Monday, June 6, 2011

Mystery Produce Episode 6 - Spices

I am making some of my own masalas, so I went to a little street vendor and bought a sort  of ludicrous amount of spices.  They were so eager to garner my repeat business, they gave me a little handful of almost every spice they carry for free.  Most of them are familiar to me at this point, but I had never seen turmeric and hing in their whole forms.

 Trying to start with the big yellow lumps at the top and working clockwise:  turmeric rhizome or rootstock; just under that is mace; next is a chunk of hing, which I had only seen in a yellowish powder form; a mix of white poppy seeds, coriander seeds, sesame seeds, whole peppercorns, cloves, green and black cardamom, and god knows what else; star anise; dagad phool, literally stone flower, a lichen common in Maharashtrian cuisine; cassia, which is like cinnamon; tejpata, patta meaning leaf, this is an Indian bay leaf.

The dagad phool has a mild, familiar aroma.  Who knew we've probably been eating moss for months.  The turmeric rhizome and hing are like rock hard.  I'm at a loss as to what to do with them.  Maybe I should have brought my microplane.

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