Packets of roasted spices at my desk, their scent wafting periodically past my computer screen, have been distracting me for days. I must cook with them. Now.
So I head to the kitchen with the Turmeric Trail line of spice blends from Raghavan Iyer, local author and cooking teacher. The four blends, or masalas, each has its own distinctive flavor:
• Garam (the warming spices of India): cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns and bay leaves.
• Mumbai (city on the west coast of India): red chiles, coconut and sesame seeds.
• Madras (the city now called Chennai, on the southern coast): Thai chiles, coriander, cumin, mustard seed, fenugreek, Kashmiri chiles, turmeric and legumes.
• Chai (the northwest region): cardamom, black peppercorn, cinnamon and ginger.
Iyer, a native of Mumbai who has lived in Minnesota for 27 years, created these blends through a new business model at Midtown Global Market that offers a shared commercial space, called Kitchen in the Market.
For now, the spice blends are available at Kitchen in the Market and online at www.TurmericTrail.com (be sure to spell "turmeric" correctly; that first "r" throws off many). Iyer plans to expand the availability soon.
"I can't wait to see what people create with the spice blends," he said. But he has a suggestion for the Madras spices: a squash and sweet potato soup. (See a recipe at right.)
$7.50 for each (.3 oz. to 2 oz.); $25 for all four. After ordering online, the spices can be picked up at Midtown Global Market or shipped to you.