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Old 08-20-2006, 11:40 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Queequeg
The only thing that bothers me with lot of curry recipes I see on TV and read in books in the excess of ingrediants. Quite often (especially in indian curries) I see 6 or so different spices and a spice mix which may contain at least two of the individual spices previously included. I don't understand this approach.... It is very tempting with curry to feel the need to add 30+ flavours which can just end up leading to a generic curry flavour which to me is half the fun of cooking curries out the window.
Amen! I think your comments are applicable to many dishes, including things like chili and spaghetti sauces, especially when prepared by inexperienced cooks. It takes a while for many of us to come to the realization that simple is often better.

When I was in college, my roommates and I ate a lot of spaghetti. At first we used those packaged spaghetti sauce mixes (bottled sauce wasn't commonly available, and it was expensive back in the day), but then we began adding stuff, and pretty soon discovered it was cheaper to buy our own ingredients. We started with onion, garlic powder, oregano, and basil, but kept adding more things each time we made it. I think we ended up with about 30 ingredients, including chili powder, Worcestershire, Tabasco, mustard, and 10 or 20 spices. Very Italian, no?

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Old 08-22-2006, 03:11 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by cliveb
However, there are recipes with many spices, added at different stages of the cooking in order to provide specific taste experiences. Some dishes, for example, may have whole spices added at the beginning in order to flavour the oil. Others may have spices added at the end ( Garam Masala is a good example) to give an aromatic perfume to the final dish.
This is so obvious now you have explained it, many thanks. I shall have to go back and look at some of those recipes I previously dismissed

I still think that many curry recipes are over complicated though and as FryBoy righty points out this does exist in many other forms of cooking to. I like to try and keep a recipe tight. An ingrediant has to justify it's self.

I have a friend who's cooking is a little suseptable to lenghy ingrediant lists. For example a month or so ago he cooked a Tangine and very nice to it was, only if a little confused IMO. The spice list included Paprika, corriander seed, cumin, cinnamon, Tumeric and fresh corriander. looking at it now the list dosn't seem that extensive but the dish also included some other strong flavours including honey, orange juice and stock. I dare say that dispite his over enthusiam to include many ingrediants he is more of a experimental cook than myself and so probably learns more in the process.

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Old 08-22-2006, 03:19 PM   #33
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Queequeg - just like many Indian dishes, African tagines also use a number of herbs & spices to develop their distinctive flavors. While it might look like a lot, the resulting dish is definitely worth the effort.
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Old 08-23-2006, 05:00 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by BreezyCooking
Queequeg - just like many Indian dishes, African tagines also use a number of herbs & spices to develop their distinctive flavors. While it might look like a lot, the resulting dish is definitely worth the effort.
And you have to be careful of over-condimenting, i.e. using too much of each spice. Cinnamon, for example, is delicious in small quantities but overpowering if you use it in excess. Sometimes I wonder when I see a recipe that says "1/8th tsp ground cloves", but the idea is to use the spices t5o complement the main ingredients, not to mask them.

That's where you're spot on, Queequeg - make every ingredient count in your recipe!

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