Did you know that spices are more than natural aromatics and flavour enhancers? They are incredible sources of anti-oxidants and vitamins too.
Did you know that in ancient Egypt, the dead were buried with an infusion of ground spices to keep the decomposing bodies fragrant?
Did you also know that you’re about to read Cultlinary’s 2nd installation of our 2-part must-have spices edition?
Meat Curry Powder
You can now re-create your favourite chicken curry or mutton masala without worrying about the 3430028 spices you’ll need!
Readily available in every Indian grocery, you will be spoilt for choice at the different brands of meat curry powder, also know as meat masala powder, at your disposal.
Curries aside, get creative with these mouthwatering flavour! Curry-flavoured fries, anyone?
Key spices include coriander powder, turmeric powder Chilly Powder, black pepper powder, fenugreek powder, cumin powder, fennel Seeds, cloves, green cardamom, cinnamon powder, star anise, nutmeg and powdered mace.
Phew! Aren’t you thankful for ready-made spice blends?
Fish Curry Powder
Yes, there is a separate blend of spices to alleviate the ‘fishiness’ in any seafood curry!
Again, you can buy a pre-mixed packet of fish masala from any Indian grocer or you can make the arduous task of blending your own!
All you’ll need are cumin seeds, fennel powder, black peppercorns, coriander seeds, dried red chillies, cloves, turmeric powder and asafoetida.
Again, blend away everyone!
Used in Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian cuisine, peppercorns need no introduction. Pound them with your pestle and mortar and you get freshly ground pepper to sprinkle atop the simplest of dishes like fried eggs.
Pop them whole into broths and you’ll get a hint of smokey, peppery goodness with every spoonful.
In recent times, this spice has received much raves for its anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties. Commonly used in marination of meats and fishes in South-east Asian cuisine, turmeric is the one of the royalties of the spice world.
It gives coconut-based curries like ayam masak lemak its distinct marigold hue and is key in Eurasian classics like Turmeric Cabbage.
Green Cardamom (Ground & Seeds)
Love a cup of Chai latte? Meet cardamom, the star ingredient of Masala Chais! A member of the ginger family, green cardamom exudes a warm, sweet flavour which is not only great in curries but also, well-loved in cookies, beverages and dessert puddings.
With a pantry well-stocked with quintessential spices to cook up a feast of Singaporean (and all-Asian) favourites, go forth and perfume your home with these spices! Don’t be afraid to get creative and use these flavours in rubs, marinates and dressings too.
[Writer’s note: Purchase your spices in small quantities as spices lose their potency in a year. Seal them tight in jars to maintain the deep aroma and freshness!]