Peek into the Spice Trade

... and a few other articles on cooking with spices!

Cassia: A real spice or a fake cinnamon

cassia cinnamon knowledge base

Cassia is one of those spices that has suffered a particularly bad bout of publicity: commonly denounced as the “fake Cinnamon” or as an inferior spice, Cassia is rather misunderstood. Cassia is the bark of the cassia tree – a tree indigenous to China, which carries crop with flavour characteristics close to Cinnamon. Part of the problem may lie in the fact that it’s produced by China, a producer that the public has a general level of wariness towards. But China has been producing delicious spices, food and other ingredients for millennia. The real heart of the problem is it’s...

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Pepper: The spice that doesn’t like staying stable

black pepper market news

Most of us know Pepper as the omnipresent seasoning ingredient, commonly found as a black or off-white powder and sits in everybody’s kitchen shelves. It’s the dried fruit of a flower, and nowadays is cultivated extensively throughout India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Brazil. So what is it about the spice that’s so hard to contain? Well, the price.  Pepper is a stimulant that has been highly valued since the beginning of trade itself. In fact, the search for Pepper spurred the founding of new trade routes in the 15th century, where Pepper was traded ounce for ounce with precious...

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Star Anise

market news star anise

Prices rising, and expected to keep rising further due to bad weather. Overall this season’s crop is poorer quality to most commercial buyers, and prices are also up due to lack of supply.  

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Cooking with Spices Part 2: Grinding spices and herbs

knowledge base

This is the second in the series of learning how to cook with spices. In the first post, we saw how easy it was to use spices in cooking. Now we’ll learn how to use all spices. Freshly grinding spices makes them all taste better. Spices lose their taste and flavour the longer they sit powdered. To get the most out of your spices, it’s best to buy whole and powder just before using. A compromise would be to powder weekly. This is still many times better than letting a powder sit on your spice rack for months, as by...

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How to Cook with Spices

knowledge base

Some would say “How to cook” is a more appropriate title. I believe that cooking with spices is that important. It’s nearly impossible to make a good dish without them. Peppers, chilies, all manner of herbs, are almost guaranteed to be present in all your meals. It’s even found in ice cream: Vanilla is a spice. Yet people are still cautious about cooking with spices. By learning to cook with spices, you can improve the quality of any dish. Compared to fresh meat and vegetables, spices are cheap. They’re also painlessly easy to use in cooking, so there’s no reason...

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