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Whip up tastier meals with these homemade spice blends

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Planning to fill up your spice rack with some blends? Don’t run down to the supermarket just yet. Spice mixes can be easily made at home with a spice grinder, and you can customise the quantity of spices you need. If you don’t have a specialised spice grinder, blenders like the Electrolux EBR2601 can double up as one with its detachable mill grinder accessory, which is designed to grind dry foods just as well as a specialised appliance.

The EBR2601 blender comes with a mill grinder accessory that makes it ideal for grinding dry food items like spices.

Many spice blends can also be used as salt substitutes, contributing to a more flavourful meal. Here’s a table of some common spice blends that you can whip up at home:

 

Spice Blend Ingredients
BBQ Spice Rub Brown sugar, paprika, black pepper, salt, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne
Cajun Spice Mix Salt, garlic powder, paprika, ground black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper, dried oregano, dried thyme, red pepper flakes
Chat Masala Ground asafoetida, mint, ginger, ajowan, cayenne, black salt, mango powder, cumin, dried pomegranate seeds
Chili Powder Dried red chilies, garlic, onion, cumin, oregano, allspice, salt and other spices like paprika to suit your taste.
Curry Powder Dried red chilies, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, black peppercorns, fenugreek seeds, ground ginger, ground turmeric
Five Spice Powder Black peppercorns, star anise, fennel seeds, cinnamon sticks, cloves
Herb Salt Garlic, salt, sage, rosemary, thyme, savory
Italian Herb Seasoning Dried basil, dried marjoram, dried oregano, dried sage

Photo by Piyachok Thawornmat
Mixing your own spices at home can be an easy and pleasurable experience with the right grinding appliance.

But throwing it all into the blender and turning it on isn’t the end of the story, especially if you’ve used fresh herbs in the mix. Here are some general tips for making and storing spice blends:

 

–        Unless you’re cooking a huge meal or intending to give your spice blend away as a gift, don’t make huge batches. Spices can lose their flavour over time, so make enough for use within one month only.

 

–        Keep your spices in a tightly-sealed container and in a cool, dark place to preserve their flavour. Do not store near sources of heat like the cooking hob or oven.

 

–        Spices containing chili powder, red pepper, paprika and cayenne will retain their potency longer if you refrigerate them.

 

–        Before grinding them, you can toast whole spices over high heat in a dry, heavy skillet. The heat helps to release more flavour from the spices. A cooktop like the Maxiflame cooking hob can generate a high heat comparable to that in professional restaurants, and can be used to quickly toast your spices before grinding. Using whole spices to grind up your spice mixes ensures their flavours are more potent.

 

–      Dried whole herbs and spices should be replaced yearly, while ground or powdered ones should be replaced every six months for maximum flavour. Label your bottles with the date of manufacture so you can keep track of their shelf life.

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