"The Perfect Blend "Food Bytes by Monish Gujral in Sunday Express

By  |  0 Comments

For that perfect blend
Monish Gujral Last Updated : 09 Oct 2011 03:46:15 AM IST
Having been born in a true Punjabi household, I have grown up amidst the aromas of different spices, and for me a meal is not complete till it is has been cooked with a perfect blend of spices.
I have always experimented with spices while cooking, rather than limiting myself to conventional ways. I love to blend spices and herbs in order to enhance the taste and aromas of the dishes. However, I admit that it is a little time consuming and patience is a virtue most needed here, as sometimes the results are mind-blowing.
A few days ago, while cooking a dish with chickpea flour, I used a blend of Carom Seed (Ajwain) and Asafoetida (Hing) and the result was amazing. There are many classic spice blends, popularly used all over the world. I am going to share some of my favourite global blends from around the globe with all of you but with a promise in return that you will start trying them out at home.
Baharat: A spice mix, which is sweet, savoury, and warm with subtle heat. Baharat means “spices” in Arabic; it exemplifies the culinary spirit of the Levant. Black pepper, cumin, coriander, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom appear in most variations. Use Baharat to season Kofta Kabab, couscous, or lamb made in any fashion.
Tabil: A blend of coriander, caraway, garlic, and cayenne, Tabil is
a simple Tunisian spice mix, somewhere between earthy and pungent, and bright and citrussy. Tunisian cooks use tabil liberally in all manner of soups and stews.
Za’atar: It is an Arabic spice mix, heady with dried oregano, thyme, citrus-scented sumac, and nutty-earthy sesame seeds. Za’atar is a seasoning blend popular in the Middle East and Iran. Persian and Lebanese restaurants often sprinkle it atop a dish of olive oil as an accompaniment to flatbread.
Ras el Hanout: Used throughout Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, Ras el Hanout resists pigeonholing. The name translates as “best of the shop”, and merchants might mix their signature offering from more than 30 different spices, which leaves plenty of room for variation. Popular versions, though, tend to be heaviest on cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper, and turmeric. They’re used to infuse the region’s rich, meat-based stews, or tagines, with ethereal fragrance. You can also use it as a rub for roast chicken, or to turn simple lentil soup into a dish of enchantment.
Herbes de la Garrigue: You’re probably familiar with Herbes de Provence, that dried-herb blend from the south of France. “Garrigue” refers to the scrubland of southern France, untamed but gorgeous in its own way. Redolent with rosemary, thyme, savory, and bay leaves, Herbes de la Garrigue is excellent on a smoky, grill-roasted leg of lamb, but you could also blend it with a bit of olive oil before massaging it into torn pieces of stale bread for a bread salad .
Berbere: There are two distinct fragrances that give Ethiopian cooking away: Nit’irqibe, the ubiquitous spiced butter, and Berbere, the fiery, rust-coloured spice blend heavy with chills and paprika that laces some of Ethiopia’s best-known stews. Berbere also complement the vegetables of late summer and early fall. Try using it in a soup with browned onions and lentils, or as a racy garnish for devilled eggs.
Panch Phoron: If you’re a fan of north Indian cooking, the Bengali five-spice mix known as Panch Phoron should be always available in your kitchen. A mixture of equal parts cumin, fennel, black mustard, fenugreek, and nigella seeds, Panch Phoron is frequently prepared as a tadka (saute) in which whole spices are fried in oil to release their fragrance, then added to a finished dish.
Temero Biano: It is aromatic and complex. Every Brazilian kitchen has its own interpretation, but most versions include white pepper, oregano, and any number of varieties of chili among their ingredients.
Panzanella, the classic Mediterranean bread salad
Panzanella, the classic Mediterranean bread salad, is a great way to use tomatoes and stale bread. You can innovate and modify it by adding any number of ingredients, including drained chickpeas, chopped cooked green beans, Kalamata olives, diced cucumber, or chopped roasted peppers, but at heart, the recipe relies on good bread and ripe tomatoes. Panzanella can be heavy on the oil. Here, the dressing features the collected juice of chopped tomatoes, keeping it light and bright.

[button color="green" link="http://monishgujral.com/panzanella/" target=""] Click for PANZANELLA Recipe [/button]

First chef from India to be invited to Le cordon Bleu to demonstrate in Paris. Monish is credited with the trailblazing turn-around of Moti Mahal, from being a small but iconic presence in Delhi, to becoming a multi-national corporation that is well on its way to defining how the world eats Indian food. A traditionalist, Monish has remained true to the signature dishes that made Moti Mahal a legend, while reinventing the dining experience into one that is exciting and avant garde to suit modern sensibilities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>