Spices are what make our food preparations better tasting – the mixtures and results are the science of culinary art. There are so many flavors, hot, sweet, salty and more. The mixtures and concoctions of spice blends are endless.
Wikipedia has a great description of spices:
A spice is a dried seed, fruit,root, bark, leaf, or vegetative substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as a food additive for the purpose of flavour, colour, or as a preservative that kills harmful bacteria or prevents their growth.
Many of these substances are also used for other purposes, such as medicine, religious rituals, cosmetics, perfumery or eating as vegetables. For example, turmeric is also used as a preservative; liquorice as a medicine; garlic as a vegetable. In some cases they are referred to by different terms.
In the kitchen, spices are distinguished from herbs, which are leafy, green plant parts used for flavouring purposes. Herbs, such as basil or oregano, may be used fresh, and are commonly chopped into smaller pieces. Spices, however, are dried and often ground or grated into a powder. Small seeds, such as fennel and mustard seeds, are used both whole and in powder form.
For this dinner I made Sri Lankan Beef Curry (recipe below). The blends of the spices coriander, cumin, fennel,tumeric, black pepper and salt made for a savory beef with a nice texture and heat added with the coconut milk and minced jalapeno’s. This is one very tasty dish that I highly recommend everyone try making at least once.
Recipe from myrecipes.com
8 SERVINGS (SERVING SIZE: ABOUT 2/3 CUP BEEF MIXTURE AND 3/4 CUP RICE)
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground fennel
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 1/2 pounds boneless sirloin steak, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
- Cooking spray
- 3 cups chopped onion (about 2 medium)
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 red jalapeño peppers, minced
- 3 cups light coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 (1 x 3-inch) lemon rind strips
- 6 cups hot cooked basmati rice
Cook coriander, cumin, fennel, and turmeric in a small saucepan over medium-low heat 7 minutes or until toasted, stirring occasionally.
Combine toasted spices, black pepper, salt, and beef in a large bowl. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 1 hour.
Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion, ginger, garlic, and jalapeños; sauté 3 minutes or until onions are tender. Remove onion mixture from pan. Recoat the pan with cooking spray. Add half of beef; cook 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove beef from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining beef. Return onion mixture and beef to pan; stir in milk, vinegar, and rind, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 hours or until beef is very tender. Discard rind. Serve over rice.