The slow-cooker makes warm, delicious soup or gravy-filled Asian dishes convenient to cook and packed with flavours. Come learn how to make the best of it.
Fresh spices make great flavours; and although most of them can last for months or even years, taking a little extra care can preserve their fragrance and potency. Just follow these easy tips, and you’ll never have to worry.
Get Whole Spices
Whole spices maintain their freshness for longer instead of processed ones, so do buy them whenever you find them; and cut, grate or ground for each cooking session. For instance, ginger and galangal are always available whole at your local Asian grocer – a peeler and a knife is all you need to slice what you need. For spices that need to be powdered, use a coffee grinder and store the remainder – just make sure to clean your grinder properly afterwards.
Get What You Need
While it may be tempting to buy spices in bulk, you probably won’t use them all before they turn stale. So, do keep in mind how much you need for a reasonable timespan, and purchase accordingly. Also, remember to check what you already have in the pantry before going on a shopping spree.
Avoid Moisture, Heat and Sunlight
Like cooking oils, exposure to moisture, heat and direct sunlight makes your spices age much quicker. Be sure to always store them in a spot away from your kitchen sink, stove and windows. A dry, enclosed cabinet far from high temperatures and moisture is best. Some spices like chilli, ginger and galangal can also be kept in the fridge. But it’s not recommended for powdered spices, because the constant defrosting and refreezing, whenever you take them out, leads to condensation in the bottle/container, and makes your spices clump and cake which will spoil them.
Measure Before Cooking
Never shake or sprinkle directly from the bottle/jar/container over a hot pan, because the heat and steam will creep in and wreck your spices. Also, you’ll risk the chance of putting in way too much than the dish requires. Instead, use a dry spoon to measure what you need for each recipe, and remember to seal the lid immediately after.
And… that’s all!
It’s really that simple to ensure you have fresh, fragrant and flavourful spices for all your home-cooked goodies. For some additional tips: here’s how you can make your own spices, preserve chilli with some time and effort, and store other ingredients for longer.