never heard of! I think they are East End or Pearl or both. I have honestly never seen such a range in one place! Lucky me...

So, what would you consider to be essential every day Indian spices for your spice cupboard, also some suggestions for some more unusual ones that you wouldn't be without.

Obvious ones would be ground coriander, chilli powder, curry leaves, whole cumin, garam masala, asafaotida (sp?)...
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Re: Calling all Indian spice lovers

Postby suffolk » December 18th, 2017, 8:37 am

Whole cardamom ... can't do without those ... ground cayenne gets used lots too, and whole yellow mustard
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Re: Calling all Indian spice lovers

Postby Prettykiwicrazy » December 18th, 2017, 9:36 am

I would say cardamom , which is one of my favourite spices , a good Garam masala, coriander seeds, and fennel seeds. I think cinnamon sticks as well
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Re: Calling all Indian spice lovers

Postby earthmaiden » December 18th, 2017, 10:16 am

Seems to me that a great deal of Indian cookery involves fenugreek and asafetida either alone or as part of a garam masala and that they would be necessary in a good collection (I loathe both which makes me a bit picky about Indian cuisine!).
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Re: Calling all Indian spice lovers

Postby scullion » December 18th, 2017, 10:58 am

many of the recipes i make kick off with whole cumin and whole black mustard seed so they would always be in the cupboard.
the best bet for you would be to go to mamta's site, trawl through the recipes to see what you'd be likely to make and get the spices for those. there's no point in just stocking up on spices you're not likely to use and then chucking them out when they loose their oomph. if you do buy ones that you only need a small amount of keep them in the freezer (if you have one).
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Re: Calling all Indian spice lovers

Postby Seatallan » December 18th, 2017, 11:07 am

Not a spice, but I'd also invest in a bottle of mustard oi. It really does add a lovely note to many Indian dishes/pickles and it'll be readily available (and dead cheap) at the cash & carry I bet.
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Re: Calling all Indian spice lovers

Postby KC2 » December 18th, 2017, 11:59 am

scullion wrote:many of the recipes i make kick off with whole cumin and whole black mustard seed so they would always be in the cupboard.
the best bet for you would be to go to mamta's site, trawl through the recipes to see what you'd be likely to make and get the spices for those. there's no point in just stocking up on spices you're not likely to use and then chucking them out when they loose their oomph. if you do buy ones that you only need a small amount of keep them in the freezer (if you have one).


That's really interesting scullion, I'd never thought of keeping spices in the freezer. I'm afraid I tend to keep them probably long past their most aromatic - it always seems so wasteful chucking them away!

How long do you reckon open spices keep, assuming they're in something like a jam jar with a lid?
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Re: Calling all Indian spice lovers

Postby TeresaFoodie » December 18th, 2017, 1:18 pm

I think that's a great idea scullion, I will go through Mamta's site and will bear in mind freezing. I already freeze blitzed Scotch bonnets and fresh coriander but have never put spices in the freezer.

Walking past the shop I mentioned earlier I though cardamom is a must, black mustard seeds and cinnamon sticks - yes! I will also look out for mustard oil.

They also stock a multitude of pickles and chutneys, curry pastes, coconut products so will check those out tomorrow. Exciting! :bounce:
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Re: Calling all Indian spice lovers

Postby Zosherooney » December 18th, 2017, 4:09 pm

I don't have the freezer space to freeze spices, although I do go through quite a lot. I find if you have opened a packet and used some, seal it up well and keep it cool and in the dark. If it looses some umph just add a bit more ! Certainly don't chuck it unless it goes off. Some oil based stuff can go rancid. Mamta's site is a great guide and heartily agree that she will more than help your choices.
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Re: Calling all Indian spice lovers

Postby TeresaFoodie » December 18th, 2017, 5:34 pm

I just had a shoofty around the spice aisle (I couldn't wait until tomorrow...), this time wearing my glasses, and perused every single packet. They are East End and 100g packets, which are resealable, range from 59p-99p. Lovely! They also do lots of dried pulses and different rices.

I have a question regarding cardamom. They have ground in the range mentioned above, they also have the usual whole green and also whole black. Quite a lot more expensive than ground, although whole green most expensive of the three. Why would black be so much cheaper than green?
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Re: Calling all Indian spice lovers

Postby Seatallan » December 18th, 2017, 6:31 pm

Not sure but it something I've noticed too. I find black cardamon is more 'in your face' so perhaps that's why it's cheaper but I like the intensity of it.
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Re: Calling all Indian spice lovers

Postby Seatallan » December 18th, 2017, 6:33 pm

Interesting Wikipedia info which may help:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_cardamom
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Re: Calling all Indian spice lovers

Postby karadekoolaid » December 22nd, 2017, 3:19 am

Advice From a Brit who cooks Indian Food in the Tropics:
If you have turmeric powder, coriander powder, black pepper, chile powder and cumin powder, you can produce a decent Indian dish.
Your basic mirepoix could be ginger, garlic and chiles. Use fresh when ever possible; the results are a million times better.
My secondary spices would be: black mustard seeds, asafoetida, fenugreek, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, fennel seeds, green cardamom.
My third group would be: black cumin seeds, black cardamom seeds, kalonji, ajwain (carom) seeds, curry leaves.
I suppose you could add Garam Masala to the first group, but I usually make mine from whole spices, a little at a time.
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