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  • Grilling Tandoori Dishes at Home

    Of all the splendid flavors found in the cuisines of India, tandoori dishes are among our very favorites. Yet the word “tandoori” itself does not refer to any specific flavor or ingredient — it’s derived from “tandoor,” an Indian name for the kiln-like earth oven found in many Asian, Middle Eastern and North African countries. Continue reading

  • Blending the Curry

    After the curry spice formulas are meticulously researched and developed, the blending process begins.

    The blending of curry spice is a complex procedure since most curry blends have many ingredients. Each one of the spices undergoes a different processing prior to grinding. For example: Our curry leaves are bought fresh from the Indian Market. We let them dry outdoor in the shade, and once they are dried then they're ready to be ground. Our mild chilies, from California and New Mexico, are hand cleaned (seeded and stemmed) and this process is done to ensure 100% flavor of the chili since the stems and seeds can diminish the taste leaving it very bitter. Our cumin, cardamom, chilies and coriander are roasted over an Indian wok and then ground into a fine powder. Continue reading

  • The Exotic World of Curry General Introduction

    Mention curry and images of exotic, spicy food comes to mind. In fact, curried dishes are so popular that there are books written about its amazingly, rich history. So it is my pleasure to feature several articles about the origins of popular authentic curried dishes and creative ways for you to use curry in your cooking. Continue reading

  • Curry For Beginners

    For years, when people wanted to cook up a curry dish, the only spice available was the basic yellow curry seasoning at the supermarket. Although this type of curry spice was interesting to cook with which gave the food an exotic aroma and appearance, some had felt that the spice overwhelmed the palette, leaving them with a feeling that perhaps curry was not for them. Or there simply wasn't an alternative available at the time. Yet, what people didn't realize is that the vibrant yellow color was derived from turmeric, which can definitely overpower the senses if it isn't used in the right quantity. Continue reading

  • The Spice Infusion

    Making your own culinary infused oils can be a very creative and inexpensive activity to do, especially if you are into spices and herbs. I recently wrote an article about my mothers paprika oil that she always made at home. Growing up with this beautiful, red-hued oil was something that I became used to seeing on-hand at all of our meals.

    Now, you can walk down the aisles of most supermarkets and specialty food stores and see various blends of oils from garlic to red-hot chili peppers, from basil to thyme, et al. These infused oils make great bases for salad dressings, sauces, and marinades, as well as enhance the flavor and appearance to any dish. Not only are they great to cook with, they also make the perfect gift or basket stuffer for special occasions.

    However, with the growing popularity of culinary oils, most of them can be quite expensive to buy on a regular basis. So why sacrifice your predilection for good taste when you can cut costs and be as creative as you wish? Continue reading

  • Make Mine Methi: Fenugreek

    A member of the bean family, fenugreek is a plant that yields both seeds and leaves (called methi) for cooking. Long grown in Western Asia and the Mediterranean, fenugreek is now cultivated worldwide, including the United States.

    The slightly bitter flavor and sweet smell of fenugreek seeds and methi leaves can be found in many curries and spice blends, such as Ethiopian Berbere and Panch Phoron, a Bengali five-spice blend.

    Fenugreek's hard, nutty seed is rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, making it a healthy addition to meals. Type 2 diabetics, in particular, may benefit from fenugreek: Clinical studies have shown that consuming the powdered seeds can lower blood sugar. Powdered fenugreek has also been shown to lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol and triglycerides. Continue reading

  • The Real Wasabi

    For all you sushi lovers out there, did you know that this typical Japanese food has over a thousand years of history and tradition? It has probably become the most prominent example of Japanese cuisine in other countries. Part of the enjoyment of eating these bite-sized morsels of fish and rice, lies not only in the texture, but in the fiery sensation you get from the wasabi. Even though the burning sensation doesn't last but for a second, without the fieriness of the wasabi, sushi just wouldn't be -- sushi. Continue reading

  • Harissa the Great!

    Harissa is a potent chili paste that is widely used in most North African cuisine, specifically Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. This fiery blend of dried chilies and spices is an excellent accompaniment to tagines, couscous, rice dishes and also pairs well with all meats and fish. Continue reading

  • Three Warm Salads from Morocco

    This week's recipes, all warm salads with fresh vegetables, are easy-to-prepare side dishes in the Moroccan tradition of Ronit's family.

    "Growing up, our dinner or lunch would start with warm salads of all kinds: spiced carrots, roasted chili pepper with lemon and garlic, flatbread with zahtar, zaalouk with roasted eggplants," Ronit recalls.

    "We never had any frozen food or snacks; everything my mother made was fresh," she adds.

    "I was always impressed by her natural confidence in the kitchen. She never used any written recipes." Continue reading

  • The Tiny Mighty Sesame

    The taste of halva is one that you will never forget. The delicate, nutty flavor of sesame seeds, and the sweetness of honey is what makes halva a confection that has endured since the ancient Levantine period, centuries ago. In fact, one of the first oil seeds known to humankind was the sesame seed (Sesamum indicum), which was used in medicines for their nutritive, preventive, and healing properties as well as for culinary uses. Some archeological findings in the Middle East revealed that the use of sesame oil dates back to 3000 BCE, so it is no surprise of the gastronomical impact that this precious little seed held in the worlds ancient cultures. Continue reading

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