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Cooking with dried spices

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
At culinary school over 20 years ago I was taught to fry my spices to "release the oils/flavour"when making things like curry. Many chefs I have worked with do the same.

However when I watch my Indian or Pakistan friends make curry they simply add the powered spices straight into the pan at the later stages when the tomatoes have broken down. I have seen Indian chefs do it on TV also.

Because curries originate from that part of the world, is it the western chefs who are using powered spices wrong?
post #2 of 5

No, not at all. Indian cuisine favors cooking the spices first to bring out more of the flavors.

There are some spices that are added at the end of cooking ( ie: Garam Masala), but usually the spices are cooked before as part of the process.

Are your "friends" cooks or Chefs? 

post #3 of 5

Although I'm not a professional chef, perhaps could this thread be moved into "Cooking Discussions" because I feel that this info could be helpful to ALL members.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #4 of 5

Hi Kirkunit,

In general whole spices are fried, either in oil, often with the onions, for a curry etc. Though you can also dry fry whole spices to get them really fragrant and toasty before grinding for a homemade garam masala for instance.

 

Already ground spices are added later in the cooking because they are so much more delicate. They dont have their casing to protect them from the heat.

 

If you are serving yogurt with a curry, or Mediterranean meal, try dry frying cumin seeds and grinding them, before sprinkling over the yogurt. Its amazing.

 

On the subject of dry frying, have you ever tried doing rice? Once they dart to colour a golden brown, grind them straight away and they will be so tasty sprinkled on lots of middle eastern, indian and far eastern salads.

"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #5 of 5

In Indian foods there is a layering of spices going on, with spices added at several points in the cooking. Usually whole spices at the very beginning to the hot oil then powdered spices after the onions/garlic/chili/ginger have softened.

 

Some Indian dishes also use what is called a tadka or chaunk at the end--whole spices (and often curry leaves) are added to hot oil in a pan and allowed to sizzle and smoke for a minute, then the pan of hot, spicy oil is poured into the dish right before serving. You can perk up a day old curry by adding another tadka to the pot.

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