Here at Abdul’s we pride ourselves on using fresh ingredients for all our dishes, from the meats we use right through to the vegetables and our authentic blend of spices. That’s what makes our curries so delicious.
This year is the 16th National Curry Week and to celebrate, Abdul has created a list of his 16 must have spices and the blends that are essential when it comes to making the perfect dish.
Coriander Seeds –Dry seeds with a light brown or golden colour that have a nice earthy, nutty flavour. Often ground into a powder to flavour food, buy them fresh as they lose the flavour fairly quickly when stored.
Cumin Seeds – Known for its warm earthy aroma, it is used raw or cooked in hot oil to release its aroma. The roasted seeds give off a smoky flavour when ground but can also be ground raw.
Fennel Seeds – Very similar to Cumin Seeds, but they are actually greener and wider. Can be dry roasted and used with tiny sugar candies to make mouth fresheners after meals. Fennel is known for its digestive qualities.
Cardamom pods – Usually ground to a powder it is used in lots of Indian cooking whether with vegetables, meat, rice or even desserts. Cardamom is also an important part of Garam Masala.
Mustard Seeds – There are many types of mustard seeds out there but the three most commonly used in curries are black mustard seeds which have the most pungent taste, followed by the yellow mustard seeds and the least pungent being white mustard. The seeds are usually used to season food by adding them to hot oil.
Red Dry Chilli’s – These dried peppers may be ground up to make Red Chilli Powder.
Saffron – This looks like little orange threads and adds a beautiful and unique flavour to dishes, can also be used in gravies and desserts.
Turmeric – Gives food a yellowish colour and is also known for its antiseptic qualities.
Cinnamon – Comes in two forms, stick or powder and is used mostly for savoury dishes. A few bits of the broken stick like spice can be added to oil as it heats up; this way the oil is flavoured. Sometimes it is dry roasted in a skillet before cooking, which intensifies the aroma.
Cloves – Extensively used in Indian cooking, the flavour it imparts to food is strong and warm. Clove is mostly used to flavour spicy food where the whole clove is cooked in oil or ghee and also a part of Garam Masala.
Nigella – Also referred to as Onion Seeds. They are mostly used in breads like naans and sometimes to season stir fries and curries.
Nutmeg – These are seeds of a fruit and mainly used in ground form.
Salt – Although this is not a spice it is a major ingredient for cooking with, it brings out flavour and is best used in rock form and ground.
Ginger – Again, not a spice but an excellent aromatic root vegetable that adds a subtle kick to the flavour of a curry.
Garlic – Another ingredient away from spices but a strong flavoursome bulb with the power to add a lasting tang to any dish.
Garam Masala – A blend of spices that is an integral part of Indian cuisine. The mix contains Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Black Cardamom, Cumin, Cloves, and Mace.
All of these spices and ingredients are easy to come across and if used correctly can make your dish extra delicious. Please do let us know what you try and if you have any further suggestions to add to Abdul’s spice cupboard!
The Abdul’s Team