“I am working on a blend of spices that will taste great in everything. I have a list of about 30 ingredients, but so far the results are inconsistent.”–David Chang, in an interview with Lucky Peach
It is impossible to improve every dish you make. But there are ways to make every dish better.
You can add a little bit of something unexpected, like lemon juice or green tea or cayenne pepper. You can take away something that is overwhelming, like not enough salt or too much sugar. And you can bring up flavors that are hidden and highlight them–for instance, by roasting your own tomatoes or caramelizing onions.
But here’s another way: mix together some spices, and get that flavor into your basic palette. It doesn’t matter how many dishes you cook; if all your dishes start with the same flavor base, they will be slightly better each time.*
A spice blend is also good because it is easy to make and transport (just throw in a jar), it stores well (in the jar), and it makes it easy to experiment with variations (you just add more).
What is Mixed Spice? It’s a blend of the following spices, in their proportions listed below. This blend was a favorite of mine growing up in Jamaica and it’s still one of my favorites. I tend to add it to almost any savory dish, but especially soups and stews.
Tumeric, 1/4 cup
Ginger, 1/4 cup
Allspice Berries, 2 tsp
Cloves Whole (ground cloves work fine too), 1 tsp
Cinnamon sticks, 2-3 3″ sticks (if you can’t find whole cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon works just as well)**
Nutmeg, 1/8 tsp
Salt (to taste)**
*optinal* – I sometimes add a pinch of ground cayenne pepper or curry powder. If you have any other spices you like to add this is the place to do so.”
I started Spice Islands® in my kitchen, with a mortar and pestle. Over the years I have added to that collection of tools, but the simple mortars and pestles are still the heart of our spice preparation.
Taste is what matters. The smell of a great spice blend can transport you back to an exotic location or to a memorable meal. At Spice Islands®, we strive to maintain the highest standards for flavor.
Our spices are carefully selected for quality, freshness and taste. We mix them in small batches, ensuring that our blends are as flavorful as possible. Our goal is to bring you the very best in flavor for your cooking enjoyment!
We hope you enjoy our products as much as we enjoy creating them!
I love spices, and I’m also a big fan of subtle flavor mixtures, so when I started experimenting with my own spice blends, it was only natural for me to try mixing different spices.
Trying to figure out how to mix your own spice blends can be a little tricky, though, so here’s a quick guide to help you get started.
There are a lot of great spice blends out there already (like ranch dressing), but they’re all based on just one or two flavors. When I started trying to mix my own spice blends, I wanted something more complex. I wanted a blend that was more than the sum of its parts, that had its own unique flavor as opposed to just being a combination of familiar flavors.
I’ve experimented with dozens of combinations over the years, but my favorite is still this simple recipe that includes cumin, coriander, and turmeric:
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
Mix together thoroughly. To use in cooking or baking, use 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon per serving.**
I create spice mixes for the food industry in an airtight package. My ingredients are a trade secret. The mix is sold as a blend with no indication of the individual spices or their amounts.
I believe it would be better to sell pure spices than a blend. The blend is only one-third as expensive as buying all the pure spices separately, but the consumer has no idea how to use it or what anything in it tastes like. I think it would be better to sell pure cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg directly and not bother with the blend.
What do you think?
* Mixed Spice* is a blend of allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
The term “mixed spice” is ambiguous as it can also refer to a specific blend of spices used in Britain, with slightly different ingredients. This page deals with the more widely known mix of allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
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In the culinary arts, it is important to have access to a large variety of spices. Many chefs even grow their own spices to ensure that they always have the freshest and most flavorful product. It is also important to store spices properly so that they do not lose their flavor or potency over time.
I usually buy my spices in bulk at the local grocery store. This helps me save money and ensures that I am getting high quality spice blends. I then keep them in an airtight container in a cool, dark place to ensure that they maintain freshness and flavor. It is important to check your spices periodically for signs of freshness and to replace any spices you may be running low on.
The following article will explain how I go about storing my spices in order to ensure maximum freshness, flavor and potency. Read on for tips from your friendly neighborhood chef!