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Author Topic: Mix[ed] powder  (Read 399 times)

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Online livo

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Re: Mix[ed] powder
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2019, 06:07 AM »
SS, I have no doubt that different "curry powder" will definitely give different results, both separately and within a mixed powder.  The difference between a Hot and a Mild for starters. I can make a sausage curry with Clive of India CP and my kids (young adults now) will devour it.  If I use a different powder the noses go up. Yet I don't use Clive in my mix powders.  I instead use traditional Indian Mild Madras Curry Powders which appears to be what is usually recommended.  I did see one CT video where he used a tin of Hot for a dish and it stuck with me.

What I am saying is that the "curry powder" used as an ingredient in a mixed powder is not as significant an issue as I first thought. In my earliest days of trying to replicate a mixed powder I was literally going spare over it.  I can't buy Rajah, TRS or East End so I've had to make do with local supply and it has worked out pretty well as far as I'm concerned.  I pretty quickly realised that it aint that big a deal.

I love to experiment with spice powders and sometimes I truly wish I kept better notes. Inevitably the one you want to replicate is lost in lackadaisical endeavour.  :(

My test of a nice "curry powder" is to make a curried egg sandwich on fresh white bread.  Medium boiled eggs (half set yolks) mashed up with nothing other than a bit of CP.  2 large eggs to one scraped level tsp of CP for 1 sandwich.  No mayonnaise.  Just egg and Curry Powder.  If this is good the CP is good. Optional is some shredded lettuce.
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Online Peripatetic Phil

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Re: Mix[ed] powder
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2019, 09:04 AM »
hy add a substance over which you have no control when you could achieve the same effect but more consistently by adding the individual spices that make up the curry powder ? 
Au contraire! It's added precisely because there is factory-level quantity control of ingredients in it, so absolutely assured repeatability. In my youth I designed the control circuits for the machines that weigh and mix food ingredients and I can assure you that even all those decades ago this could be done to the milligram.
I do not dispute for one second that you would expect a commercial; curry powder to have a a consistent formulation.  My points were two-fold :  (1) each curry powder will have a unique formulation, and no two will be identical, so unless the recipe specifies exactly which curry powder to use, what you are adding may differ (possibly significantly) from what the recipe author intended (and presumably tried); and (2) since the recipe for each distinct commercial curry powder will be a trade secret, you cannot know exactly what you are adding.  For both of these reasons, those who are aiming for complete and replicable consistency may prefer to use individual spices in known quantities rather than rely on a commercial curry powder.  But as I have already acknowledged, in reality it may be hard or even impossible to detect the difference.

** Phil.
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Online Peripatetic Phil

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Re: Mix[ed] powder
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2019, 08:06 PM »
From my lurking days, I seem to remember reading a discussion about roasting the seeds prior to grinding vs  grinding only that produces some heat anyway.  Does the recipe you have found mention grinding the seeds at all?
No, "what you see is what you get" (i.e., I didn't edit the recipe at all).  But I know that Mr & Mrs Bari gently roast some (but perhaps not all) of their spices before grinding (they grind all of their own apart from paprika & turmeric), so I will ask when I next go there (i.e., this coming weekend).  Certainly it is my belief that spices benefit (in general) from gentle roasting before grinding, and I often see a large tray of spices gently roasting when I enter The Golden Temple (last Friday it was cumin); if I find something in print to confirm this, I will add a note here.
OK, had another delightful meal ("Nepalese chilli chicken") at the Golden Temple courtesy of Mrs Bari this evening, and I took the opportunity to ask her about spice grinding.  Yes, she does grind her own (modulo the two already mentioned) and yes she roasts them first,  Very gently, on the top of the tandoor, for days or even weeks before grinding.  And yes. the roasting does significantly affect the flavour, but it isn't essential.

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Offline Bob-A-Job

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Re: Mix[ed] powder
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2019, 11:56 PM »
Thank you Phil.

I am a little surprised when you say weeks, days I can get my head around if it is very gentle, in a few minutes or an hour at a time and then sealed away from dust/dirt/food debri the rest of the time but when you say "on the top of the tandoor", surely that is with it turned off and cooling otherwise they would be roasted really quick and be blackened in a few minutes?  What am I missing please?

Before coming here, I used to make a lot of different Mexican dishes (mainly during the summer months) and so I had been using a 'dry fry' and then pestle & mortar to produce my powders but the quantities were begining to take hours per week and so I bought a wet & dry grinder at the insistence of my wife.  Searching for that/usage/grinding spices is what brought me here, maybe a year ago (I did say I had been lurking for a while?).

I still love the aroma of hand grinding the roasted seeds but at the back of my mind, conservation nags at me saying that if I am releasing the aroma in grinding, it won't be there for the cooking.  If you get what I mean?

Thank you for remembering my question.
BAJ
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Online Peripatetic Phil

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Re: Mix[ed] powder
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2019, 09:05 AM »
Hallo Bob —

I am a little surprised when you say weeks, days I can get my head around if it is very gentle, in a few minutes or an hour at a time and then sealed away from dust/dirt/food debri the rest of the time but when you say "on the top of the tandoor", surely that is with it turned off and cooling otherwise they would be roasted really quick and be blackened in a few minutes?  What am I missing please?
Well, firstly, that neither Mr nor Mrs Bari use the tandoor for cooking !  I don't know how the tandoor is powered, but I am certain that it never gets up to normal tandoor temperatures.  I will try to find out more next weekend.  As to dust/dirt/debris, yes, I see your point.  Perhaps not the optimal environment, but I've never had food poisoning after eating there, and I don't think anyone else has ! 

Quote
Before coming here, I used to make a lot of different Mexican dishes (mainly during the summer months) and so I had been using a 'dry fry' and then pestle & mortar to produce my powders but the quantities were begining to take hours per week and so I bought a wet & dry grinder at the insistence of my wife.  Searching for that/usage/grinding spices is what brought me here, maybe a year ago (I did say I had been lurking for a while?).
Ah, interesting background.  I don't think I own a wet & dry grinder (or if I do, I don't use it as such) — I have a coffee grinder reserved for spices, and various wet gadgets I use for making g/g paste and so on.

Quote
I still love the aroma of hand grinding the roasted seeds but at the back of my mind, conservation nags at me saying that if I am releasing the aroma in grinding, it won't be there for the cooking.  If you get what I mean?
That is a very interesting point, and not one I had ever considered, but I am of a generation that still remembers "Importers Ltd" roasting and grinding the coffee beans in the window of their Bromley High Street premises; the smell was out of this world, and could be sensed from hundreds of yards away, but their coffee (they used to serve Blue Mountain, amongst others) was the best in the world.  So yes, there must be some aroma loss when spices are gently roasted, but if the process allows the spices to yields more of their essential oils than would otherwise be the case (as I suspect — I need to check Dr Pruthi on this), then the process may well have overall benefits.  After all, why would Mr & Mrs Bari do so if it were not worthwhile ?  They both have excellent business acumen, and would not willingly waste either time or energy on something that was not worthwhile ...

Update:


I could find nothing in Dr J S Pruthi's Spices and Condiments, but the absence of an online (or even scanned) edition means that I cannot guarantee that he makes no reference to any benefits of roasting before grinding, so I consulted instead Heal and Allsop's Cooking with Spices.  Under cumin, which is one of the spices that I know for sure that Mr & Mrs Bari roast before grinding (because Mr Bari offered me some when I was last there), Heal & Allsop write "The seeds should be lightly roasted before being used whole or ground to bring out the aroma".  This, then, support my own beliefs.

Incidentally, this scientific paper (by Sushmita Behera, S. Nagarajan and L. Jagan Mohan Rao) is clearly both relevant and interesting.

** Phil.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2019, 02:45 PM by Peripatetic Phil »
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