Unlocking herb and spice blends - Part 2

25 February, 2015

Unlocking herb and spice blends - Part 2

In the second part of our series we explore some Asian and Latino spice blends

The handy herb and spice blends are great to know, if you understand what's in a blend you can have a feel for what it will blend with. In part 2 we dive further into some wonderful Asian, Latino and African blends for a wonderfully flavourful spicy taste.

Thai Curry Pastes
The diverse flavours of Thai cuisine start with curry pastes which feature herbs and spices along with other simple ingredients such as fish sauce and shrimp paste.

Red curry paste is the perfect base for beef, game, duck and pork. It is made from a combination of red chillies (primary ingredient), shrimp paste, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, garlic, shallots, lemon grass, galangal, kaffir lime peel, coriander roots and black pepper which are ground together with a pestle and mortar.  

Green Curry Paste is the hottest of the Thai curries and it works exceptionally well with seafood, chicken and vegetables. It is made by grinding together coriander seeds, cumin seeds, shrimp paste, galangal, fingerroot, lemongrass, kaffir lime peel, shallots, garlic, black pepper, ground nutmeg, coriander (leaves, stems and roots), Thai basil leaves and green chillies.

Massaman curry paste works particularly well in curries that include meat, potatoes and nuts, and is also used in some Indian curries. It is made from a blend of coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, red chillies, nutmeg, mace, shrimp paste, sunflower oil, shallots, garlic, galangal, coriander root and lemongrass.

Garam Masala (Indian cuisine)
Garam masala means warm or hot spices and is a blend from North India. It contains coriander seeds, black peppercorns, cumin seeds, bay (or tejpat) leaves, cardamom pods, mace, cloves and cinnamon which are ground into a powder or paste. Use garam masala to flavour meat and poultry curries or soups or as a garnish before serving.

Curry Powder (South Asian and Indian cuisine)
This is not a traditional Indian or South Asian blend however is often used in Western cooking to recreate dishes from these regions. It is not made from curry leaves but rather a combination of coriander seeds, turmeric, cumin, chilli, mustard seeds, peppercorns and fenugreek seeds. Sometimes curry powders also include garlic, asafoetida, fennel seeds, caraway, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom.

Harissa (Moroccan cuisine)

Harissa is a chilli based blend which is commonly used in Moroccan and North African cuisines. It is made from blending dried red chilli, garlic, salt, olive oil, cumin and coriander or caraway seeds into a paste. Harissa makes a delicious marinade when combined with natural yoghurt and is an excellent condiment for eggs, couscous and tagines.

Chimichurri (South American cuisine)

Chimichurri is an Argentinian sauce which is mainly served with grilled meat however is also delicious as a condiment for pies and vegetables. It includes a blend of garlic, pepper, chilli, paprika, oregano, parsley, olive oil, salt and red wine vinegar. Sometimes oregano, thyme, cumin, coriander and bay leaves are also included.

Piri Piri Sauce (Portuguese cuisine)

Is a hot sauce make from  crushed chillies, citrus peel, onion, garlic, pepper, salt, lemon juice, bay leaves, paprika, allspice, basil, oregano and tarragon. It is used as a condiment for meat, vegetables and the popular piri piri chicken.

Jerk seasoning (Jamaican cuisine)

Jerk is a spice-based seasoning which is mainly rubbed onto pork and chicken however is can also be used to flavour seafood, beef, lamb and tofu. The two main ingredients in jerk seasoning are allspice (which is called pimento in Jamaica) and Scotch bonnet chillies which are blended with spring onions, shallots, garlic, ginger, thyme, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and sunflower oil.

And, of course, it is easy to create authentic Mediterranean, Moroccan and Thai meals at home with our Stir-In Seasonings. They have a perfect blend of herbs and spices chopped and ready to rub into, stir fry or stir through your favourite meals.  

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