You can buy masala in the store, but there is absolutely no comparison between store-bought and the freshness of a masala you make yourself. The term “masala” just means “mixture”, and so a masala is one of any number of spice blends. Garam masala is the most well-known blend, but there are chai masalas, chaat masalas, egg roast masalas, and garam (or warm) masala–so called because it is made with “warm” spices. There is regional variation in garam masala–the more traditional Persian (or mughal) influenced garam masala has no cumin or coriander seed, which is prominent in the better known Punjabi, or northern, garam masala. The process is very similar among all the blends, and is simply dry roasting, and grinding. The spices stay reasonably fresh in a sealed container, for a couple of months.
We’re only allowed to make braised pork belly twice a year. After all, you can only fly so close to the sun, before you fall to earth. It’s glorious. Chunks of unctuous meat layered with tender fat, simmering in a sweet-and-savoury-sauce, until they come to sticky, slippery, soft perfection; bathed in a “sauce” of glistening oil.
— Ulli and Thomas
braise, chinese, five-spice, pork belly, simple, thomas, ulli
Poaching chicken is a quick, and easy, way to prepare meat for salads or noodles; or just to eat with a dipping sauce. It’s also a nice way to infuse chicken with a lot of flavour — although you can do pretty much the same thing, without the aromatics. If you want to use skinless, boneless chicken breast, for some sort of “healthy” alternative to food, feel free. But your best bet is to use a whole chicken, or at least a mix of bone-in, white and dark meat, for maximum flavour.
brad, chicken, chinese, five-spice, simple
Toasted, and freshly ground whole spices provide a vividness and depth of flavour you can’t compare with. Roasting spices, is critical in Indian, Thai, and South-Mexican food. In fact, pretty much anything you cook will taste better with freshly toasted spice. It’s also more economical than buying ground spices. Whole spice doesn’t go stale and bland so quickly. On toasting, the chemical composition of spices changes as well, so you get more complex, and quite different, flavours than you do with raw spices.
brad, curry, five-spice, spices