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General Info

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The Ingredients

Coriander

Fresh green plant also known as Chinese Parsley, whole coriander is the seed, ground or powder is pulverised seed. Whole seed when crushed in the mouth produce an explosive fragrance with a certain amount of lemon character.

Cumin

Pungent seed, long and thin, ground cummin is sometimes known as Jeera.

Chili

Long thin green or red peppers providing the characteristic heat associated with some curries. Chili powder is made from dried red chilies. It is said that the number of ls in the name are an indication of the heat of the powder.

Turmeric

Yellow ground spice with a musty/earthy smell, probably the main spice producing the yellow character of commercial curry powders.

Cardamoms

Can come in various forms, bleached or unbleached seed pods or ground as powder. Whole seeds used in cooking produce a burst of fragrance in the mouth when you crush seed with your teeth.

Whole Black Pepper

Use either whole or grind in a pepper mill.

Cloves

Can be used either whole or ground as a powder depending on the recipe. Cloves have a particularly strong antiseptic smell and clove oil is noted for it's antibacterial properties at very low concentrations.

Cinnamon

Two forms, cinnamon stick or powder.

Saffron

Very expensive spice used to produce a yellow colour in rice. You can substitute Turmeric to colour rice but it does produce a very different taste.

Ginger

The best form to use is fresh ginger root but you can get away with using ginger powder, however, powder does lack some of the lemon like fragrance of fresh root. I have even used Ginger in syrup when I have been stuck.

Mustard Seed

Use black seed not white.

Onion Seed

Fenugreek

A bean known as Methi, when ground very pungent, overuse can cause a slight bitterness.

Mixed Seed

Use approx equal proportions of Mustard, Fenugreek and onion seed.

Poppy Seed

Use black seed as topping on Nan, white as thickener.

Sesame Seed

Used as a topping on Nan or other breads.

Curry Leaf

Flavour released in hot fluids if not available use Bay leaf instead.

Asafoetida

Also known as Heeng, is a dried gum resin used in very small amounts and is fairly pungent.

Anardana

Dried pomegranate seeds.

Besan

Chick-pea flour also known as Gram, used for batters for deep frying.

Coconut Milk

If fresh coconut is not available a good sub can be made using coconut cream, failing that, use about 4oz. of desiccated coconut with 10 fl.oz. of boiling water in a blender.

Ghee

A type of clarified butter used for cooking. Butter or vegetable oil can be used in it's place.

Lime

Used to provide a sour astringency in savoury dishes can substitute lemon if unavailable.

Tamarind

Usually in the form of dried fruit blocks needing to be soaked and strained, using the tamarind water rather than the fibrous pulp.

Yoghurt

Used in many recipes as the fluid and the essential feature of Raitha.

Blachan

Known as trasi in Malaysia and kapi in Thailand; a dried shrimp paste with an incredible smell! Use a very small amount on the end of a teaspoon to give your beef curry a fantastic lift, but be careful not to overdo it.

Lemon Grass

A citral odour is the characteristic of Lemon Grass which is very popular in South East Asian cookery.

Peanuts

The basic component of Sate, where it is roast, husks winnowed, then ground to a coarse paste. If you can't be bothered with that then use crunchy peanut butter.

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