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Handy Hints and useful tips for around the home - Mix your own Spices

Cooking with spices
  From chilli to cinammon, spices give zest and something special to any dish. However, we don't always use them to advantage.
  Next time you are making a meal like a curry, instead of adding the spices to the sauce once it is already cooking, fry them separately first.
  Before even cooking the meat and other ingredients, put a tablespoon or two of oil in the pan, then sprinkle in the spices (garlic and ginger too) and stir-fry over a moderate heat for a couple of minutes. Now start adding the rest and cook in the same pan with the fried spice.
  This method brings out the flavour of the spices which, in turn, enhances the dish overall.

  Most recipes incorporate some spices, especially curries, and the quickest way to make these dishes is to buy a pre-mixed packet or jar then add it to the rest of the ingredients. This, however, can be expensive, and you don't always get the flavour you might prefer. And when you just want a little, whatever's left over probably won't last long after it is opened.
 By using dried spices, you can make up your own combination to suit personal taste. Stored in an airtight jar it will keep for a long time. Here's one that I use frequently, either for an actual Madras Curry, or for pepping up sauces, soups and stews. With the curry, I generally start off with a teaspoonful, then add more as I go along - after tasting, of course! This way, I get exactly the level of flavour desired.
 Measurements are in parts. I found a teaspoon was easiest and I normally double the quantities for each new batch.

1 garlic powder
1 ground coriander
1 ground black pepper
1 ground turmeric
½ ground chilli (or peri peri)
½ ground cardamom
½ ground cumin
½ ground cinnamon
½ ground cloves

Here are the spices for the Chicken Creole Recipe R32. As with the other home-mixed spices, measures are teaspoons; and stored in an air-tight jar they will keep for ages in the pantry.
1 table salt
1½ fennel (ground or seeds)
1 paprika
1 ground chilli or peri peri
1 chicken stock powder or a crumbled stock cube
1 onion powder
1 cumin
1 (ground or seeds
) 1 garlic powder
1 thyme

  As I only used two rounded teaspoons for the Creamy Chicken Tandoori (Recipe 102), there was plenty left for future meals. Mixed well in a jar with a good-fitting lid, these spices will store for ages on the pantry shelf.
1½ ground chilli
1½ ground paprika
2 ground coriander
2 ground cumin
1 garam masala
1 ground ginger
1 powdered garlic
1 salt

  Here are the spices for Recipe R80_Rogan Josh. All are dried and ground, and can be mixed well in advance. Measurements are in teaspoons; but if you want to use a tablespoon: 1 Tbsp is the equivalent of 3 tsps. Simply spoon each spice into a bowl, mix thoroughly; then transfer to an airtight glass jar until needed. Kept in a cool, dark place the mixture will last as long as individual spices.

1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp cloves
3/4 tsp ginger powder
12 tsps paprika
4 tsps chilli powder (or Peri Peri)
4 tsps cinnamon
8 tsps cumin
8 tsps coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp black pepper

Here are the quantities to mix your own spices for Recipe 82 Moroccan Chicken. Measure them into a glass jar, screw on the lid, and give them a good shake up. If you decide not to use the lot in one go, they will keep for a long time when sealed and stored in a cool cupboard or pantry. Then you can use a teaspoon or two for spicing up any meal in a jiffy whenever you fancy.

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cardamom
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves

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