An idea - has anybody tried?

Discussion in 'Cookery' started by supermatelot, May 12, 2010.

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  1. Just been thinking..I love cooking but many dishes I'd like to recreate require buying ingredients that would only be used once in a blue moon. I dont really have the space for a spice rack housing little used exotic stuff for example. I know there are specialist supermarkets selling cheap ingreidients but once again - it involves storage.

    What would be the likely answer if I went to a Chinese takeaway and just asked for the base ingredients for say number 234 off the menu?

    Would an indian takeaway be likely to just sell me the herbs and spices that go into a particular dish?
  2. Although they no longer sell spice packs The Curry Club has some suggestions here for where to find ingredients.
  3. Yeah, Ive seen the curry club. looks good but it does require a degree of planning. I can't explain but..say I come home from work and just decide I fancy xyz but want to cook it myself. Thats the scenario I'm basing this on.
    I tend not to plan meals - I make things up as I go along. I have no idea what I will be eating this evening, let alone tomorrow.
  4. If you look in the supermarkets you will find Kitchen Guru who do cards of enough of each spice to make whatever the recipe card is for. I got spicy dahl which came with four blisters of spice and a bag of dahl.

    Kitchen Guru website:
  5. Go to your local takeaway and ask - if you go there regularly already they are more likely to let you have stuff.

    At one stage I was going to the local keebab place and getting a free bottle of wine or assorted freebies thrown in. That was due to going there virtually every night from re-opening on a change of ownership. After about 3 months a change of diet regime was in order.
  6. I dont use them very often to be honest. I like the idea of the kitchen guru website markin posted - but like I said - I'd prefer a more ad hoc method.

    If I fancy Chicken mahkni in an hour but want to cook it myself - would it be realistic for me to drive 3 miles to the nearest indian and just ask for the base ingredients, ghee, spices etc?

    I suppose I could always just go and ask them but 1 - don't want to look a cnut and 2 - has anybody here ever tried it?
  7. Dunno whether my local takes-aways would oblige: like you I don't use themn that regularly.

    I do know that my local supermarkets have packs of the "stuff" - but it's better fresh.

    Waitrose (one near you?) are pretty good for the odd handful of this-that-n-the-other, but where I am (Aylesbury, Bicester, Milk'n'Beans, Candleford), the best sources are little 'ethnic' shops half-a-mile from the shopping centre, market stalls, even Londis - the li'l shops often staying open till silly o'clock. Same was true in Woking where I lived before (with 2 pukka Italian delis in the same street !!!)

    Do you reside in an ethnic Danishally pure part of England devoid of such vendors?

    Perhaps you haven't taken the time to find out where your local 'ethnic' shopping happens.
  8. Don't think that much of the idea to be honest. How much would you like in terms of spices? How often would you go to the restaurant/takeaway. They will have the spices separate in the kitchen and it maybe finicky for them to make them up. Buying your own will be cheaper, and also you are asking them to give you the spices to make your own when they want you to buy theirs.

    If you do have a spice shelf then you can easily make up your own variations and it's inexpensive. I have a cupboard dedicated to spices, but then what I did was to make up some pots of the combinations I like and then I just need to open the appropriate jar and take oput a spoonful. Sure you need to dedicate a small amount of work to set it up, but it doesn't take long, and once done with say three or four combination jars then you are set. Saves me a huge amount of time, and the mixes are mine, perhaps the takeaway will be a bit heavy on one thing but you can correct that with your own recipie.

    Golf Lima
  9. No room for a spice rack? Really? Try a box about 8"x8"x8". If you can't fit that in your home then it's probably time to move.
  10. I had no room for all my spices, so I bought a rack and screwed it onto the outside of an existing cupboard door, now I can go spicetastic with gay abandon.
  11. On the contrary - most spices come dried. Some herbs are better fresh, such as basil, parsley or flat leaf coriander, but some other herbs such as oregano are just as good, if not better, when dried. My wall-mounted spice rack contains the following;

    Curry shelf; turmeric, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, black pepper, cardamom pods, nutmeg seeds, ground cumin, cumin seeds, dried chillies and bay leaves.

    Everything else shelf; cinnamon pods, ground cinnamon, paprika, chilli powder, dried oregano, white ground pepper, dried tarragon, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, whole cloves, star anise and, of course, gyros spice. :)

    The above rack doesn't take up a lot of space, doesn't cost much at all, and contains just about every spice needed to make the basics of most Indian and Chinese dishes. I appreciate that you want ad-hoc recipes, but not everyone can do a Keith Floyd and get away with it - you need to practice in slow time first. Try making a couple of recipes you like, after making them once or twice you'll establish your own twists and shortcuts.

    If you do decide to buy some/all of the whole spices listed above, I can also recommend buying a decent granite pestle and mortar. Grinding your own spices enhances the flavour ten-fold.
  12. I live on Dartmoor. Nowhere is near.

    Does anybody here takeaways actually use fresh spice or is it all the jarred variety? I thought they all used a base "sauce" regardless.

    Hence my question really.
  13. Ones in my experience have a tray of dried spices which they combine as per need.
    Indian restaurants and takeaways usually have a base sauce ready but then add the necessary from the spice dishes. This is what I do. Do you want the base sauce recipie? I make up a big pot and freeze it in portions. Makes a huge positive difference.
  14. I think I'll go with that advice.

    Cheers fellas :eek:
  15. A couple of Tupperware containers mix spices you would commonly use i.e. one for Chinese one for Indian mix well and use as required supplemented with star species of the day for a change works for me.