Getting the most out of your spices is very important. There are many different ways to maximised the aromas of your spice to ensure the pack a punch. We’ve spoken about oil frying and how that affects your spices, but to create some heady and complex aromas, try dry roasting your spices.

Why dry roast your spices

When you dry roast your spices, the fundamental flavour changes. The initial and arresting aromatics cook off, which leaves smaller flavour compounds to recombine. The dry roasting process created completely new flavours and aromas that are deeper and earthier in comparison to the untouched spice. Spices have two types of natural oils. The non-volatile oils are a series of oleoresins. Oleoresins provide the basic aroma of the spice. Spice also contain volatile oils. When you dry roast spices whole, you keep both of these flavours locked in and deepened.

When to dry roast your spices

Dry roasting rids the spice of all excess moisture. As they become crispier, they are much easier to grind down as they do so more finely.  However, dry roasting isn’t always necessary. Fundamentally, you must always consider the dish that you’re making. If you’re creating a very slow cooked dish, you may not need to dry roast your spices. A low cooking process allows the seeds to soften gently. This gives an entirely different release of aromas. However, if you’re cooking a quick dish, dry roasting your spices is perfect for a flavour explosion of complex aromatics.

How to dry roast your spices

Dry roasting your spices is not something that you want to rush. Burning your spices during roasting would be catastrophic and unfortunately, they’re not salvageable. Keep in mind low and slow to warm the spices throughout. The gentle heat wakes and activates the secret aromas.

Always let your spices cool completely before you grind them. For absolutely maximum flavour, you can use your spices the day you grind them. However, if you’re roasting your spices in preparation, you’re in luck. Dry roasting spices keep for several weeks with very little affect on their aromas and flavours.

To dry roast your spices, use a heavy frying pan and always keep them moving! If you leave them too long the edges of the spices and seeds can easily catch. The best way to tell if your spices are finished is by the smell. When you can smell deep aromas fill your kitchen, you’re spices are perfectly toasted. When ground, your spices will take on a truly arresting flavours in both taste and scent.

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