9 Spice Blends You Can Make Yourself
Grinding and blending your own toasted spices yields much more potent blends than even the good stuff you get online. If you don’t have a spice grinder, use a clean coffee grinder and designate it for the purpose. Once done, store the finished spice mix away from heat and light; unless noted, they’ll keep several months.
You can turn any of these (with the exception of Pickling Spice) into a rub by combining 1 tablespoon or more of the spice mix with 1 tablespoon salt; you can also add some brown sugar if you like, up to 1 tablespoon for each of the recipes here.
1. Curry Powder
Put 1 tablespoon each black peppercorns, coriander seeds, ground turmeric, and ground ginger in a dry skillet with 1 teaspoon each cumin seeds, fennel seeds, and ground fenugreek. Toast over medium heat, shaking the pan, until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool, then grind to a fine powder. Makes about 1 ⁄ 4 cup.
2. Chili Powder
Put 2 tablespoons ancho, New Mexico, or other mild chile powder, in a dry skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican), 2 teaspoons each cumin seeds and coriander seeds, and
1 ⁄ 2 teaspoon each cayenne and black peppercorns. Toast, shaking the pan, until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool, then grind to a fine powder. Makes 1 ⁄ 4 cup.
3. Jerk Seasoning
Grind 1 table spoon allspice berries, 2 teaspoons dried thyme, and 1 teaspoon black peppercorns to a fine powder. Combine with 2 tablespoons salt, 1 tablespoon each paprika and sugar, 1 teaspoon cayenne, and
1 ⁄ 4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg. Makes about 1 ⁄ 4 cup.
4. Five-Spice Powder
Grind 2 tablespoons fennel seeds, 1 tablespoon Sichuan or black peppercorns, 1 1 ⁄ 2 teaspoons whole cloves, 6 star anise pods, and one 3inch cinnamon stick to a fine powder. Makes about 1 ⁄ 4 cup.
5. Garam Masala
Put the seeds from 10 cardamom pods and one 3-inch cinnamon stick in a dry skillet over medium heat with
1 tablespoon each cumin seeds and fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon whole cloves, and 1 ⁄ 2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg. Cook, shaking the pan, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool, then grind to a fine powder. Makes about 1 ⁄ 4 cup.
Toast 2 tablespoons sesame seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant and golden, 5 to 8 minutes. Crush 1 tablespoon dried thyme between your fingers into a small bowl. Add the sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon ground sumac, and salt and pepper to taste; stir to combine. Because of the sesame seeds, refrigerate for up to several weeks. Makes 1 ⁄ 4 cup.
Grind 2 teaspoons black peppercorns, 1 ⁄ 2 teaspoon each whole cloves, cardamom seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and allspice berries to a fine powder. Put in a small bowl with 2 teaspoons paprika and 1 ⁄ 2 teaspoon each ground ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg; stir to combine. Makes about 3 tablespoons.
8. Ras El Hanout
Stir together 1 teaspoon each black pepper, paprika, ground ginger, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, and freshly grated nutmeg. Add 1 ⁄ 2 teaspoon each cayenne, ground fennel seeds, allspice, and cumin, and 1 ⁄ 4 teaspoon ground cloves and stir to combine. Makes about 3 1 ⁄ 2 tablespoons.
9. Pickling Spice
Combine two 3inch cinnamon sticks, 5 bay leaves, 2 tablespoons mustard seeds, 1 tablespoon each allspice berries, black peppercorns, coriander seeds, and dill seeds, 1 teaspoon each whole cloves and cardamom seeds, and 1 1 ⁄ 2 teaspoons red chile flakes. Makes about 1 ⁄ 2 cup.