Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Spice cabinet

This is the spice cabinet. It is a reference to all the spices and herbs that are used in this blog. It will be updated as necessary. 


Turmeric is often confused with curry powder. They are sometimes incorrectly termed as the same spice.
Turmeric is a powder made from dried and ground turmeric rhizome.
Curry powder is a blend of various spices.
This golden spice is what gives Indian food "The Midas Touch."


Cumin is a very aromatic spice especially when it is ground. In fact it is the first
smell most people pick up. It adds a wonderful flavor to meats and stews.
It aids in ridding the fleshy smell.
  Little goes a long way with this spice.
It tends to linger on fabric and clothing. Use sparingly and keep kitchen ventilated
when cooking with it.


Cloves are quite common in Bengali cuisine.
They are used from meat dishes, seafood, desserts, and even 
as breath mints. 
They have a pungent and woody scent. 
They really pack a punch when you put one in your mouth.
There is an enormous zesty tingling on the tongue. 

Cardamom is another widely used spice.
It is used whole in mostly meats, rice dishes, and desserts.
The pods  have a kind of piney/pistachio scent with hints of sweet undertones.

Chili Powder

Yes, the notorious chili powder.
We are sure you are all familiar with this.
It is the crushed and ground version of the dried red chilies below.
It provides heat and a smoky flavor to food.

Dried Red Chilies 
Honestly dried red chilies are more commonly used
than the powder. Sometimes my mom adds both to one dish
but this is rarely done. 

Mustard Seeds

This is the absolute most widely used ingredient.
Used in especially fish, seafood, and vegetables.
Except meat. Never used in meats.
Mustard seeds also make mustard oil and mustard paste.
It has a zingy and peppery taste.

Bay Leaves
Bay leaves are a staple in the pantry.
They are used in everything.
They have a delicate flavor and scent.

Onion Seeds
This is a common ingredient in bengal, but for some reason
it is quite difficult for us to find where we live in the U.S.
So it is rarely used and reserved for pickles or garnish.
Panch Phoron
This is a blend of 5 different spices.
Cumin seed
Onion seed
mustard seed
Fennel seed
I have not seen my mother cooking with this so much
She does, however, use it quite commonly when 
she makes pickles. It is quite aromatic.

Not very commonly used.
My mom likes to put some over steaming rice to
release the aroma.
By its self it has a concentrated latex scent,
but when paired with rice or pilafs
it smell better.

Again rarely used.
Goes best with rice.

Black Pepper
Yes, the blog's namesake.
I don't think we have to elaborate too much on this.
Cinnamon is another staple ingredient.
It is rarely used as a powder. If it is then its on desserts
otherwise it is used in meats and rices.

Log Stick

Flat Stick/chinese cinnamon

Posted by - Naz
Photographs by Naz 

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