spice mixtures~adventurous palates

My new cookbook 'ally's kitchen~a passport for adventurous palates' debuts MAY 2015! It has an entire section dedicated to some of my most boholicious spice mixtures and sauces that I'll teach you to make. And, there's a huge difference between homemade and store bought! Take a peek here at the cookbook website~~just click~

My new cookbook ‘ally’s kitchen~a passport for adventurous palates’ debuts MAY 2015!  It has an entire section dedicated to some of my most boholicious spice mixtures and sauces that I’ll teach you to make.  And, there’s a huge difference between homemade and store bought! Take a peek here at the cookbook website~~just click~

If I want to travel the world, I need go no further than my kitchen.  And, for me and my family, that means spices!  We can make-believe we’re anywhere just by the scents of the spices!  You know how well smells evoke memories, associations, thoughts, feelings—I mean you probably think of Christmas or Thanksgiving when you smell things like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves .

What do you think of when you smell bacon frying?  The early morning dew on grass?  The wafting of coffee being brewed? Yeast and freshly baking bread?  There’s something else about spices that can turn you on~~tune in, I’m getting it on my retro radio~
spice mixtures~adventurous palates only
It’s well-documented in medicine and health that spices have medicinal purposes and have value for your body beyond the taste buds and making foods wake up.  Here’s an article from TreeHugger on some of these spices and the benefits—but, you can Google and read on to find out more if you like.

For now, I’m gonna share with you some favorite  combinations of spices—yes, they pack an exotic punch that makes your food giggle with happiness!   You’ll be making your own blends~~don’t miss one thing about the cookbook because I’ve got mixtures from around the globe like Harissa, Ras el Hanout, and more.
spice mixtures~adventurous palates only
Check out some of my recipes with these spice blends~~

Chinese Five Spice~~this has some real sweet scents going on~~the most wonderful for me is the anise~~it just reminds me of eating
licorice as a little girl.  Funny how smells evoke memories like that!  Also in here is cinnamon, star anise, cloves and ginger.  Check out this recipe I used it in~~
Chinese Five Spice Cookies
Tandoori Masala~~Why do I love this one.  Well, check out what it’s got going on~~salt, coriander, paprika, cumin, mustard, chili, cassia (that’s new for me, but it’s Chinese cinnamon), garlic, turmeric, cloves, lemon oil.  I mean how can it be anything but enchanting!  You can use it for marinading~~mix with plain yogurt or your liquid magic!

Stay tuned for how I’m going to use this~~I’m thinking in one of my tagine creations!

Za’atar~~ This is  Za’atar or an in Arabic: زَعْتَر‎ za‘tar.  It’s a mixture of thyme, sesame seed, sea salt, and sumac.  Of course, like all spice mixtures, there are variations, but the basics of za’atar are there. My recipe for Za’atar highly suggests fresh thyme and oregano to get the vibrant green color.

The cool thing about this spice combination when you read about it is the history—I mean it dates back to ancient Egypt—it’s great to get history lessons from your spices!   Of course, we can make our own Za’atar, which adds to the fun of spicing!  I’ve used this spice in several recipes~~
Key Lime Zahtar Roasted Chicken

Zahtar Chicken Soup

Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce

Garam Masala~~a ‘masala’ is simply a spice mixture~~so this spice combination would be full of flavor—coriander, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, cumin, black and green cardamom, cloves, bay leaves, and nutmeg.  Now, you might ask what in the name of Sam’s Hill would you use that for?  Well, the only thing you’re limited by is your imagination!  Let’s try chicken, but you could do pork or veggies~~

Garam Masala Ancho Chili Pan Fried Chicken Breasts

Madras Curry~~rounding out these five is another newbie for me, and that would be because I just love the smell of it—reminds me
of an Indian, as in authentic from india—restaurant.  And, another thing, madras was reall cool and hip when I was in college—guys and girls who wore madras with weejuns—well, just hip—don’t think there’s a weejun spice blend, but hey, that doesn’t mean we can’t make one!

What goes into this ‘Madras Curry’—cumin, coriander, yellow mustard, fenugreek, cardamom, turmeric, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper.

I’m thinking I’ll do oven roasted French Fries—‘Madras Curry Oven Roasted French Fries’!
spice mixtures~adventurous palates only



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  1. Hello Ally!

    I have very much enjoyed making your Marco Polo Chili with the Ras el Hanout spices! I have won many a chili cookoff with this recipe!
    However, I cannot find either recipe on your site anymore. What happened?
    I would love to see anything else that utilizes the Ras el Hanout spice blend.

    1. Hi, Wayne! That’s great to hear that you’ve wone chili cookoffs with the Marco Polo Chili! I retired that recipe thinking it was a bit too complicated. But, I just might resurrect now given your immensely positive comments. In the meantime, here’s another chili recipe that you might like: https://allyskitchen.com/spicy-chunky-anasazi-chili-beans/ So appreciate you. Come back often and hang out! ~ally

      1. Thanks Ally! This chili also looks fantastic and I can’t wait to try it!
        Love the idea of bringing the Marco Polo recipe back.
        The intricacy and complexity is what drew me to it in the first place. I love a challenge and I believe adding something unique or complex can open new worlds of flavor to enjoy.
        Thanks again and I love the way you share you style of cooking!

        1. You know what, Wayne? You’ve made my day!! Thank you! Just for you, I’m gonna resurrect ol’ Marco Polo! Fall’s coming and it will be deeelish! Yes, it is intricate, complex and requires a commitment to make. Not many folks want that. There seems to be more demand for quick and easy and make it fast! Thank you for the compliments. Makes all this time, effort, work and creation worth it!! Talk soon!

  2. Ally, you spice things up, whether you’re in the kitchen or not! Love your fab five… I make Garam Masala from scratch, too… so many possibilities. Thanks for broadening my world (and spice cupboard) beyond the Southern trinity… garlic powder, onion powder, & Lawry’s, lol!

    1. You crack me up, Kimmeee! Ha ha…ahhhh, yes, I remember the Lawry days!! I actually have 5 more that I’ll talk about in another post…didn’t want to overwhelm w/10!! lol!! Thanks honeybunch! xo

  3. Girl, we share the same taste for Middle Eastern spices – Ras el Hanout, Za’atar, Garam Masala, and Madras Curry are in my top 5 too 🙂

    1. Priscilla!! I just knew we were soul sistahs!! Yes, these are fab spice combos…yayyy, when we cook together we’ll use ’em all!! xo

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