The combination and use of spices can turn a simple ingredient into a delectable delight. Indian cooking is a perfect example of using a mix of spices to awaken the taste buds. As with most ethnic cooking, the mix and use of spices is regional to the country, but there are the basic spices that most Indian recipes incorporate. The spices are used either whole − toasted to bring out the fragrance and intensify the flavor and then ground − or purchased pre-ground. Many Indian cooks keep their most frequently used spices in a Masala Dabba Box, which is a round stainless-steel container with seven smaller compartments for different spices. Indian cooking relies on spices in a way unlike any other world cuisine − give it a try and you will be hooked...we are!
The Basic Indian Spices:*
Ground Cumin andWhole Cumin Seeds: Dark brown seeds are very aromatic and are sold whole or finely ground. Widely used in spice mixes, curry powders, and in vegetable dishes, pickles, soups, and meat dishes.
Ground Coriander: Mild, with an aroma similar to lemon, sage, and caraway. It is used in curry powder spice mixes, pickling, and soups.
Turmeric: Intense yellow-orange color and related to ginger. Used to flavor and color food and is used in curry powder blends and plays an important role in imparting an appetizing golden color to dals and vegetable dishes.
Whole Mustard Seeds: Small, round seeds varying in color from black to brown to yellow are ubiquitous in southern Indian cooking, where the tempering of the oil in countless recipes begins with the addition of them. They pack a punch that is intensified in hot oil.
Whole Green Cardamom: This is the second most important spice in India after cumin seeds. The pods are used whole or ground. It is an ancient and extremely flavorful spice that is native to India and is used in both sweet and savory dishes.
Ground Garam Masala: A flavor-enhancing blend of spices used widely in Indian cuisine consisting of mace, cinnamon, cloves, green and black cardamom, cumin, black pepper, and nutmeg.
Founded in their home kitchens in 2011 by sisters Melissa Quackenbush and Amanda Hart, Sabrosa Salt Company produces a line of gourmet finishing sea salt blends that will complement any dish. Each Sabrosa Salt is uniquely blended with select herbs and spices; unlocking the natural intensity of flavors found in foods like beef, poultry, fish and vegetables. All of the Sabrosa Salts use artisan sel gris, or “grey salt,” that are rich in trace minerals, lower in sodium and hand harvested using centuries–old Celtic methods. The all natural, Kosher certified gourmet finishing salts are offered in seven distinct flavors.
Two of their most popular blended artisan sea salt products, “Everything” and “Cumin-Cinnamon ”, were featured in the official gift swag bags presented to 800 attendees at the 33rd Annual News & Documentary Emmy® Awards on October 1, 2012 in New York City. The seasoned sea salt blends are pricey but a little goes a very long way. In addition to being a finishing salt, they can also be used in rubs and marinades. Just remember, a pinch is all you will need!
EVERYTHING SALT: The most versatile blend, it goes on everything! The finest sel gris (grey sea salt) from France is blended with a subtle hint of natural herbs to enhance the flavor of any food. Great finishing salt when sprinkled over vegetables, meats, fish/seafood and eggs ▪ Outstanding on salads ▪ Ideal for use as a rub on your favorite meats and poultry.
ITALIAN SEASONING SALT: A nice herb blend accented with rosemary, sage, and basil and robust grey sea salt to lend a hearty Italian flavor to any dish. Add to your favorite ragù or pasta dishes ▪ Great in soups/sauces and pizza.
CUMIN-CINNAMON SALT: Sel gris combined with cumin and cinnamon for a sharp, nutty, peppery tang softened with a subtle cinnamon finish. Ideal on sweet potatoes, hummus and cauliflower ▪ Excellent with chicken and lamb ▪ Kick up the flavor and add to your favorite citrus based marinades
BARBECUE SALT: Add a bold and spicy kick with this savory barbecue finishing salt. Use as a finishing salt to boost the flavor of your barbequed favorites ▪ Sprinkle on ground beef when making hamburgers and meatloaf.
FIRED UP! SALT: White pepper, cayenne powder, red pepper flakes and a dash of ginger combined with other spices and sel gris to add a bit of sweet peppery heat to your meal. Sprinkle on chili, stuffed peppers and vegetables ▪ Great as a rub for chicken or beef kabobs ▪ Add a pinch to cream cheese and spread on a cracker.
CREOLE PEPPER SALT: Pepper spices and paprika combined with sel gris for a warm flavor finished with a light touch of garlic and thyme. Ideal as a finishing salt for seafood and fish soup ▪ Savory on roasted brussels sprouts, beans and potatoes.
LEMON-DILL SALT: Dill with a pinch of lemon peel and other spices blended with sel gris for a light zesty flavor. Ideal on fish, crab cakes, chicken, lamb chops and vegetables ▪ Enjoy on a baked potato, steamed asparagus and roasted peppers
We discovered this new snack chip at Kosherfest. It is a new product recently introduced by the makers of The Simply Bar. These chips are packed with protein. They are currently available in two flavors, herb and chili - with more on the way, including barbecue. Both current flavors of these pea protein chips, offer a mixture of tastes — spicy, savory and slightly sweet. We think that they provide a satisfying and tasty choice for healthy snacking.
• Suggested for weight loss, diabetic and healthful eating • 15g of protein, 2g of sugar and 140 calories per bag • Gluten-free, vegan, all natural • Kosher certified United Mehadrin Kosher – UMK • Imported from Canada • 33g (1.66 ounces) per bag
Available in the NYC area at GNC stores and online at thesimplybar.com. Sample pack $5 for two bags.
Boon Chocolate "Happiness is Chocolate!"
For our Australian friends, we are spotlighting Boon Chocolate, Darlinghurst, Australia. We experienced these wonderful chocolates at Kosherfest 2012 and the representative was kind enough to send us samples before he went back home. Founded by the sister and brother team of Fanny and Alex Chen, the chocolates are handmade in the Boon store in Darlinghurst. They are made from Belgian and European chocolate and the Chens use as many local ingredients as possible – fresh cream, milk or other specialty Australian ingredients such as Tasmanian pepper berry and local honey produce. The Chens philosophy in chocolate–making is to produce in small batches so that the chocolates are consumed within four weeks of being made. Freshness is key to appreciating the individual flavor characteristic to each chocolate creation. As you dear readers know, we are the ultimate chocoholics and the sampling of this product was pure bliss!
No artificial preservatives
All natural ingredients
Handmade in small batches
Certified KA dairy kosher
Available online from BoonChocolatesShop– Australia. They also ship to the United States; contact them directly for information:
The design of the Bixby label has a fun 1920's nostalgic look but the taste of the chocolate candy bars reflects the modern vision of founder Kate McAleer – nutritious and natural chocolate products. Founded in 2011, the company is committed to a better community, world and uses green and fair–trade sources. McAleer has based her recipes on personal travels — China and France — which are reflected in the unique combinations of exotic spices, pure chocolate, healthy nuts and dried fruits. Most of the ingredients are organic, natural, and GMO–free; the dark chocolate bars are vegan. Available in six chocolate + fruit, nut, spices, combinations, we can attest to the quality and taste of the bars. We sampled each flavor (six) and they are delicious; a good selection for the health–conscious chocolate connoisseur – or anyone who loves good chocolate.