Herbs and Spices

Herbs and Spices

WATERMELON RIND HALWA
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO ALL MOTHERS
Thankfully spring is finally here, for which we Calgarians have waited for a very long time. It was supposed to be here beginning of March, but we waited till about the end of April. Even in past winter months, temperatures were much lower than average and the amount of snowfall was much higher than average. Even some people, like my neighbour, who loves snowfall and winter were tired of this year’s winter and said enough is enough. I have a habit of watching the evening news on the television, but this winter I was tired of watching the evening local news because after every five minutes they show the weather report, and it was depressing to watch the temperature in minus double digits (Celsius) for months.
This spring will also bring new leaves and flowers in the trees, birds have already started their conferences on the trees, snow is already melted. Soon we will be sitting in the gardens and enjoying the evening tea and dinner outside. This spring is also bringing some new fruits in the market like watermelon. Now I am already thinking about summer when we will get lots of more fruit, particularly my favourite one like cherries, mangoes and many more.
Last year, in the summer, when we were getting a lot of watermelons, as I was chopping it for everyone to enjoy, my daughter and I were chatting about how we don’t consume the rind of the watermelon and is actually so versatile to use. She informed me that she had once made a curry with watermelon rind, which was very tasty and everybody enjoyed it. I was surprised and couldn’t believe that I had not thought of that before. Soon after that talk, I decided to make something very nice with watermelon rind that is when I made this recipe the very first time, and it turned out fantastic.
INGREDIENTS
  • 500 grams watermelon rind
  • 200 grams red portion (fruit) of watermelon
  • 200 grams sugar
  • 200 grams khoya/mava ( solidified milk)
  • 3 tbs ghee/unsalted butter
  • pinch cardamom powder
  • 2 tbs green pumpkin seeds/any other nuts

  • Slice watermelon rind and watermelon in small pieces and grate the khoya.
  • Heat heavy bottomed pan and add ghee/butter in it, when hot add water melon rind pieces and let it boil and cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes till they are soft.
  • Add watermelon pieces and sugar, let all the water evaporates, it can take 15-20 minutes then add grated khoya in it.
  • Add pumpkin seed for garnishing and serve hot or cold as desired.

One of these photos will win the monthly prize: a 12-jar gift set from Whole Spice. Your vote counts! Leave a comment to let us know your favorites. Ranked choices are welcome. You can enter on Facebook here, or by tagging #yestospices on Instagram. There’s a new winner every month, so start snapping and share what you’re cooking with Whole Spice!

a medley of vegetables - yellow squash, zucchini, carrots, eggplant. a drizzle of olive oil, garlic powder, salt ‘n’ pepper and Za'atar Spice blend before a slow roast in the oven. “A medley of vegetables – yellow squash, zucchini, carrots, eggplant. a drizzle of olive oil, garlic powder, salt ‘n’ pepper and Za’atar Spice blend before a slow roast in the oven.”
"I adapted my favourite vanilla cupcake recipe by adding a teaspoon of the Hawaj Coffee Spice to the batter and to the buttercream frosting. Delicious!" “I adapted my favourite vanilla cupcake recipe by adding a teaspoon of the Hawaj Coffee Spice to the batter and to the buttercream frosting. Delicious!”
"Inspired by the Baharat spice and Moroccan Lamb melange blends, I made a lamb and veggie tagine Berber style. A red onion is sliced into rings and placed at the bottom of the tagine with the meat placed in the center. The veggies are built up around it in conical fashion to mimic the shape of the lid. Layers of olive oil, spices and other goodies are added, then the dish is covered and cooked on a slow simmer." “Inspired by the Baharat Spice and Moroccan Lamb Melange blends, I made a lamb and veggie tagine Berber style. A red onion is sliced into rings and placed at the bottom of the tagine with the meat placed in the center. The veggies are built up around it in conical fashion to mimic the shape of the lid. Layers of olive oil, spices and other goodies are added, then the dish is covered and cooked on a slow simmer.”
"Shakshuka - it's what's for dinner. All organic fresh produce, pastured eggs, and several generous shakes of Harissa Coarse Blend!" “Shakshuka – it’s what’s for dinner. All organic fresh produce, pastured eggs, and several generous shakes of Harissa Coarse Blend!”
"Deviled eggs. Use your favourite recipe and garnish with some chopped chives. A sprinkle of the Harissa Coarse blend takes it to the next level!" “Deviled eggs. Use your favourite recipe and garnish with some chopped chives. A sprinkle of the Harissa Coarse blend takes it to the next level!”
"Chicken marinated in Baharat spice blend, preserved lemon, saffron, onion and garlic, then simmered with zucchini, carrots, sweet peppers and red chard. Served with basmati rice cooked with Moroccan Harissa rice seasoning." “Chicken marinated in Baharat Spice Blend, preserved lemon, saffron, onion and garlic, then simmered with zucchini, carrots, sweet peppers and red chard. Served with basmati rice cooked with Moroccan Harissa Rice Seasoning.”
"Making sausage with friends." “Making sausage with friends.”
"Bean and Citrus Slaw Tacos, one with Aleppo and the other with Urfa." “Bean and Citrus Slaw Tacos, one with Aleppo Chili and the other with Urfa Chili.”
"Homemade pita (sea salt), hummus (from the store, OK, but we make it our own with Smoked Serrano pepper from Whole Spice), vegetables and a bottle of Napa wine!" “Homemade pita (sea salt), hummus (from the store, OK, but we make it our own with Smoked Serrano pepper from Whole Spice), vegetables and a bottle of Napa wine!”
"My beloved Maldon salt is the only whole spice container I have that has anything left in it. It’s great for topping anything, though makes me remember that I need to fill my Black truffle Salt container." “My beloved Maldon Sea Salt is the only whole spice container I have that has anything left in it. It’s great for topping anything, though makes me remember that I need to fill my Black Truffle Salt container.”
"Pumpkin Donuts with Pumpkin Pie Spice" “Pumpkin Donuts with Pumpkin Pie Spice.”
"Savory stuffed lobster tail with Rotisserie Chicken Rub. Tortellini with homemade Alfredo sauce made with Herbs de Provence and garlic." “Savory stuffed lobster tail with Rotisserie Chicken Rub. Tortellini with homemade Alfredo sauce made with Herbs de Provence and garlic.”
"Pan-seared New York steak, thinly sliced on a bed of Caesar salad. I added a knob of butter to the pan juices, sprinkled Za'atar Spice blend into the sizzling butter added some finely chopped shallots." “Pan-seared New York steak, thinly sliced on a bed of Caesar salad. I added a knob of butter to the pan juices, sprinkled Za’atar Spice Blend into the sizzling butter added some finely chopped shallots.”
"Roasted chicken thighs seasoned with Harissa spice, pan-fried courgettes with Za'atar spice blend, sauteed cabbage with Zhug spice." “Roasted chicken thighs seasoned with Harissa Spice, pan-fried courgettes with Za’atar Spice Blend, sauteed cabbage with Zhug Spice.”
"Asparagus and Meyer Lemon Roasted with White Truffle salt, Coriander, and Harissa With Whole Spice for inspiration, this couldn't be easier." “Asparagus and Meyer Lemon Roasted with White Truffle Sea Salt, Coriander, and Harissa —with Whole Spice for inspiration, this couldn’t be easier.”
"Organic chicken thighs marinated in Harissa space blend and roasted. Romaine salad with a simple dressing and sprinkle of Za'atar spice blend." “Organic chicken thighs marinated in Harissa Spice Blend and roasted. Romaine salad with a simple dressing and sprinkle of Za’atar Spice Blend.”

They all look delicious, but only one can win the prize this month!

honey-823614_1920North America has thousands of kinds of native bees, but honeybees were not among them until European settlers imported hives from the Old World. It’s easy to see why these colonists went to the trouble of shipping bees across the Atlantic some 400 years ago: Honey is a perfect natural sweetener that needs no processing and never spoils — even after thousands of years in an Egyptian tomb, as archaeologists have discovered. 

More reasons to love honey include the facts that it’s a fat-free source of quick energy, needs no special storage and tastes delicious.

Today, there are more than 300 unique types of honey being produced in the United States, according to the National Honey Board. Varietal honeys come from bees that feed on a single flower crop, such as star thistle, lavender, sage or orange blossoms. Other honeys are made by bees that gather pollen more widely

What color should your honey be? Almost any shade, from nearly clear to dark amber, is acceptable. Darker-colored honeys tend to be more strongly flavored than lighter ones, which are more likely to taste mild.

The culinary applications for honey are just about as vast as the variety. Honey adds moist sweetness to breads, cakes and cookies and provides dimension to sauces, marinades and delicious dressings.

Honey makes a delightful spread on toast and a flavorful alternative to sugar in hot and cold beverages — including cocktails, such as honey gimlets and honey rums.

You can use any kind of honey in this simple cake recipe. The proportions below will give you a tender cake that is not overwhelmingly sweet, making it a good choice for a midmorning snack with coffee or tea. A little whipped cream or crème fràiche adds a nice touch.
IMG_E3520Get the recipe: Spiced Honey Cake with Black Tea and Almonds »

BABY EGGPLANT WITH SWEET AND SOUR GRAVY
HYDERABAD STYLE BAGHARE BAIGAN
Hyderabad is the capital of an Indian state of Telangana and the fourth most populous city in India. Hyderabad is famous for its tourist attractions and historical monuments like Charminar etc. Hyderabad is also famous for its cuisine, particularly for chicken and mutton biryani, and lots of other sweet and sour Mughlai dishes, baghare baigan is one of its popular dishes. In many restaurants in India and abroad, anyone can find these famous Hyderabad dishes in their original names because of its awesome taste, these dishes are very popular.

 

A few months back when I was talking to my brother on the phone, who lives in Delhi, India, we talked about his tour to Hyderabad, he told me that apart from so many other things, he really enjoyed the food there. During his visit to Hyderabad and while eating in restaurants, he saw the famous biryani being packed in nice takeaway packaging, which people were taking even on long distances. He told me that he also decided to take a packet of the famous biryani to Delhi which is very far, around 1500 km, at that time he was travelling back to Delhi by air. So he called the restaurant, one hour before and gave the order of two packets of biryani of his choice, when he boarded in the taxi to the airport, on his way he collected the packets of biryani for his kids, and his kids in Delhi, really enjoyed this tasty and unique gift from their father.

A few years ago in Botswana, during my holidays, I travelled around 600 km and visited my friend and stayed with her for a week. At that time, she was living in a beautiful town called Maun and my family and I enjoyed visiting the beautiful surroundings of the town and of course the world-famous Okavango Delta. During the stay, my friend’s neighbour who was originally from Hyderabad invited us for dinner; we enjoyed the dinner and talked a lot about Hyderabad cuisine. The next day we invited her over to come and demonstrate the cooking of a few dishes from Hyderabad. That is when I learned this recipe of baby eggplant in sweet and sour gravy. I have made this recipe in many gatherings and parties at our house after that, and every time, people have really enjoyed it and appreciated the recipe.

INGREDIENTS
  • 500 grams baby eggplant/brinjal
  • One big onion (200 grams)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • A small piece of ginger
  • 3 tbs raw peanuts
  • 2 tbs sesame seeds
  • 3 tbs lemon juice/tamarind juice
  • 2 tbs desiccated coconut
  • 1-2 tbs sugar or to taste
  • salt and chili powder/flakes to taste
  • 1 tbs coriander powder
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • few fresh green curry leaves OR Coriander/Cilantro

  • Finely chop or grate onion, garlic and ginger. Slit the eggplants lengthwise.
  • Dry roast peanuts, coconut and sesame seeds and let it cool.
  • Heat 1tbs oil in a frying pan on a medium flame. Add the mustard seeds and let it splutter, then add eggplants with salt, turmeric, chili and coriander powder and cook till they are soft and cooked properly by covering the lid.
  • Till eggplants are cooking make a paste of the roasted peanuts, coconut and sesame seeds by adding 1/2 to 1 cup of water in a blender.
  • Take out the cooked eggplants in a plate and in the same frying pan heat the 2 tbs oil and roast curry leaves, ginger, garlic and onion till brown in colour on a medium heat, then add the paste of peanuts etc. in it. Now add the lemon juice and sugar in it; mix well and fold the cooked eggplants in it.
  • Serve hot with rice, naan or any other flat bread.
CREAMY SPINACH CURRY
This is one of my favorite recipes, which is regularly made in my kitchen. I use different types of spinach to make this recipe and enjoy it every time. In my long stay in Africa, I used white silver beet spinach, which was the only type that was locally available there. I even enjoyed cooking with this type of spinach straight from my kitchen garden in Africa. This type has long and hard leaves like kale, takes more time is chopping, cooking and the taste is also a little bit different. There I had no choice but to use that type only because tender baby spinach or English spinach was not available, I even tried to grow the soft and tender baby spinach in my kitchen garden but failed, I think the harsh African sun, the dry and hot climate there was not suitable for it.
Here in Calgary, baby spinach is available in plenty throughout the year and if I buy a big packet, it is triple washed, which I am also using in my salads. Because of its availability in abundance, I am using it a lot in my old recipes which were already made in my kitchen and trying some new recipes as well.
I tasted this recipe, the very first time, in a four-star hotel, around 20 years ago, where I stayed with my family for 2 and half months. It was a long time ago, isn’t it? I was staying in the hotel after getting transferred from a town to a city, I couldn’t get accommodation in teacher’s houses available in my school. The head chef of that hotel was very nice, I met him personally and informed him that all four members of my family are vegetarian. He really made our stay enjoyable with his lovely and tasty vegetarian dishes, which were made by him personally every day. Some of the days he really surprised us by serving some tasty Indian vegetarian dishes as well.
This recipe is not only my favourite recipe but the whole family likes it, even my grandchildren. Spinach is one of the vegetables which they really enjoy, so I try to use spinach in different curries, salads and lentils as well so that they get the health benefit of this green vegetable. This is a simple recipe, which can be enjoyed with rice, naan, Indian flat bread or even with dinner bun.
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 kg fresh baby spinach (frozen can be used in this recipe)
  • 500 ml fresh/whipping cream
  • 1 big onion (200 grams)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • A small piece of ginger
  • 2 green chili (optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbs coriander powder
  • salt and chili flakes to taste
  • 2 tbs tomato puree

  • Chop and wash the spinach thoroughly.
  • Grate or finely chop the onion, ginger, garlic and green chili.
  • Heat oil in a pan, add the cumin seeds, once changing the colour add the ginger, garlic, onion and green chili and saute till onions are brown.
  • Add spinach and salt, chili and coriander powder and cook for 8-10 minutes till spinach is cooked and the extra water evaporates.
  • Add cream and let it boil for 2-3 more minutes, then add the tomato puree, mix well and switch off the stove/gas.
  • Serve hot with rice, naan, roti or dinner bun.

February’s contestants submitted some very mouthwatering photos — including a green dragon cake! — for the chance to win a 12-jar gift set from Whole Spice.

Who will be this month’s winner? That’s up to you! The photo with the most social media likes, comments and shares will take the prize, and the winner will be announced March 15.

Our March photo contest is underway:

  • On Facebook, you can enter here »».
  • On Instagram, simply tag #yestospices.
  • Be sure to let us know what you’re cooking with Whole Spice and you could be the next to win a 12-jar gift set!
  • You may enter the contest up to once a day, and your entry may be shared in our social media.
    Spice-rub-gift set1
GREEN PEAS PARATHA (INDIAN FLAT BREAD STUFFED WITH PEAS)
In 2016, when I went to Delhi, India, I stayed longer than usual, for about 9 months due to many reasons, and also because now I am retired and I can stay longer when travelling. During my working career, while I was in Africa. I used to go to India only for 4-5 weeks in December holidays, which is the winter season in Delhi. I had no experience of staying in the hot summer of Delhi for many years. So in 2016, I found it very difficult to cope with the hot days and humid nights. But there was no choice, I had stayed on and experienced a very hot summer for six months, short rainy season and mild winter which was also short for two months only.
Here I would like to share a funny incidence – while I was in India, One day I was talking to my grandson on the phone; who lives in Canada. At that time he was in grade four, he told me that he read in his social studies course about seasons in India, and told me that there are four seasons in north India. He wanted to check my knowledge and asked me to name them. That time I was too frustrated with that long hot and humid weather that I replied, “Yes my dear, they are four – hot, humid, very hot and extremely hot.” He laughed a lot and asked, “Grandma, what’s wrong with you”? Then I told him that I am really tired of this long hot and humid weather here in Delhi and I want to leave this place as early as possible.

In Delhi, winters are short, and mild which mainly last for 2-3 months. After that long summer, I really enjoyed winter season in Delhi. Apart from the nice weather, the other best thing about this winter was the colourful fresh organic vegetables which were available in that season: dark red carrots, cauliflowers, turnips, sweet potatoes, beets. And green peas were the main attraction for me. I really enjoyed the fresh green peas, which I got in plenty in that season and at a very reasonable price. I used them in many recipes and enjoyed them fully. In my long stay in three countries of Africa, i.e. Kenya, Botswana and South Africa, getting fresh green peas was a dream, which never came true. Fresh green peas were not at all available in Africa, and that is why I really missed them and was forced to use the frozen peas only. Even in Calgary, it is a luxury because it is available for a very short time, in Indian vegetable shops only and they are very expensive.
Being a foodie and a food blogger, I experimented a lot with this tiny, cute and green vegetable during my stay in Delhi and tried and tested some new recipes with it. Green peas recipes are not only tasty but healthy as well because peas are considered as the powerhouse of nutrients and have a lot of health benefits of eating green peas. Whenever I cook something with green peas my grandchildren will say, “Hey, today we are eating a powerhouse”, because I always force them to eat their vegetables and particularly the green ones like peas.
This is my favourite recipe, which I am sharing with you today. I really like the taste of these parathas and I am glad that even my grandsons like them too. Last night when I made them, both my grandsons told me that they would love to take these parathas in their lunch boxes for their lunch in school. Both fresh and frozen peas can be used in this recipe.
INGREDIENTS
  • 500 grams brown bread flour/whole-wheat flour/aata
  • salt to taste
  • oil for roasting the parathas
FOR STUFFING
  • 200 grams fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Salt, pepper and chili flakes to taste

  • In a bowl, take brown bread flour, add salt and make a medium firm dough, neither very hard nor soft, glaze the top of the dough with oil and leave it aside.
  • In a frying pan heat 1 tbs oil, add cumin seeds, when they turn to brown colour add peas with salt and pepper, mix well and cover the lid, leave it on a medium heat for 8-10 minutes till the peas are tender and done well and there should be no water left, peas should dry completely.
  • Let it cool, with a potato masher mash the peas.
  • Divide the dough in 8-10 pieces, make small balls and roll each ball as the size of a cookie,( 4-5 inch in diameter) stuff one tbs peas in it, pick all round area and close the mouth of the parathas and roll into 6-7 inch big in diameter, dust the flour when needed.
  • Heat the heavy-bottomed frying pan or cast iron flat pan. When the pan is hot,  roast parathas on both the sides, add drops of oil in all the surrounding of the paratha.
  • Cook until brown and crispy from both the sides, serve hot with any pickle or chutney of your taste.

Among the most versatile foods we know is the humble potato. This accommodating vegetable, along with its cousins in the sweet potato family, can be prepared in just about any manner you wish. Grilled, roasted, fried, mashed, hashed, baked — the possibilities are virtually endless.

Potatoes of all varieties also take spicing very well. Their creamy, starchy nature provides the perfect canvas for herbs, spices and blends, from basic salt and pepper (many cooks like white pepper with potatoes) to flavored salts and complex blends.

Spices return the favor by elevating basic potato dishes to gourmet status. A pinch of saffron salt or truffle salt will transform your mashed potatoes. Our Roasted Chicken BlendLamb Rub and Steak Seasoning work similar culinary magic on roasted spuds. Fragrant Ras El Hanout is particularly good with sweet potatoes. Other blends to try include:

  • Garlic and parsley sea salt
  • Fleur del sel with black olives
  • Chili verde sea salt
  • Malt vinegar sea salt
  • Bell pepper powder or smoked paprika with garlic salt and a touch of rosemary salt
  • Zhug Spice, a bold mix of chili, garlic, coriander, cumin, sea salt, cardamom, clove and cilantro
  • Hawaj Soup Blend (turmeric, black pepper, onion, cardamom, cloves and cumin) with sea salt

There are countless ways you can use spices and seasonings to create extraordinary potato dishes. Here are two easy recipes to get you started:

RASPBERRY JAM FILLED BREAKFAST SQUARE
Happy Valentine ’s Day

Suitable for vegans
In 2016, I got a surprise gift of two cookbooks, by my daughter’s friend, Mamta, who is a big admirer of my blog and always appreciates and enjoys my cooking. I was overwhelmed that day with those two books, it was not even my birthday, and she was just visiting us. What a kind thought it was of bringing cookery books for me? Isn’t it? After thanking her for such a nice gift and gesture, I told her that I will definitely try some recipes from those books and share them soon on my blog. She herself is a great cook, last time when I visited her, she surprised me with so many nice dishes, which I have to get the recipe for and try soon. Here I want to thank her from the bottom of my heart and wishing her all the best in her life, by selecting a recipe from the book and recreating it.
This is called real love, love does not mean romantic love between a girl and a boy, but showing gratitude, care and affection towards someone is also considered as love. In my opinion, love has many meanings and types, if someone is holding a door for you when you are entering a shop, is also called love for someone. If you choose to be a snow angel for someone and cleaning the yard of an elderly couple, that can also be called love. Love is when you smile at the strangers and get the smile back. A mother’s love towards her children can be called as unconditional love because she cares only about the happiness of her children. I have written all this about love because I am posting this recipe on Valentine’s Day in the month of February when people normally say that in this month. love is in the air. If you ask me, love is always there in the air, you just have to notice it, give it and receive it.
The first time I had browsed through the cookbook, that is when I had seen this recipe and decided then and there that that will one of the recipes I will make and post it on Valentine’s day. The author used apricot jam but I used raspberry jam. I thought if I use raspberry jam the pink colour of the raspberries will suit the theme of Valentine’s Day. So here I am with the recipe, the name of the book is Food made fast-Desserts, and the author is Williams-Sonoma.
INGREDIENTS
  • 1, 1/2 cups brown bread flour (235 grams)/whoye wheat flour
  • 1, 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (140 grams)
  • 1/4 cup Icing sugar (30 grams)
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar (185 grams) OR coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (185 grams) OR coconut oil for vegans
  • 1 cup Raspberry jam (315 grams)
  • Preheat oven to 325 degree F (165 degrees C). Grease a square oven tray or parchment paper inside the tray.
  • In a food processor, combine the flour, oats, powdered sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms fine crumbs.
  • Remove 2 cups of the flour mixture and set aside. Transfer the remaining mixture to the prepared pan and press it evenly over the bottom.
  • Drop spoonfuls of jam evenly, spread the jam evenly to the edges. Sprinkle the reserved flour mixture evenly over the jam.
  • Bake until the top crust and edges are light brown – about 30 minutes. Let cool completely in a pan on a wire rack. Using a sharp knife, cut into squares.
INGREDIENTS FOR JAM
  • 200 grams raspberries
  • 100 grams sugar

  • Make a puree in the blender with raspberries with little water.
  • Mix raspberry puree and sugar together.
  • In a frying pan or heavy bottomed wok cook the puree with sugar on a low flame.
  • Keep on stirring; it will take 15-20 minutes to get the consistency of thick jam. Leave it to cool. If you are using a cooking thermometer, check the temperature when it is showing 90 degrees C, it means jam is ready.
GREEN CHILI PICKLE AND A POST ON A SPICE/HERB CHILI/HOT PEPPER
Chili is the most valuable spice of the world and is gaining its popularity throughout the world, and now it is used in more and more cuisines of the world. India is the largest producer, consumer and exporter of chilies, which is 40% of the total world production. Chili production requires sunny, tropical, humid conditions with a good amount of rainfall. We have grown a lot of chilies in our kitchen garden when I was in Kenya. We had around 25 plants of 3-4 feet high and were producing a lot of green chilies, being small as a family we were not able to consume a lot, so were leaving the chilies on the plants itself to ripen. When their colour turned red, I used to collect and dry them in the hot sunny area of my garden, and later was grinding in my dry grinder to make red chili powder, which I used in my kitchen.
There are many different types, colors, shapes and mild to a very hot pungent taste of the chilies are available in the world. This spice – chili and chili powder are used in many cuisines of the world. Raw chilies are normally green in colour, but ripened chilies are yellow, orange and red in colour. Since it is impossible to tell how spicy a chili is just by looking at it, you will have to taste it to get an idea. Once you know how spicy it is then you can use it according to your taste.
In Indian cuisine, chili powder is used from ages, some chili powders are giving only a red colour to the recipe and are not very spicy like Kashmiri chili powder, it is more or less like paprika. But some chili powders are very hot, and people use it depending on their taste and the requirement of the recipe. In Southern states of India, whole red dried chili is used a lot in tempering many recipes. Red chili flakes/crushed chili is also used a lot in the Indian cuisine throughout India. Some people have the misconception that Indian food is very spicy, but that is not the case, yes, we do use different types of chilies in its different forms but how spicy the food absolutely depends on individuals choice. Green chilies are a good source of vitamin C; so many people eat raw green chilies with their food.
Some people think that chili pepper is consumed only to put fire on your tongue or to get tears in your eyes but the surprising fact is that chilies do have a lot of health benefits like natural pain relief, boosting immunity, clearing congestion, preventing stomach ulcers, and reducing weight. Check this website for detailed study of all this and a lot of useful information about chilies.
According to Ayurveda, there are six tastes by which all food can be categorized: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. Pungent taste is hot and spicy as found in chili pepper and astringent is dry and light as found in popcorn. Ayurveda suggests that all these tastes should be included in every meal for optimum health and to get initial spark to the digestive system. These six tastes satisfy each of the major dietary building blocks and these six tastes also guide our body to accomplish its nutritional needs. Each taste feeds our body, mind, senses and spirit in its own unique way. Ayurveda is a traditional healing system of India, which gave us yoga and breathing exercises and still successfully practiced in India. Check this website-
Chili powder is eaten by one-quarter of world population every day, in all countries all over the globe. But chili powder was completely unknown to the most of the world until Christopher Columbus discovered America. Check this website which explains very nicely that of course, Columbus was not looking for chilies, but was looking for a trade route. This website further explained that, until well after the middle ages, almost all through the world, pepper travelled from the Malabar coast, India to Europe and then to America.
Coming to the recipe, this is my mom’s recipe as it is in which she used mustard oil. I get mustard oil from the local Indian grocery store, so I have also used mustard oil, but you can use any other oil instead if you prefer. Mustard oil is used for cooking in Punjab and many other Northern States of India. This is a simple and quick recipe which can be enjoyed using mild to hot chilies basing on your taste.
INGREDIENTS
  • 200 grams long green chilies (around 25-30)
  • 20 grams of black mustard seeds (rai)
  • 20 grams of fennel seeds (saunf)
  • 10 grams of fenugreek seeds (methi )
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons oil (I used mustard oil)
  • 10 grams chili powder (optional) *
* Normally these green chilies are not spicy/hot at all, so if you need some spice in this pickle you can add some additional chilli powder
  • Mix the fennel, mustard and fenugreek seeds and grind it coarsely in a dry spice grinder.
  • Wash and dry the chilies or wipe with a kitchen towel.
  • Slit the chilies in the middle lengthwise.
  • In the already ground spices, mix salt and chili powder and fill ( stuff) through the slit in all the chilies and leave aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan, when hot add all the chilies, mix slowly and cover it after 5 minutes add the remaining spice mixture on top of the chilies.
  • Cook for 8-10 minutes till the chilies are cooked and changed in colour.
  • Cool it and serve with meals as a condiments/pickle/chutney