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Grinding Spice Blends at Home

Grinding Spice Blends at Home
Making your own spice blends with a mortar and pestle ensures they are impeccably fresh, and you can control the amount of each spice that is included in the mix.

Most blends call for whole spices, which are usually toasted before grinding to intensify their flavor and aroma. Put the spices in a dry fry pan over medium to medium-high heat, stirring them constantly to prevent burning, until the spices are fragrant. Then immediately pour them into a mortar to stop the cooking. When the spices are cool, grind them with a pestle to the desired consistency; this will release even more of their aroma. Alternatively, you can use a spice grinder.

For the best flavor, grind the spices just before using them. Any leftover spice blend may be stored in a tightly closed jar in a cool, dry place.

Spice blends are the heart of Indian food. Here you'll find recipes for two classic Indian spice blends—curry powder and garam masala—plus dishes that incorporate these aromatic blends.