A spice odyssey…

February 10, 2010

After my rather chilli weekend, I began wondering just how many different kinds of chillies and hot spices I have in my cupboard. So, I’ve just got them all out, and counted nine different ways of heating up my food! Some I use more often than others, and one – the jar of Very Lazy Red Chillies, which I was given – I haven’t used at all.

From left to right, they are: hot chilli sauce, for Thai-style soups; the jar of chopped chillies in wine vinegar, which I haven’t been lazy enough to open yet; the pul biber/tomato paste mix from Istanbul, which I use in my Turkish and Middle Eastern cooking; dried piri piri chillies that I bought on holiday in Portugal a couple of years ago, which I use in more Mediterranean flavoured cooking; flaked pul biber, which, again, I use for a Middle Eastern taste; hot mixed peppercorns, suitable for pretty much anything you want to give a kick to; hot paprika, which is, of course, essential in Spanish cooking; cayenne, for Indian or Mexican food; and, finally, a string of what were originally small, fresh chillies, but I thread them and hang them up to dry out, and these I use mainly in curries.

I know there are much bigger chilli-heads than me out there, so can anyone tell me if I’m missing out on some hot delights? And what about some new ideas for my current chilli collection?

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3 Responses to “A spice odyssey…”

  1. Liz Says:

    Love it! I think I might have a similar number of chilli permutations knocking around here, though I recently discovered in my local Indian grocery store a brilliant variant of your ‘Very Lazy…’ It’s chopped chilli, garlic and ginger all mixed up and preserved in vegetable oil. OK, it’s super lazy, but it means I can knock up a spicy, healthy, filling lunch in approximately NO time at all. In the evening I’d chop, smash, grate and peel unhesitatingly, but somehow it seems like a bit of a faff when it’s just me and when I should really be getting on with something else. Talking of which… Nice blog! I’ll be back…


  2. Thanks for your comment Liz. I know what you mean about lunchtime cooking activities. I take lunch into my office every day, and as much as I love cooking, the thought of preparing some complicated dish at 7am (which is when I usually end up throwing something together for the day) does not fill me with joy!
    Look forward to more of your contributions.

  3. mangocheeks Says:

    Ooh my mouth is watering. I like spices.


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