The World of Chilli
Spice index Gernot Katzer's spice site **********
Bo Jensen the essential oil
Thai Spices four star rating
Herbdata Amazing site
Chemical composition of spices
Food and ingredients Oregon State University-links
American Spice Trade Association
Your Spice link one of the best
Herbies spices + others
McCormick’s Spice guide Excellent guide to herbs and spices
Indian spices and food
Essential oils presentation Volatile essential oils
Oleoresin and essential oil report (prices)
Essential oils presentation
taste in white pepper
Flavour and off-flavour compounds of black and white pepper (Piper nigrum L.)
Dilution and concentration experiments as well as enantioselective analysis of optically active monoterpenes indicated (()-linalool, (+)-(-phellandrene, (-)-limonene, myrcene, (-)-(-pinene, 3-methylbutanal and methylpropanal as the most potent odorants of black pepper. Additionally, 3-isopropyl-2-methoxypyrazine and 2,3-diethyl-5-methylpyrazine were detected as important odorants of a black pepper sample with a moldy, musty off-flavour. Quantification of fourteen odorants and calculation of the odour activity values were the basis of an aroma model reflecting most of the odour notes of black pepper. Omission tests indicated (- and ß-pinene, myrcene, (-phellandrene, limonene, linalool, methylpropanal, 2- and 3-methylbutanal, butyric acid and 3-methylbutyric acid as key odorants. The musty/moldy off-flavour of a sample of black pepper was caused by a mixture consisting of 2,3-diethyl-5-methylpyrazine (2.9 µg/kg) and 3-isopropyl-2-methoxypyrazine (0.2 µg/kg). Quantification of 19 odorants and calculation of their odour activity values were the basis for an aroma model which reflected the odour profile of a white pepper sample showing a faecal off-flavour. Omission tests indicated limonene, linalool, (-pinene, 1,8-cineole, piperonal, butyric acid, 3-methylbutyric acid, methylpropanal, 2- and 3-methylbutanal as key odorants of white pepper. The faecal off-flavour was caused by skatole and was enhanced by the presence of p-cresol. In six samples of white pepper the intensity of the faecal off-flavour paralleled the concentration of both, skatole and p-cresol. In the sample with the strongest off-flavour the concentrations amounted to 2.6 mg/kg (skatole) and 12.4 mg/kg (p-cresol).
Cinnamon and Cassia have similar but different flavours.
Cassia is used in Cola flavours
Spice of Life
by Debbie Elkind
Common Combinations by Cuisine
Most of the world’s cuisines feature distinct herb and spice combinations, which help lend dishes their distinctive flavour.
African – Coriander seed, cumin, allspice, ginger, pepper, fenugreek, sesame, sumac, dried thyme.
Chinese – Szechwan pepper, star anise, fennel seed, cassia, cloves, ginger.
Indian – Asafoetida, coriander seed, cumin, fenugreek, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, saffron, curry leaves, mustard seeds.
Italian – Basil, bay leaf, oregano, parsley, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, marjoram, sage.
Malaysian – Coriander seed, cumin, fennel seed, cinnamon, turmeric, pepper, chilli, ginger, galangal.
Mexican – Coriander leaf, coriander seed, cumin, paprika, oregano, chilli, cinnamon, red pepper, nutmeg.
Moroccan – Coriander seeds, turmeric, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, pepper, chilli.
Middle Eastern – Paprika, pepper, cumin, coriander seed, sumac, thyme, cassia, cloves, cardamom.
Thai – Chillies, coriander, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, garlic, galangal, ginger.Click to enter a summary of this
Turmeric - a new recruit in the war on fat?
The pigment that gives curry powder its deep yellow colour may be a new ally against obesity, according to a recent study from the University of Queensland. When researchers added high doses of curcumin - an antioxidant found in turmeric - to the diets of obese rats, their waistlines shrank, even though they continued eating a diet rich in saturated fat and sugar.
"We're not saying that if you eat curry you'll be thinner - but it does mean that curcumin may have a pharmaceutical role in helping to control obesity," says researcher Dr Lindsay Brown, now Professor of Biomedical Science at the University of Southern Queensland. Exactly how a plant pigment can shrink fat isn't clear, but other research suggests that curcumin, an anti-inflammatory also believed to help prevent cancer, may also help stop immature fat cells in the body from filling up with fat, Dr Brown explains.
To understand why, it helps to know that excess belly fat is a sign that your body is storing harmful visceral fat inside the torso. Scientists now believe this fat is active and dangerous. Besides making bellies bulge, visceral fat produces inflammatory chemicals that contribute to diabetes by making it harder for insulin to control blood sugar, he says.
But these same chemicals may also increase body fat as well.
"We know that in rats, these inflammatory chemicals encourage immature fat cells to turn into full blown fat cells, and we suspect that the same thing happens in humans - in other words, that fat stored around the waist can help to make more fat. But curcumin's anti-inflammatory effect may help prevent this," says Dr Brown whose research was presented at the meeting of the Society for Free Radical Research- Asia last year.
"Because of the link between inflammation and obesity, other research in the US is trialling the use of anti-inflammatories like aspirin as possible obesity treatments," he adds. "But prolonged use of aspirin also increases the risk of stroke, as well as damage to the stomach lining - we'd rather investigate a natural substance from food that's been around for 5,000 years as a treatment instead. "
Curcumin might also turn out to protect the heart.
"Inflammation can stiffen the heart muscle by stimulating extra collagen to form around heart cells - this forces the heart to work harder. We know this happens in both humans and rats, and research so far suggests that in rats curcumin prevents this process," says Dr Brown.
It's a long way from saying a teaspoon of turmeric will wipe out weight problems or fight heart disease and cancer -we need more human studies to know what curcumin's real impact on health might be. Still, epidemiological studies in India, a country which uses a lot of turmeric, suggest it has one of the lowest prevalence rates of Alzheimers in the world.
But while there's no proof turmeric will preserve brain cells, it's a great food colour in the kitchen, if nothing else. I like adding it to the water when I cook basmati rice -quite spectacular if you also add a few whole spices like a broken stick of cinnamon, two or three cloves, some whole peppercorns, coriander seeds and a few cardamom pods (walloped in a mortar and pestle to bruise them first). When the rice is cooked you can do more colouring in by adding slivers of green and red capsicum, little circles of chili and green pistachio nuts.
The Food Coach website has more healthy ideas for using turmeric - in Moroccan Quinoa which adds turmeric to quinoa with pomegranate seeds - in season now- and Spiced Mushrooms
What's your favourite way to use turmeric?
Raveesh Vyas under the terms of a Creative Commons Licence.
For fire eaters only: these chillies bite back
April 12, 2011
Chilli pickers Jarmilla Alders, left, and Linda Sartoris.
A FARM in Lake Macquarie is growing what may be the world's hottest strain of chillies, but preparing them for the public is a task akin to chemical warfare.
The variety, bright red and about the size of a dollar coin, is called the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T.
Its grower, Marcel de Wit, of the Chilli Factory in Morisett, sent samples for chemical analysis to ascertain just how it measured up.
Fierce ... the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T.
The answer was stratospheric, reported EML Chem in Melbourne, where normal duties can include working with explosives.
Chilli potency is measured on the Scoville scale. A jalapeno, as used in Tabasco sauce, contains about 5000 Scoville heat units; a bird's eye chilli packs between 50,000 and 100,000.
The Trinidad Scorpion Butch T sample topped 1.46 million.
Mr de Wit says this is a world record, but that, like chilli itself, is hotly disputed.Guinness World Records says the present record holder is the Naga Viper chilli, measuring 1.38 million.
A sauce containing 58 per cent Trinidad Scorpion Butch T chilli, and called Scorpion Strike, will be launched at the Royal Easter Show. For portions of the manufacturing process, Mr de Wit dressed in protective clothing including an industrial gas mask to fend off the fumes as the chillies boiled.
Videos of Mr de Wit and Neil Smith of the Hippy Seed Company, which brought the chillies to Australia, show them struggling to eat the raw chillies. From behind fogged glasses, Mr Smith likens the experience to applying a soldering iron to his tongue and throat.
Mr de Wit's wife, Connie, said she finds the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T too fierce for her palate, although she has watched braver souls try them.
''A lot of people start sticking their tongue out and start flapping their hands around," she said.
Despite an intensity that would overpower most, the chillies are said to have a fruity taste. ''It's a bit like a banana and an orange together - like a fruit salad," said Mr de Wit, who answers to the title of the Hot Chilli Chef.
Asked for advice on how to use the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T in cooking, he advised: ''Very sparingly.''
Garam Masala: The most famous spice blend India has to offer
November 14, 1:13 PMSF Indian Food ExaminerIrfan Dama
The 5 basic spices that make up the classic Garam Masala
Anyone remotely familiar with Indian food has probably heard of Garam Masala. Garam Masala is the most popular spice blend in India and is synonymous with Indian Moghlai cooking. Several brands of this fiery spice blend can be found at your local Indian store. One can even find a bottle of it at your Mega grocery store in the spice isle (even McCormicks makes their own blend). But what exactly is this mysterious spice blend and how does one use it? Let’s take a little journey to better understand Garam Masala.
Garam in Hindi means hot and Masala is of course, a spice blend. Garam Masala traces its roots back to Persia where ‘Garm’ is the Persian word for hot and ‘Masaleh’ is the word for ingredients. Garam Masala made it over to India with invasion of the Islamic Kings. This spice blend adds tremendous flavor and heat to a dish. The heat generated from this masala is unlike the burn you get from chilies. It feels more like warmth being introduced to your body – perfect for now as it starts getting colder.
Garam Masala is used whole as well as in its powdered form. When used whole (khada) the spices are added at the start of the dish preparation. It is crackled in hot oil thereby adding its flavor to it. The food cooked in this medium thus better absorbs the flavors as it simmers. The best example of this is Rice Pilaf, made fragrant and aromatic with the addition of the whole spices. When used as a powder, it is usually sprinkled over the dish right at the end of the preparation just before taking off the flame for service. Garam Masala powder serves the purpose of adding flavor and aroma.
As the flavors are so volatile, the store-bought Garam Masala blends over a short period of time lose their flavor and aroma. A true food aficionado makes his or her own Garam Masala blend and grinds it fresh to ensure maximum flavor. By toasting the spices mildly before grinding, one can guarantee better flavor and aroma. It is well worth the extra effort.
The components of the ‘Classic’ Garam Masala are cinnamon, cardamom (both green and black), cloves, bay leaves and black peppercorns. In terms of proportions, every cook in India has his or her own recipe. Chefs also bolster their Garam Masala blends with the addition of other basic spices such as cumin, coriander seeds, Nutmeg and Mace. Through trial and error, you will arrive at your own Garam Masala blend that works best for you.
The following recipe has a high proportion of peppercorns and is bolstered with cumin. This blend is perfect when making red meat curries.
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 large stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon cloves
3 - 4 medium dried bay leaves
Toast the ingredients slightly in a skillet till the spices turn a light brown.
Allow to cool and grind to a fine powder in a spice grinder. It is best to grind your spices whenever you need to use it to get the best flavor. Store left over spices in an air tight jar in a cool dark place.