Think beyond curry. These unexpected spice blends from India are exciting and totally different from the average Indian fare. They also make wild ingredients in fusion food.
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The civil war in Syria is not only a humanitarian tragedy, but is also disrupting the global spice trade.
Syria’s rich, ancient food culture and balmy climate make it a top producer of many popular Mediterranean herbs and spices. The Spice Station’s supply of top quality syrian sumac, cumin and za’atar has been cut off. Although we are able to find other sources of those herbs, the unique Aleppo pepper is only available from Syria.
We may still be able to source this pepper for a time, but when supplies run out it may be a long time before we can get more. Aleppo is one of the regions most affected by the war.
Aleppo pepper fans will have to substitute Marash or Antebi pepper flakes from nearby Turkey.
As the tragic violence continues, we hope that the many Syrian farms and farmers that supply us will one day be able to peacefully return to their lives and provide the world with their unique and wonderful spices.
A funny name, a rich purple color, a choco-raisin-spice aroma, and a mouthwatering fruity, peppery flavor. This unforgettable exotic spice is something to get excited about.
So what is urfa biber? Coming from the rich, ancient cuisine of Southern Turkey, (the Urfa region, to be exact) this spice is actually a type of chili pepper (biber in Turkish) that has been alternately sun-dried and then wrapped to preserve moisture. This process lasts many days and yields a completely transformed product.
Like many great spices, urfa biber can be used both in sweet and savory dishes. Its sweet heat is excellent with meats, stews, dips and sauces. But the raisin-like, peppery flavor goes great in sweets, too, especially chocolate.
Chocolate and chili maybe aren’t destined for marriage, but they make exciting lovers. Urfa’s spiciness adds a surprise to ordinary chocolate cake, brownies or hot chocolate. It is still mild enough for people who can’t handle spicy food, but will warm the mouth and lighten a dessert’s heaviness. Urfa has even played a starring role in ice cream!
At the Spice Station, versatile urfa pepper is used in many of our blends.
Sweet Heat is a blend of top quality cocoa powder, urfa biber, and a few other sweet spices. Used as hot chocolate, it helps warm you to your toes, and also goes great as an add-in for diabolical icings, cupcakes, truffle fillings, or dusting a frothy mug of mocha.
Try some of these other exciting recipes using urfa biber, and hey, if you happen to invent a winner, we’d love to hear about it!
Eggplant with Urfa Biber Yogurt Sauce
Delectable side dish for any Mediterranean-style feast.
BBQ Beef Short Ribs with
Black Garlic and Urfa Biber
Learn of the mysterious black garlic and how it pairs with urfa pepper.This extravagant recipe also includes harissa (the Spice Station carries an excellent version of this classic spice blend.)
It’s actually 4 or 5 days late but let’s face it, having just started this blog, our readers are well, limited. The untimely subject of this blog is hangover cures and the role of spices and herbs therein. We have discovered what we believe is the Holy Grail of hangover cures. We all know that the best remedy for the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal is…more alcohol. (Otherwise known as The Hair of the Dog.) But, there’s more to it than that and a way to fix it that wont have you spending yet another day stumbling around and making unwise decisions. It’s called Fernet Branca. Read the rest of this entry »
Did you buy winter spices for holiday baking, eggnog, mulling, ciders et al and now you’re wondering what shall become of those jars that are 9/10ths full? Spice Station to the rescue! Nutmeg likes anything with cream so potatoes au gratin anyone? We will eat anything with potatoes, heavy cream and cheese but throw a layer of dried porcini mushrooms into this dish and we’ll be at your door before you can shake a lamb shank. (Which, does nicely with onion and garlic sauteed with a dash of nutmeg and garam masala.) Combined with butter, flour and a bay leaf, you’ll have a classic bechamel for a baked pasta dish. Really, anything with cream can usually do with a bit of nutmeg.
Allspice also goes great with lamb and Caribbean jerk dishes. As you know, cinnamon is very friendly with the apple and apple is great with pork dishes. Try roasting a pork loin in some apple juice and halved red apples sprinkled with cinnamon. (If you wrap that puppy in bacon you’ll really be rolling.) As far as cloves go, they are a must-have in a glazed ham (with brown sugar, honey and a dash of dry mustard) but those decorative pomanders (clove-studded oranges) aren’t just for the holidays — they make great sachets for drawers and cupboards all year round. Be careful around clothing though as clove is derived from the Latin word ‘Clavus’ which means ‘nail’.’ If you find people sniffing at you, well, take it as a compliment. If they look like they might take a bite out of you consider making a run for it.