I used to say "I love spicy food", but too often people think that means HOT, so hot the top of your head sweats! Now, I like that, too, but its not what I mean when I say "spicy:" What I love is FLAVORFUL food! I like to find spices that are the best flavors in the specific foods that I prepare. Since the beginning of time, chefs have used natural and organic ingredients to make any dish full of flavor and satisfying to the palate. My goal is to source rare spices from around the world. My favorite food is anything shared with friends!
Food has a special ability to bring people together. I often find this in my own life and I hope you will find that this online community feels just as welcoming as a real kitchen. For me, cooking together builds the best communities, let's get cooking together! I have found a variety of dried mushrooms and fungus during my travels. There are many exciting recipes that include these delicious and earthy flavors in preparing international cuisine. These specialties can be used to season and enhance your own preparations.
Traveling internationally allows us to see that other countries in our shrinking world have found ways to recycle and make products with locally sourced natural products Reusable everyday products are better for our environment and create a sustainable and stable ecosystem. I have collected a variety of commonly used culinary items made with natural organic materials. Incorporating them into your daily cooking and dining routine is a healthy alternative for all of us.
All prices are by the gram
All prices are by the gram
There are many local legends about how saffron came to Kashmir. One goes back to the 12th century, and says that Sufi saints Khawaja Masood Wali and Sheikh Sharif-u-din Wali presented a local chieftain with a saffron bulb after he cured them of an illness while they were travelling. Another claims that the Persians brought it in 500 B.C. as a means to further trade and market. A third dates the spice back to the Hindu Tantric Kings, when it was mixed into hot water to create potions that incited feelings of romantic love.
This list is a result of numerous studies and analyses that explain how the vitamins and minerals contained in saffron produce these benefits.
Sambal is a hot paste that is popular in many Southeast Asian countries, especially Malaysia and Indonesia. Its earthiness and spiciness might tingle your taste buds. Its main ingredients of chili peppers, lime juice, shallots, salt, sugar and salt are easily found in this region.
The traditional method of making the sambal starter paste is by using a mortar and pestle. It is labor intensive, but advocates of this method believe that the slower grinding releases the essential oils of the spices better.
Our supplier uses the traditional method in his restaurant kitchen.
The saffron flower has three parts. First is the flower petal, which goes into medicines. Next, are the yellow strands, which have little use. Finally, are the red strands, right in the middle, which are the pure saffron. These are the strands we use. A single flower produces just three red strands. One gram of saffron is made from about 350 strands.
Kashmiri saffron is the sweetest, most precious spice in the world. Its strands are thicker and more fragrant than its counterparts grown anywhere else in Asia. Most of Kashmir's saffron is grown in Pampore, south of the state's summer capital, Srinagar.
The crop begins in April, when the soil is plowed twice to allow moisture to seep in. The sowing occurs in August or September and by mid-October the plants begin to sprout from the soil. One saffron bulb can keep producing flowers for 15 days, if it is healthy. Saffron requires a moist soil rich in humus content. Some bulbs that erupt are unfit for producing flowers, making the spice that much more rare. Once they bloom, the flowers are then picked, dried and sorted during the next month. A new crop is available beginning in November.
Homemade Saffron Pasta
1.5 C Semolina Pasta Flour
1.5 C All Purpose Flour
4 T Olive Oil
4T Saffron Infused Water
1 t Salt
Using a stand mixer, combine the semolina, flour, beaten eggs, water, salt and oil in bowl. Knead on medium speed with a dough hook.
If dough is too sticky sprinkle in additional semolina; if it is too dry sprinkle in water The dough is kneaded when it forms a smooth elastic ball Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes
On a lightly floured surface roll out to desired thickness and cut as desired. Alternatively, cut into small chunks, flour and roll through your pasta roller, continue rolling until you can send it through thickness 5. Then, run it through the fettucine setting. Dredge in flour to ensure it doesn't stick together, dry on a drying rack.
To cook, bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add pasta and coo until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Drain and add directly to your sauce.
(We have used a Saffron & Shrimp Alfredo Sauce. This sauce recipe can be found listed separately on this site.)
Saffron Shrimp Alfredo Sauce
10 small shrimp, peeled & deveined
1 T unsalted butter
1 T flour
1/2 C heavy cream
1/4 C dry white wine
pinch of red pepper & black pepper to taste
1/8 t Kashmiri chili powder
1/3 C grated Parmesan
Toss the prepared shrimp in Old Bay or Paul Prudhomme’s Seafood Magic
Saute shrimp in butter until almost done, then remove from heat
Add flour and make a roux
Add the cream, then the wine and spices
Add the cheese, stir and then return the shrimp to the pan
Serve over Saffron Pasta
Pair this sweet and tangy condiment with grilled chicken or pork, or curry dishes. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
2.5 C chopped peeled peaches
3/4 C finely chopped red onion
1/4 C packed brown sugar
1/4 C white wine vinegar
2 T minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4 t salt
1/2 minced seeded jalapeno
15 threads saffron
1/4-1/2 t Kashmiri chili
1/4 C dried cherries
1 T fresh lime juice
Combine first 6 ingredients in a saucepan
Bring to a boil
Cover, reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes
Stir in jalapeño, saffron, chili, cherries and cardamon
Simmer uncovered 5 minutes
Remove from heat and stir in juice
Cool to room temperature
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