Spices For Your Palate & Health At MY Food we have always been in love with spices. Just 1 tsp of cumin or cinnamon or paprika or... can magically lift the flavours of both savoury and sweet dishes to excite and satisfy our palate. But that’s not all, the true wonder of spices lies in the significant amount of health enhancing micronutrients they contain for such few calories.

India is the home of spices producing approximately 80% of the world’s supply. Wayne our chef recently made a visit to India returning with lots of exciting colourful and perfumed substances (some unidentified!) and doubly enthused about the powers of spice.

What is a Spice? A spice is a dried seed, fruit, stem, bud, root or bark of a plant or tree used primarily for flavouring, colouring or preserving food. Spices have been prized for centuries, often shrouded in mystery, their sources secretly guarded. Fierce competition to monopolise the spice trade has seen empires built and collapse, wars won and lost and fortunes made. In Europe during the Middle Ages rare exotic spices were as valuable as gold and their possession a display of wealth and power. It was in the search for cheaper sea routes for the lucrative spice trade that the New World was discovered by the Europeans in the 15th century.

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MY Food Kitchen suggested that the topic for this month’s blog should be a spice that we commonly use in our dishes. Easy I thought and entered the store room to immerse myself among the spices, lifting a few lids to enjoy the aromas. However I immediately saw a problem. I counted 23 different spices and 8 different spice mixes. If this blog was to be kept within a certain word count a choice would have to be made.

“If you had to choose one spice what would it be”? I asked. The kitchen's immediate answer was Turmeric.

Why Turmeric?

  • Turmeric comes from the rhizome of the plant Cucuma Longa.
  • The rhizomes are boiled, dried and then ground into a deep orange yellow powder.
  • For thousands of years turmeric has been used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine to treat a variety of conditions.
  • Current medical research is investigating the potential use of the active ingredient curcumin in the treatment and prevention of disease.
  • However it is turmeric’s unique taste, aroma and colour that makes it Wayne’s favourite.
  • A peppery, warm, slightly bitter flavour with scents of mustard, orange and ginger turning every dish into gold.
    Combine a tin of coconut milk, 1 tsp of turmeric and 2 tsp garam masala as a curry base for chicken or fish. 
Rice, cauliflower and turmeric also make excellent partners. Have have you tried our Cashew Biryani or any of the other delicious diet meals? 

How Many Spices are there in the World? Research tells us that there are over 350 different spices in the world. So our challenge now at MY Food and yours is to use even more spices. But this might involve having to create a bigger store room!

Your Cupboard Do not worry your cupboard will be big enough as ground spices quickly lose their aroma and flavour so should be purchased in small quantities and stored for no longer than 6 months whilst whole spices can be ground as you need them.

Thanks for reading :)
    July 01, 2015 by Nas Amir-Ahmadi