The Spice Trade

Industry insider knowledge, and usage tips on spices and other ingredients

Tag Archives: asafoetida

What is curry powder? (Part 1)


We get this question all the time, what is curry powder? Actually, “Curry Powder” doesn’t refer to a specific powder in Indian Cooking. Indian curries and dals all use different spices, in different proportions, to complement the ingredients inside. In a cauliflower curry for instance, the amount of turmeric is much more than in a tandoori chicken curry. But standard “Curry powder” can be used to imitate the average taste, and get a good tasting curry each time, although not completely authentic. Authentic is also much harder to pinpoint because different curries are made in different ways across India. In … keep reading

Spicy Tomato Rasam (Indian soup) the fresh way

spicy tomato rasam indian recipe

Rasam is one of the most popular Indian “soups” across the entire Indian subcontinent. This recipe uses fresh spices for an authentic home style taste – no tamarind paste or pre-made rasam powder is used in this recipe. As a result, it’s light, tangy, spicy, minimal fat and sugars so it’s even quite healthy! Tomato rasam goes best with South Indian dishes such as hot Idli and Vadas, but you can also drink it plain as a soup with some warm bread. Recipe: Spicy Tomato Rasam (Indian Soup) Serves: 4 Ingredients 7 medium sized tomatoes, blanched 300-500ml water based on … keep reading

Veggie Pakoras

pakora indian cooking savoury

You can think of Pakoras like the Indian Tempura, although we’re not quite sure which came first! The batter is much thicker than tempura batter, as it’s an equally important element to the vegetables. Some Indians also prefer having the fried batter alone! We tend to eat Pakoras as an appetiser or an hors d’oeuvre, often preferring to eat at the coffee table in a dining room, before moving over to the dining table for the first course. Another popular pakora is the paneer pakora. Simply swap the veggies for 1 inch cubes of fresh paneer. Recipe: Veggie Pakoras Serves: … keep reading

Recipe: Creamy Coconut Chutney

Coconut Chutney Regency Spices

This is one of our family favourites. Even though it’s traditionally a south indian chutney used for dipping idli, dosa, uttapam, and other similar fermented doughs, we find it great for dipping in all manner of hot indian snacks such as samosas, cutlets, pakodas, and onion bhajis. It’s very cooling, refreshing, and an ideal dip for the summer. The dip is often slightly spiced as well, but you can tone this to suit your one taste. It can stay fresh for up to 2-3 days in the fridge. Ingredients – 350g of grated coconut – 1 tbsp chana dal – … keep reading

Recipe: Spicy Tomato Onion Chutney


This spicy tomato chutney is a great accompaniment to many South Indian favourites, such as Idli and Dosa. It’s also a great dip for crackers, samosas and breads, as well as a lovely fresh spread for use in sandwiches. It’s simple, quick, and only relies on very commonly used ingredients in Asian cooking! This chutney can also be refrigerated for several days and still taste great. Ingredients – 1.5 tbsp vegetable oil – 1 tsp black mustard seeds (5g) – 3-6 dried Kashmiri chillies based on taste – 1/8-1/4 tsp asafoetida powder – 10g of dried garlic flakes, or 6-8 … keep reading

Recipe: Aloo Matar (spiced indian potato and pea curry)

photo: Joana Petrova

This recipe hails from the North of India, but is extremely popular all over because of the simple and fresh ingredients used. Some households prefer a dryer texture, in which case omit the tomato and don’t make into a paste. This recipe is commonly enjoyed with Indian Basmati rice, poori and chapatis (roti). Ingredients – 2 medium potatoes (aloo), peeled and diced – ¾ to 1 cup peas (matar) – 1 tbsp almond powder (grind 8-9 almonds in dry grinder) – half tsp (3g) Cumin Seeds – Pinch of Asafoetida – ½ to 1 tsp (3-5g) Red chilli powder (for … keep reading

Asafoetida, the most adulterated spice in existence

Lump of Compounded Asafoetida

In this day and age, we’d hope that spice adulteration was no more. But sadly, this is not the case. With food prices rocketing higher every year, and some ingredients’s prices rising faster than others, the temptation to adulterate is often too strong. Most often in order to keep costs down, and ultimately prices on the supermarket shelves the same each year, spices are often diluted beyond belief. For example, see the graph below on the average price of Pepper, taken from The IPC. Prices have easily doubled in the last 5 years, but are you paying twice as much … keep reading