Posted by: Food Lover | June 12, 2013

Spice Up Your Cooking

No one knows more about blooming spices than Indian culture.  An Indian Chef once told me, “One cannot be a master Chef of our cuisine until he has become fearless with spices.”  Not only do they know how to combine spices, they know how to intensify the flavour, so that it blossoms on your taste buds.

– Don’t use a wooden spoon which can absorb flavours and odours. Plastic or metal.
– Get a mortar and pestal. Cracking and grinding spices releases their flavour. The same is actually true for coffee beans – a conical burr grinder which crushes the beans instead of cutting them with a sharp blade, releases the oils from inside the bean, making it more aromatic and more flavourful.
-Apply heat: Either toast the spices or heat up with oil.

A great article by: Floyd Cardoz


How to bloom whole spices:  Oil the bottom of a pan and place over medium heat.  You want the oil to be hot, bt you don’t want to see any smoke.  Throw in the whole spices and cook until very fragrant and little bubbles form around the spices. Don’t let them brown.

How to bloom ground spices: First, you need to mix them with a little of the liquid from your recipe—vinegar, water, stock, wine, whatever—to make a thick paste. The moisture in the spice paste helps keep the ground spices from burning when you put the paste in the hot oil. Then you cook the paste until all the liquid evaporates. You can tell it’s time to stop cooking when the oil starts to separate from the spices.

The article offers much more, so check it out!

On Blooming:

In another article food geek points out:

The first thing to note about spices is most of the flavor is carried by essential oils. Because the flavor compounds are tied to the oils, it means that they will not easily dissolve in water or water-based solutions. Although there are ways around this, dumping a bunch of spices into a stew and hoping everything distributes evenly and well is not a guaranteed method of success.

The Maillard reactions are the complex browning reactions that happen to food at temperatures below that of caramelization. Sugar caramelizes at a temperature above the smoke point of most cooking oils, and most food burns if kept at that temperature for too long. Still, the food does turn brown, and it is tasty, and the culprits in these instances are the Maillard reactions.

What blooming does is take advantage of the oil nature of the spice and the potential for flavor-changing maillard reactions without destroying too much of the flavor. The idea is to put the spices into an oil, heat to somewhere just below the smoke point of the oil, and cook for just a little while. Spices will brown, and more importantly, the essential oils will emerge from the spices and infuse the rest of the oil.

What can you do with this spicy oil? You can use it as a last-minute flavor addition, especially for long-cooking dishes such as a stew or anything in a slow-cooker. Any sauce that has an oil component could be modified with this oil. This goes from a reduction sauce or barbeque sauce to, say, mayonnaise.

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