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September 10, 2007

Spice up ya life

If you seriously want to spice up your life, then unfortunately, a spice tin is for you. I say unfortunately because they are very difficult to buy outside of India. But if your local Indian grocery/puja instrument/kitchen good/pirate DVD store has a spice tin in stock, snap it up, cause you'll never look back.

Spice tins are great cause all the spices your heart desires are under one lid. No fiddling with screw top jars or searching the back of your cupboards. No little plastic bags wrapped up with elastic bands.

If you are lucky enough to have a spice tin in your hot little hands here's the guide:

A few spices are tridoshic and can be your staple spices.
  • cummin (I prefer whole seeds, they add nice texture)
  • tumeric
  • coriander (I prefer ground, the seeds get stuck in my teeth)
  • Himalayan rock salt (this will be a funny colour like pink or black)
  • fennel seeds
If you are a very disciplined Pitta you might just leave the last couple of spaces in your spice tin empty. Most other spices are heating. If you are keen you could try caraway, neem, or taragon, all cooling, but not so commonly used.

Vata has a few more options, the little known ajwan is the secret ingredient to alot of Indian food including samosas. Great for Vata and totally delicious, but difficult to find. Fenugreek, mustard seeds and cloves are all good daily spices.

As for Kapha, go out and buy a double layered spice tin cause here is where you can be decadent to your hearts desire. Chili and ginger powder are ideal, but nearly every spice you can think of will do you an awful lot of good. Enjoy liberally and frequently!

What not to put in your spice tin:
  • Some spices, like black pepper, begin to lose their flavour once they are ground. It's best store them in airtight containers or in a pepper grinder ready to grind fresh.
  • Other spices, like cardamom, have such a strong smell, they may affect the flavour of other spices stored in the same tin.
  • Expensive spices, like saffron, will get knocked around a bit in a spice tin, and become contaminated with other spices.

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