The Silk Road Spice Chest is the perfect Chest for those looking to explore Asian cuisine deeper. A combination of Indian and Chinese spices this chest gives anyone the ability to make incredible dishes from the orient.
Allspice “Warm and Peppery”
It is a common misconception that allspice is just a blend of lots of different spices but this couldn’t be further from the truth, it is in fact a berry. Allspice is a key ingredient in Caribbean cuisine and something you’ll find used a lot in Jerk seasoning. It’s warm and sweet pungency make it a perfect addition to stew’s, broth’s, nut roasts and stuffing’s. It tends to be used a lot around Christmas time for its warming notes.
Cardamom “Eucalyptus and Cirtusy”
Cardamom has an incredibly unique flavour and characteristic to it. It is pungent and warm, with distinct undertones of eucalyptus and camphor as well as a hint of lemon flavouring. With a taste that is both peppery and citrusy, whilst offering a little background warmth. Cardamom partners well with meat and poultry which is why it is so widely used in curries but can also be used in sweet dishes. I remember making cardamom and lemon cookies when I was very young and enjoying them tremendously!
Cloves, “Pungent and Christmassy”
Cloves are very strong and a core ingredient in Asian cooking. Use one or two to enhance clear stocks and broths. Be careful when using them though, putting in too many cloves will literally anaesthetise your palette!
Fenugreek “Mapley and Sweet”
Fenugreek has been used throughout history by many different cultures for so many different uses, they were even found in Tutankhamen’s tomb! The flavour of Fenugreek is widely described as being sweet and nutty with strong notes of maple. We pan roast our Fenugreek before grinding it as roasting the seed prevents any potential bitter notes that may have occurred if used incorrectly. When used correctly it can add a complex sweetness to spice mixes and provide a background note that makes other flavours seem more full. This ability to ‘round out’ other spices is what makes it so unique in the spice world and is why so many curries call for the use of Fenugreek.
Mustard Seeds “Hot and Nutty”
There are hundreds of different varieties of Mustard Seeds across the globe. We use brown Mustard seeds for their balanced flavour profile. The darker a mustard seed, the hotter it tends to be. Whilst dark mustard seeds are considered extremely hot on their own, this heat is funnily enough neutralised by heat. When fried they release a slightly sweet and nutty flavour with a slight bit of heat. Typically, you’ll find in many Indian curries, Mustard Seeds are added to hot oil at the start to neutralise them and impart their flavours to the oil. You’ll know when you can add other spices at the start of cooking a curry because they will pop (although note that not all curries start with Mustard Seeds as curries are incredibly regional dishes so each one uses a different spice profile and may not use them!
Nutmeg “Woody and Lemony”
A small grate of Nutmeg will go a long way. Nutmeg makes a really good pairing into cheese sauces (such as a bechamel) or milky desserts. It can also add a great flavour to homemade burgers and is an essential for curries.
Star Anise “Aniseedy and Sweet”
Star Anise has been used in Chinese Cuisine for centuries. The spice has a similar flavour profile to Fennel Seeds and Anise, however it is by far the most pungent out of the three, so use in recipes sparingly as it has potential to lend a bitter after taste to dishes if too much is added. It can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes and accompanies spices such as cinnamon and cloves very well. In savoury dishes add to Asian style stews such as Pho, curries, sauces and soups. It combines very well with poultry such as duck and chicken, being one of the 5 ingredients found in Five Spice. The spice also does wonders when making mulled wine!
Szechuan Peppercorns “Pine and Citrusy”
Szechuan pepper is aromatic with flavour notes of pine and lavender along with a slight citrus sweetness. Beyond its unique flavour, what makes Szechuan pepper famous is the numbing sensation that it causes. This is a different from the heat of chilli peppers and of black peppercorns, and in Szechuan type dishes chef’s often use it to neutralise the heat of chilli!
Szechuan pepper is an especially popular addition to dishes featuring duck and chicken, some examples of famous Chinese dishes you’ll find these in include Kung Pao chicken and Bang-Bang chicken.
Webley’s Freshly Ground Garam Masala “Warm and Fragrant”
A core spice blend in Indian curries and cuisine in general, Garam Masala adds more of a warm feel as opposed to hot. It is a mix of Coriander Seeds, Cumin Seeds, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Cloves, Black Pepper and Nutmeg. This blend of spices complement each other extremely well, playing off one another to create a warm blend with a subtle sweetness. A touch of Garam Masala should be added at the end of the dish to preserve the amazing robust and aromatic flavours of the blend.
Webley’s Freshly Ground Five Spice “Fresh and Tangy”
Five spice is a key component in Chinese cuisine and doesn’t see as much use as it deserves in kitchens! The balance of Star Anise, Cloves, Cinnamon, Sichuan Peppercorns and Fennel Seeds makes it a perfect blend to cut through fatty meats such as duck or pork. A trick I love is rubbing a chicken with it before roasting if you are looking for something different to a traditional Sunday roast.