What is Chinese Five Spice powder?
Mainly used in the red-cooking technique, Chinese Five Spice Powder is a traditional spice used in many Chinese dishes. The spice is sold-year round and considered “the best-known Chinese spice mixture” that combines the five following spices to balance the yin and yang.
The five-spice powder is a blend of ground spices shown as a brown powder. These spices generally include cinnamon, cloves, star anise, Szechuan peppercorns, and either fennel seed or ginger. In Chinese cooking, the spice blend is used for flavoring, braising roasted meat, fish, and poultry dishes. The five-spice blend can also be utilized in numerous marinades or rubs.
Where did the Five Spice powder originate from?
The Five Spice Powder was used as a traditional medicine to balance a person’s yin and yang. The number five associates with healing properties in Chinese Culture. This ideology has been implemented both in the Chinese and Taiwanese cultures and has also considered in other cultures in Asia.
In the world of cooking, the number five brings balance to the dish’s properties. This includes the taste and texture to balance the yin and the yang.
What is the Taste of Chinese Five Spice Powder?
The flavor of this spice is described as having a distinct licorice-like flavor due to the star anise. It also has a sweet/warm flavor from cinnamon and fennel. The cloves add a sensation of cooling in the mouth while the Schezuan peppercorns add a kick to the spice.
Each ingredient in the blend has its part to play and especially in more detail.
The Cinnamon is the “sweet” part of the blend. Unlike sugar, the cinnamon has a hint of spice to it. Many five-spice blends in the Chinese Cuisines do call for cinnamon or cassia which is a cousin to cinnamon.
The Schezuan peppercorn part of the blend is not a spice. It’s a berry that’s a reddish-brown that comes from the ash bush. It’s the fiery part of the blend that gives it the right kick for many traditional Chinese dishes.
The Ground Cloves of the blend has a sweet flavor. Star Annise is another component but it isn’t as sweet. Fennel is another sweet component, except for not having the licorice-tasting component.
Try the Chinese Five Spice
Usually, when using the five-spice blend in different dishes, it is used sparingly due to the strong flavoring/spices it contains. One example of it being used in a traditional Chinese dish would be the five flower pork. This is a traditional dish using pork belly, marinating it in the five-spice blend, then steaming it along with other vegetables and seasonings.
Try our blend here.
Ways of Grilling the Perfect Steak
Typically, during the summer season, the grill comes on and people spend more time outside. Grilling steak is one of American’s favorite summer things to do. No one wants a bland steak, they want a juicy flavorful steak. May we suggest seasoning it with our Montreal Steak Spice to blow your tastebuds away. Read on for ideas on how to up your grilling game to make the most perfect tasting seasoned steak.
Selecting the Steak
Make sure that you consider the cuts of your steak. It is vital to select the best steak for the perfect marinade. Understand that there are various cuts of steak that are best for grilling. Some come with bones while others do not. Below are some of the cuts of steak:
• Tenderloin or Filet. This cut has no bones and is the most tender as well as the most expensive.
• Sirloin. This is usually a big cut of steak and can either have bones or not.
• New York. Usually have no bones and have excellent beef flavor.
• Porterhouse and T-bone. Have huge bones and are best for grilling.
Season the Steak
You have chosen your steak, brought it home, now is the time to marinate it to be prepared for the grill. While some people just like the simplicity of salt and pepper to marinate the steak, our Montreal Steak Spice will delight your palate. We use the freshest spices for the boldest flavors. This blend of Montreal Steak Spice usually includes ingredients such as pepper, salt, coriander, dill, mustard seeds, dehydrated garlic and onions, red pepper flakes, rosemary, thyme, paprika, and caraway seeds. Rub it into the steak on all sides and let it sit for about an hour at room temperature before putting it on the grill.
Tips for Grilling the and adding the Perfect Marinade
• First, turn on your grill. Make it hot as you can. Perfect heat gives the meat color and that color enhances the flavors.
• Secondly, spray the grill with oil a bit. This ensures that it does not stick. Then put your steak on the grill.
• After doing that leave your steak alone. Ensure that you are not poking or flattening it. You will turn it just once with tongs.
• Then time your steak right. Depending on your cut of steak and how you like it, cook your steak for about three to four minutes on each side. You can also use a thermometer where the rare ranges at 125 degrees, medium-rare is around 130 degrees, medium is about 135, medium-well is 140 while well done is above 140 degrees.
• Finally, take your perfectly seasoned and grilled steak off from the grill. Once you do that allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before enjoying it.
What is Kare Raisu, also known as Japanese Curry?
Although it may be unexpected to find curry on a Japanese menu, kare raisu, a thick and hearty stew, is actually one of the most popular entrees in the country. It was in the mid-1800s that the British introduced curry to Japan, finding it themselves in the former British colony of India. If you enjoy curry, it is easy to see why this Japanese comfort food is so well liked.
Like in any other curry, the heat level of kare raisu can be tailored to your particular tastes. It is a nice robust curry that can have any combination of delicious ingredients, so it can also be made to suit any occasion. While a commercially available ‘curry powder’ is available in Japanese grocery stores, more adventurous home chefs prefer to mix their own blend of spices.
If you have decided that you want to make this dish at home, know that this Japanese comfort food can be easily customized to your palette, and can use any ingredients you might have. It generally contains a multitude of vegetables and your meat of choice is served over rice. The rice serves to soak up the gravy and was crucial in past ages to fill a person’s belly. We are giving you a recipe for a very basic style of this stew, using the ever-popular chicken. It is worthwhile to note that a single package of curry tablets from the grocery store will generally make one pot of the stew. However, it can be used for a lot of different recipes.
– 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped into bite-size pieces.
– 2 chopped carrots.
– 2 chopped potatoes
– 1 chopped onion
– 2 cups water
– 2-3 tablespoons Kare Raisu blend
1. Saute meat and vegetables over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, or until soft.
2. Pour in water.
3. Bring to a boil then remove the pan from heat and add curry, stirring constantly with a spoon.
4. Let sit for 5 minutes to thicken.
5. Serve over white rice, garnished with minced shallots, parsley or crunchy radish.
Our Kare Raisu is some of the best flavors you will ever taste.
Have you Tried Berbere?
Berbere is an Ethiopian spice blend you should try!
This spice blend is a tradition originating from Ethiopia. The name “berbere” comes from the Berber people associated with the region in Northern Africa where Ethiopia resides. Berbere serves as the backbone of Ethiopian cooking and may be found in nearly every kitchen there. This classic spice is also used in the national dish of Ethiopia called “Doro wat,” a type of stew using chicken, and “Siga wat” using beef as the primary ingredient.
Berbere has a very spicy profile with a wholesome blend of spices herbs, and so on. One unique thing about this spice is that no two mixes are the same. That’s right, the flavor and consistency of Berbere can vary widely depending on where in Ethiopia you are and which family is cooking. That’s largely due in part because different regions have more restricted access and must use alternative ingredients while others may be less restricted.
Berbere is also used to add flavor to a wide variety of foods from meat, to vegetables and even legumes. This complex spice typically denotes a spicy, sweet, and citrus profile, which leads to a highly unique and interesting flavor combination. Many households also combine the spice with red wine and oil, which produces a paste known as “awaze.” This paste is then served as ketchup like a condiment, which is used to dip other foods into.
What is berbere?
With the background out of the way, you’re probably wondering, what is berbere? Berbere is made from a wide range of ingredients ranging from over a dozen herbs, spices, and blends. Most commonly, however, the blend consists of chili peppers, fenugreek, ginger, allspice, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, and lesser-known varieties like long pepper and ajwain. All of this complexity leads to a flavor that is spicy yet tolerable. The heat of this spice is somewhat evened out by the sweetness of the cinnamon and citrusy flavors. So, you can expect a spicy, sweet, and earthy taste overall.
Berbere is most commonly cooked into sauteed onions at the start of the cooking process. This helps release the flavor profile into the onions. However, you can also put dashes of this spice over the meat like fish or even fresh fruit. If you opt to make the awaze, then it can be used as a dipping sauce as well. Dig in and enjoy!
See our blend here.
Spices to Bring to Your Next Camping Trip
Everyone is a fan of delicious food. After spending all day on various outdoor activities while camping, the least you can do is prepare a delightful and flavorful meal by cooking with spices. Being outdoors should not be an excuse to eat mediocre food. Therefore, during your next camping trip, don’t forget the spices.
Salt alone cannot do the magic. However, since you want to pack light, you might not carry all your spices. Here are some essentials that can spice up your trip.
Cinnamon goes along with almost every meal. Besides making your meals in the wilderness taste better, it also has many health benefits. For instance, it has been proven to lower both cholesterol and blood sugar levels. You can add cinnamon to your yogurt or coffee in the morning or your hot apple juice after a long day for a kick.
Cayenne pepper is definitely every kitchen essential, including your camping kitchen. It comes in handy when preparing some chili for your family or friends. You can also add it to other dishes, like Mexican food.
Turmeric might not sound like an essential, especially during a camping trip. However, if you appreciate cooking with spices, you might want to bring it along with you. It goes well with beef and chicken. You can also use turmeric to spice up your freshly caught fish as well as giving your rice a pop of color. Just like cinnamon, it also has some health benefits. It helps with digestion and serves as an excellent anti-inflammatory.
Curry powder is a blend of many Indian spices, making it very rich with flavor. You can use it to prepare vegetable stews as well as meats. Since curry powder is a combination of many spices, you can ditch other spices and still achieve a bold flavor.
Since people season their food differently, you might need to experiment prior to the camping trip. That way, you will know what combination works for you and who you will be going with. Prepare a packing list so that you don’t forget the spices. Remember to pack your spices in waterproof containers.
See our varieties of spices here.
In Indian culture, it is a rare occurrence not to use garam masala when preparing dishes. It can be used with other seasonings or just alone. In the Northern part of India this mixture of seasonings is usually powdery. In contrast, in the Southern India it is made into a paste using water, coconut milk, or vinegar.
The seasoning comes from a blend of ground spices prevalent in Indian cooking, from soups to lentil dishes. The terms garam and masala means “hot” and “spices” respectively. So the name of this Indian blend of spices translates loosely to “warming spices.” As the translation suggests, this blend of spices serves the purpose of heating or warming the body and boosting the rate of metabolism.
Varieties of the Ingredients in the Spice
Before cooking with this spice, understand that its recipe tends to vary. The ingredients used for blending differ from one region to another because of individual taste and preference of a chef.
In the northern Indian region this ground spices blend usually only employs the use of black pepper as the hot element and mostly puts more effort into having sweet, aromatic spices. Cook with this northern blend if you want the spicing to be more mild.
In Southern India, the spice is much hotter because they use red chilies as part of the ingredients.
Cooking with this spice has been around for generations and its origin is thought to be in Northern India. Northern India has colder seasons so it is understandable why the use of warming spices is more widespread there. At present, the use of the seasonings blend is spread throughout India.
What is used to make the blend of garam masala?
Often the ground spices mixture is comprised of:
• Black pepper
Other ingredients that may also be used for the different varieties or recipes of the seasoning blend include dried red chilies, fenugreek, turmeric, tamarind, mustard seeds, etc.
To sum it up
When a person uses garam masala, it helps enhance the flavors of dishes and reduces the amount of other seasonings used. Adding it to your vegetables, chicken, rice, baked potatoes, even as simple as in your mayonnaise to liven up a sandwich can do wonders for you. The different ingredients used in the spice come with different health benefits including improving digestion and metabolism and increasing body temperature. Use this spice blend today to realize the many benefits.
Here is a link to buy our blend.
Cooling Spices for Summer
Summer heat can cause skin irritation, rashes, acne, sweating and body odor, and other risks such as heat stroke. Keeping the body cool during the summer months is critical. A form of Ayurveda,which is a type of ancient Indian medicine, involves using spices to prompt cooling of the body. As far as antioxidants and bioactive compounds are concerned, spices are among the most potent available. The 5,000-year-old Ayurveda food philosophy recommends using any combination of spics when outside temperatures soar to their hottest. These cooling herbs and spices can regulate body heat and help a person feel comfortable and fresh all summer long. Here is a list of the best ones for summer.
1. Organic Mint
Mint relieves bad breath but the perennial herb also works wonderfully in summer drinks such as lemonade and on top of a fresh salad. Growing mint is easy and a great hobby for families as well.
2. Organic Fennel Seed
Fennel seed is available in almost any supermarket. It is a spice that stimulates intestinal juices, in turn promoting proper digestion. The seed ranks high on the list of cooling spices used in ancient Indian medicine that should be a part of your diet. Fennel seed works wonderfully in a myriad of dishes.
Fresh cilantro is popular in Mexico and Thailand, where it’s been used for thousands of years for its wonderful flavor and health benefits. Use cilantro in more dishes during the summer since it ranks high as one of the best cooling herbs and spices recommended by Ayurveda medicine.
Ayurveda medicine uses coriander often as a cooling spice. It’s commonly used in Europe, North Africa, India, and China. It’s filled with health-promoting properties. Actually the seed of the cilantro plant, coriander adds flavor to almost any vegetable or meat in addition to its health benefits.
Cardamom is excellent for digestive purposes. It also helps stabilize blood sugar levels. Many people add it to their tea or almond milk, as well as in yogurt.
Cumin and cumin seeds should be added in small amounts to dishes. It’s flavorful and makes a wonderful detox. It helps ease gas and bloating. Use cumin and cumin seeds in grain dishes and vegetables.
Take our advice and get some of these here to help stay cool this summer.
What can I use Chimichurri for?
Chimichurri sauce may be unfamiliar to many, particularly those who are not familiar with South American cuisine. So what is Chimichurri? Chimichurri is an uncooked South American green sauce prepared using red wine vinegar, olive oil, fresh herbs, garlic, oregano, parsley, and other spices.
The sauce originated in the rural areas of Argentina and Uruguay. This sauce comes in both red and green versions. This uncooked and vibrant sauce, also known as Argentinian pesto, can be used in many ways including;
• As a dipping spice
• A marinade
• A condiment to drizzle over vegetables, meat, and more.
Ways to use Chimichurri Sauce
In most cases, this Argentinian pesto is served with steak. However, there should be no limits when using it. The sauce is also great on vegetables for vegetarians, it also works great on grilled chicken and fish.
Another great way to use chimichurri is by using it as a dip for toasted crusty bread. When it comes to this sauce, it is almost guaranteed that once you start using it, you will always find yourself looking for more ways to liven up your meal with it. To enjoy chimichurri for long period of time, keep a batch of the sauce in the fridge and sprinkle it on your meals throughout the week.
Other ideas on how to use Chimichurri
• You can brush the sauce on your kebabs after grilling them.
• When serving tacos, you can dab a spoonful of the pesto on them.
• Chimichurri can also be used as a substitute for mustard on hamburgers and hotdogs.
• It can be added to roasted potatoes.
• The sauce can be used as a tangy and light dressing for a vegetable pasta salad.
• When preparing a vegetable pizza, you can drizzle over after baking to add a zesty touch.
• You can substitute mayonnaise or use mix them both for a sandwich spread.
• You can sprinkle the sauce over a sunny side up egg to serve with toast.
How to store the South American sauce
Although chimichurri is best when prepared fresh, it can also be refrigerated for several days. However, the herbs wilt fast becoming less vibrant. Additionally, you can freeze the pesto in an ice cube tray but the herbs will be somewhat less vibrant.
Cooking with Ancho Peppers
A popular trend in cooking is to eat Mexican, Tex Mex, and southwestern cuisine with as much heat as the mouth can tolerate. Using peppers when preparing certain foods adds spice and flavor to your favorite meals. There are many varieties of peppers, and one that is normally used is the ancho pepper. Many may ask what are ancho peppers. These are the dried version of the poblano peppers that stay on the vines until they are ripened, turned red, harvested, and dried. They have a smoky quality, and sweet heat. Knowing how to use ancho chile, which is the ancho pepper ground up, is very important so as not to have foods too spicy. Cooking with ancho peppers adds a smokey, spicy flavor to any dish.
How to use ancho chile
When cooking with ancho peppers, it is essential to understand that although they have a moderately mild heat they still have a kick. On the Scoville Heat Units, the ancho peppers measure between 1,000 and 2,000 compared to a bell pepper which measures 0 and the jalapeño which measures 5,00. You know where you stand with the ancho pepper, and how much to use. The ancho peppers are normally re-hydrated before using. Place them in hot water for up to 30 minutes, and they are ready to use. Seed and stem them first, then they are ready to season sauces, stews, soups, salsa, and any food that you want to add some spice to. Learning how to use ancho chile is as easy as adding any other spices to your food when you want a mild to moderate heat content.
Other uses for ancho peppers
When someone asks what are ancho peppers, a good answer would be that they are the seasonings used for chili powder that gives chili that awesome flavor. The peppers are ground while they are still dried to make the chili powder, and can be used in many other recipes besides chili. the southwest region of the United States are not the only people who enjoy the spicy foods often prepared in Mexican cuisine. The ancho peppers have made their way into the flavoring of foods that are often used in many other cultures.
Here is a link to our ancho chile peppers.
See more of our spices here.
What Makes Saffron so special?
The way we value anything is largely dependent on the effort we put into getting it. This is especially true of saffron of which is asked why so special. Why is it “one of the most precious spices in the world”? Its highly labor-intensive production is one factor that makes it a most expensive spice.
What is saffron?
It comes from the saffron crocus flower. There are three stigmas in the center of each flower. These must be manually taken out, placed on a sieve to dry over a heat source to enhance the flavor. According to one source, it can take more than 75,000 flowers harvested by hand to make one pound of it. With so much labor going into the production of saffron it must be considered special.
The many uses and health benefits derived from the use of saffron also makes it a special spice. Research suggests that this spice is:
• an aphrodisiac, among the health benefits associated with its use.
• It also offers protection against cancer. Crocin, which it contains has been found to prevent the formation of malignant cells and trigger cell death for different types of human cancer.
• While not affecting normal body cells, it also stimulates immune cells that help destroy cancer cells.
Studies have also shown that crocin is useful for age-related mental problems and is used in treating memory loss, Parkinson’s disease, and inflammation. Saffron is also useful as a stimulant. A pinch in a tablespoon of milk is useful to promote hormone production in underdeveloped girls. As an aphrodisiac, it can be used for low libido to be taken at bedtime. Mixed in licorice and milk, saffron also is an effective topical application to promote hair growth. It is also an effective treatment for cold and fever that gives quick relief.
There are other ways in which this spice is used including it as food additives. It is also a culinary treasure that is used in combination with other condiments, to marinate fish and add color and a rich aroma to cakes and other foods and drinks.
The labor that goes into producing what is saffron and the many ways in which it is useful, makes it an incredibly special spice.
Come see our saffron here.