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Using garam masala, a fragrant mix of cardamom, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and peppercorns, will add a mild and sweet warmth to your curry. If you fancy something a bit hotter, the combination of ginger, black pepper, and cinnamon in a madras powder will do the trick – just make sure you have a glass of iced lassi nearby to cool your tongue down!
For a spicy snack, try sprinkling some chaat masala on naan bread or a bowl of roasted chickpeas. This tangy mix of kala nemak (black salt), fennel, and cumin is usually used as a garnish and can add a kick to pretty much any dish.
To make a yellow curry, which is the mildest, you’ll want to use a powder that combines galangal, garlic, coriander, lemongrass, and coriander. For a red curry with a medium spice level, you’ll need a mix of red chilies, lemongrass, garlic, and turmeric. If you want to go for the hottest option, the green curry, opt for a blend of green chilies, garlic, coriander, kaffir leaf, and basil.
A ras el hanout mix will typically include turmeric, fenugreek, peppercorn, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, and coriander. Although the exact ingredients can vary from region to region, any blend of these spices will mix add a sweet, aromatic warmth to your dishes.
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2. Alfez Ras El Hanout Spice Mix
A Versatile and Aromatic Mix of Moroccan Spices
3. Dunn’s River Hot Caribbean Curry Powder
Perfect for Cooking up Caribbean-Influenced Curries and Stews
6. East End Madras Curry Powder Mild
A Cheap and Cheerful Mix That Will Liven up Any Meal
10. Tesco Mild Tandoori Curry Powder
An Affordable Way to Add a Little Spice to Your Cooking
So, why choose a powder over a sauce or a paste when you’re out shopping for spices? The main reason is that powder lasts for much longer – you can keep it for up to 2 years before it’ll start losing its flavour! Plus, as only a few teaspoons are needed for most dishes, it’s a cost-effective option if you want to make curries regularly.
A powder is also the best choice for recipes that need to simmer or marinade, such as stews and meat dishes, because the flavours will be milder. One thing to keep in mind though is the amount of turmeric in the ingredients – although this adds a yellow tinge to the curry, it doesn’t provide much flavour. So, look for a powder with a good mix of different spices and not too much turmeric.
Cooking is all about experimenting with new recipes and ingredients, but where do you start? Well, having a good variety of sauces and vinegars in your pantry at the ready is a good starting point. That way, you can add a dash of something here and there to see how you like the taste! Take a look at some of our favourite cooking essentials.
Author: Nicola McClements
No. 1: Alfez ｜2. Alfez Ras El Hanout Spice Mix
No. 2: Dunn’s River ｜3. Dunn’s River Hot Caribbean Curry Powder
No. 3: East End ｜6. East End Madras Curry Powder Mild
No. 4: Tesco｜10. Tesco Mild Tandoori Curry Powder
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