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Old 12-20-2013, 08:20 PM   #1
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Help with using spices

Hi,

I have been cooking some indian curries and trying to learn how to fry spices and bring out their flavours. Flavours always seem quite distant even though I use fresh spices. They are vegetarian curries. I don't know if I am undercooking them, overcooking them, not using a high enough temperature, but I am pretty sure I am being generous with the amounts I use. Any ideas why the flavours aren't coming through?

I've used, cumin, ginger, garlic, chilli and mustard seeds whole and then tumeric, coriander, garam masala, cumin and hing powdered.

Thanks!

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Old 12-20-2013, 08:38 PM   #2
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Welcome to DC.

Simple suggestion would be to increase the quantities of spices.
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Old 12-20-2013, 08:44 PM   #3
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I feel like I am doing that as I have been using more than the recipe suggests so I must not be using them right somehow
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Old 12-20-2013, 08:49 PM   #4
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Welcome to DC

Tell us about your process for making these curries. We may be better able to help you if we have the details.
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Old 12-20-2013, 09:05 PM   #5
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Thanks! Okay I will go through Saag aloo.

I heat the oil in a wok then add mustard seeds until they pop and then cumin seeds. After I add onions then garlic and ginger and fry until onions are soft. Add in hing, cumin powder and fry 2 mins. Add par-boiled potatoes and then add coriander powder, tumeric and garam masala. This is where i'm not sure if I should simmer for a long time or keep the heat high or what, I normally simmer for like 15 mins, add spinach then fry until it falls into mix then season with salt and pepper.

I used 1tsp of all the spices except only half for tumeric and 1 tbsp of garam masala.

Two medium potatoes. I use a lot of oil because I think it is meant to be an oily dish.

I use sunflower oil. I keep it on a medium high heat (my electric hob goes up to 12, I keep it 8-9 and I only reduce to a simmer of about 3-4 when potatoes are in)

Thanks!
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Old 12-20-2013, 10:18 PM   #6
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My Indian neighbor wrote up a recipe for me when I asked. I made the recipe but it was no where near as good as theirs. Tried again with more spices. No dice. Finally she came over to watch me make the recipe. Turns out she misjudged the quantities. I ended up using nine times as much as her original estimates and the dish was excellent. This is why I suggest increasing the quantities.
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Old 12-21-2013, 05:16 AM   #7
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hi ryan!!first thing is.don't use ground spices!!you don't know how old they are,so they may have lost their "punch" & they won't have been roasted prior to grinding.if you do use ground spices,fry them ALL along with the onions,garlic & ginger etc to cook out the "rawness".i always roast my whole spices in a dry/clean frying pan,over a high heat until i see "whiffs" of smoke & can smell the spices cooking.then grind in a mortar & pestle.here's some pics & a recipe for pork rib tikka.just use veg & ahem,leave out the pork of course!
Harry's pork rib tikka
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Old 12-30-2013, 10:45 PM   #8
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bring out the flavor.

let me start by saying that you should should keep your spice in a cool dark place to preserve flavor, spice that have a high oil content like cumin seeds and peppercorn should be kept in the freezer to prolong freshness. as for the situation that your having with the spices I would recommend you toast them in a dry skillet on low heat until they become fragrant do not let them burn because then they will become bitter after they've toasted use them while they're still warm this may solve your problems to the dull flavor
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Old 12-30-2013, 11:08 PM   #9
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I think Harry's right. Use fresh spices, and if you have to grind them, use a mortar and pestle. Increase the amount if that doesn't work.

Lakisha
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Old 12-31-2013, 09:46 AM   #10
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Welcome to DC! I use fresh spices, roast them, and then grind them and then make the dish. I'd add more spices. The amount you indicated doesn't sound like enough IMO.
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