Pickles and Chutneys – Mint Chutney, Mango Chutney, Guava Chutney, Lemon Chutney, Tomato Chutney

PICKLES AND CHUTNEYS……….PART 1

No Indian meal is complete without pickles and chutneys. These are very good appetizers which, apart from adding taste to the food, stimulate the digestive system. They contain varying amounts of nutrients depending on the raw material used as a base, such as fresh tomatoes, cucumbers or onions. Fresh and natural ingredients in preparation of pickles and chutneys preserve the taste and aroma for long and need to avoid the usage of preservatives. The real aroma/fragrance and taste of freshly and carefully made/packed chutneys are as good as home made.

Ingredients:

2 handfuls of fresh mint leaves

1 medium onion

2 or 3 green chillies

Salt to taste

2 teaspoons dry pomegranate seeds

Method:

Remove the stems and wash the leaves. Squeeze out the water. Grind mint leaves with all the above ingredients finely. Serve with fried dishes. Continue reading

Pepper – The King of Spices, Black Pepper, White Pepper, Green Peppercorns

PEPPER

The king of spices, this spice is one of the oldest and the most popular flavourings in the world, used both in cooking and as a condiment. It was the search for the source of pepper more than any other spice that led early sailors eastward. At one time, peppercorns were more valuable than gold. By the Middle Ages, pepper was considered as a desirable currency: dowries, taxes, rents and even ransoms were frequently paid in peppercorns. This gave rise to the rather quaint term peppercorn rent, which indicated payment in full. Today, the term means a nominal sum.

The name pepper comes from the Sanskrit word pippali, meaning berry. The plant, Piper nigrum, is native to Java and India, but grows in any tropical or sub-tropical area, and is cultivated throughout the Far East, Africa, the South Sea Islands and Brazil. The term pepper is also used loosely to describe a number of unrelated spices, including cayenne. Continue reading

Spices to Cook Indian Dishes, Chinese, Thai Food, Mexican Food & European Dishes

Spices in the kitchen…….

Throughout the world, the cooking of every country is distinguished by the way in which spices are used to give it a unique character. With so many spices now readily available, cooking can be a great adventure that will transport you to any part of the world that takes your fancy.

Imagine the smoky scent of grilled potatoes infused with cumin and garlic or the fragrance of coriander and garlic from a gently simmering curry. Even before you taste the food the evocative aroma of spices stimulates the appetite and heightens the anticipation of what is to come. Indian cooking, though not necessarily hot, is distinctively spicy and is characterized by the use of a greater range of dried spices than any other cuisine in the world. Up to 15 spices may be blended to flavour one dish. India is a vast country and the style of cooking varies enormously from region to region, but the spices most often used include coriander, cumin, turmeric, black pepper, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, cardamom, cloves, garlic and ginger. Chillies are valued for both fire and flavour, some Indian dishes extremely hot, but in others spices are used with rare subtlety. Continue reading

Chilli – A Leading Spice of India

CHILLIES….

Chilli is the most popular spice and throughout history, wherever it was used it transformed the previously bland cuisine. Latin American, Asian, African, Caribbean and certain regional Oriental cuisines make extensive use of this spice. The name chilli is believed to be derived from an ancient Indian word txile. Chillies are native to Mexico. Evidence of chilli peppers is known from burial sites in pre-Colombian sites in Peru.

Chilli or red pepper is a leading spice of India. Among the spices consumed per head in India, dried chilli contributes the major share. Chilli is said to be a native of South America and its cultivation was known to the people of Peru since prehistoric times. The introduction of chillies into India is said to be due to the Portuguese. Red pepper or chillies are said to be cultivated mainly in the tropical and the sub-tropical countries, notably Africa, India, Japan, Mexico, the USA etc. Andhra Pradesh is the leading state in area and production. Karnataka is second in area and Maharashtra is second in production and the third leading state in area. The other states growing chillies commercially are Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar etc. however, chillies are grown practically all over India. Continue reading