Spicy Tips From The Spice Sultan
Most people don’t know that on Hochanda, we also have a wide variety of Kitchen Crafts, from cookware and kits to delicious treats… there’s a little bit of something for everyone! With that in mind, we’ve teamed up with The Spice Sultan on a fantastic list of top tips for cooking with their spices. Anyone fancy a curry?
The Spice Sultan was launched by David Jessup. The story began when David was a teenager. He began working on his mothers Farmers Market stall on weekends helping to sell her homemade curry sauces. He was inspired to learn more about spice-based cooking and eventually started working as a chef in cafes and restaurants. This led him to a job at Bristol’s Thali Café – a quirky Indian restaurant famous for serving Indian street food in the festival fields including Glastonbury! After learning more about cooking with spices, David started creating his own blends at home and selling them at local markets and food festivals. He discovered that although people were interested in the spice blends, they weren’t quite sure how to cook with them. This is when he had the brainwave to package them with a recipe card so that people had the confidence to cook. The products are now packaged as meal kits giving people the opportunity to cook and discover authentic recipes from around the world, and all from the comfort of their home.
For the very best flavour, cook with freshly ground spices (unless using our packets of course, which are freshly ground and sealed into sachets to preserve fragrance). You simply can’t beat cooking with freshly ground spices and cumin is a prime example to demonstrate this. Try grinding up some cumin seeds and smell the difference between the freshly ground and bought ground cumin in a jar! There’s no comparison.
When frying spices, make a paste with water first. This will stop the spices burning (avoiding a bitter taste). It also gives the spices time to cook slowly giving them time to release their natural oils. You will notice specs of natural oils at the top of the spice paste after a couple of minutes of frying and that’s when you know they have released their natural oils and you’re good to move on to the next stage of the cooking process.
Onions are the base of all good food! Nearly all recipes that involve cooking with spices also incorporate cooking with onions. When using onions, cook them very slowly on a low heat. They need at least 10 minutes to start to caramelise and release natural sweetness. If they start to colour too quickly, simply reduce the heat and add a splash of water to cool the pan.
Many recipes tell you to chop garlic, but I much prefer cooking with crushed garlic as it means an even distribution of flavour. If you don’t have a pestle and mortar, carefully use the edge of a large cooking knife and mash up with a little salt to stop the knife slipping.
Have you ever heard the saying “curry tastes better the next day?”….well it’s true! Spices and meat/vegetables take time to get to know each other, consider making your spicy dish in advance and store refrigerated until the next day, being sure to heat through thoroughly before serving. Don’t forget, you can always cook and freeze if you want to save a portion for another day.
If you’re going to cook with meat, use the best quality from your local butcher. Not only will you be supporting a local business, you will also get to cook with a higher quality ingredient which equals better flavour! This is even more true when cooking a slow cooked dish such as our Malysian Rendang Curry which involves slowly simmering cubes of beef for 2 1/2 hours until meltingly tender. The beef tenderises a lot more if it has been aged (not like the bright red beef you see in supermarket packets!).
Cook along to music! Cooking should be fun and mindful, so why not get your favourite tunes on, smile, and get into the zone!