Spice Road Spices
Artisan Spice Merchants
The Art of Flavour
The Art of Flavour
A nice recipe suggestion from Tony M. (see Subscribers this Art of Flavour issue) on the importance of using crushed coriander rather than the finely ground coriander powder found in supermarkets.
Tony's point raises broader issue of the importance of using, where possible, freshly ground spices in recipes.
The thing is, we should be aware that when using pre ground herbs and spices you may be buying or using a product of diminishing flavour for your recipes.
Initially this is not too serious. Pre ground herbs and spices have a useful flavour life of eight weeks. Beyond that, as a well known food writer put it, you are buying a shadow of the spice it once was.
Followers of Spice Road Spices would be aware that when they are placing an order for ground spices, we toast and grind the spices no earlier than 36 hours before delivery, giving the buyer premium freshness and flavour.
There is little point in using spices that have been sitting at the back of the spice draw for some time or having been sitting on a hook in a supermarket, often at the end of a long supply delivery chain.
Happily, toasting and grinding spices is not a stress. The point of toasting is to release the oils from the whole spices before grinding to give a true expression of the flavour for your recipe.
Simply spread whatever herbs or spices you are using evenly in a pan over a medium heat - do not leave the stove ! - and gently stir for a few minutes until you have a lovely aroma and the spices are hot, but above all, they are not burning.
Then to a mortar and pestle (great fun) or a grinder to give the "texture" your prefer without grinding the flavour out of the spices.
As with all food, quality and freshness are really the keys to great flavour for your recipe and the dish.