#FoodHowTo: 5 terrific spice blends to make at home
Food & Drink | 16 May 2017, 11:00am
Tell a friend
When creating blends, add varying amounts of ingredients to a bowl, tasting every so often to adjust to your palate. Some spices, such as cumin, caraway and mustard seeds, can be lightly toasted in a dry pan over low heat or in the oven, to release their oils.
Play with textures as well, to create layers of flavour: have some whole seeds, finely chop dried citrus peel and lightly crush dried herbs.
For grinding, a standard coffee grinder (it’s best to have one dedicated for spices) will do the job well; as Lior Lev Sercarz (chef, spice blender and owner of La Boîte in New York) notes, a mortar and pestle looks pretty on the counter top, but it’ll take a lot longer to grind those spices to the right consistency.
What spices are essential to have on hand? He suggests chilli powder, paprika (smoked), cinnamon, fennel or anise, and cumin or caraway.
“Add some good salt and pepper, and you’re on your way,” he says. While you’re at it, compare the brands that you buy. You might be surprised at differences between basic black peppercorns.