4.13.2009

Win A Copy Of Modern Spice


Metrocurean is pleased to offer a little contest this week to give away a copy of local food writer Monica Bhide's fabulous new Indian cookbook "Modern Spice."

The cookbook, with mouthwatering pomegranate shrimp on the cover and a foreward by Mark Bittman, dispels myths about Indian cuisine being all about the curry and introduces readers to modern recipes like paneer and fig pizza and salmon with kumquat chutney. There's also a fabulous chapter on cocktails, including Guava Bellinis, a Tamarita, a tamarind spin on the margarita, and Rum and Roses, using Rooh Afza rose syrup.

I've always loved Monica's engaging personal essays, which readers will find sprinkled among the recipes. An engineer turned food writer, Monica was born in New Delhi, raised in the Middle East and now lives in the DC area.

To enter to win a copy of Monica's book, leave a comment below and tell us about your favorite spice — Indian or not — and how you use it. Monica will choose a lucky winner, whom I'll announce April 21, the day the book officially hits the shelves. Be sure to sure to leave your comment by Friday at 9 p.m.

50 comments:

graduallygreener said...

Saffron! I just wish it weren't the most expensive thing per pound around.

carmencooks said...

cumin :) i love its smokiness and unique flavor.

p.murray said...

Being from Maryland, my favorite spice may still be Old Bay. It works perfectly for almost any sauteed vegetable dish, giving a muted bit of heat and saltiness. Comes in handy when I'm out of cumin or cayenne.

Luke said...

I really like fresh dill. It seems to work with everything and adds a nice green note,

Stephanie said...

I love cumin - its smokiness adds so much to meats, guacamole, or even plain white rice. Without this spice, it would be a very bland world indeed!

Amy said...

Cilantro. I use it all the time. I especially love it in black beans served with scrambled eggs.

Kevin Baker said...

Freshly cracked black pepper. Maybe I am too simple, but I don't often look much past the black peppercorn grinder sitting by the stove. I can't say I've ever really attempted Indian spices, but that cover photo makes me want to eat the book right now.

Dskco said...

Good ol' Black Pepper. I like it when it's freshly ground because its much stronger in flavor and it makes everything taste better

Amy said...

Probably dried oregano. It really kicks up the taste of vinegarettes and gives a good Mediterranean vibe to any dish.

liquidsunshine said...

Cardamon. I love chai tea, but I think I actually make it as an excuse to taste cardamon.

Jenny said...

Ginger! It makes everything better, whether it's sweet or savory.

lorbecker said...

I'm going to add a vote for ginger as well. I eat the candied kind plain, and love to add both the fresh and powdered varieties to all sorts of dishes.

JPW said...

Cumin. You just know it's there.

eva said...

Whenever my aunt visits from Syria, she brings with her a giant bag of Aleppo pepper and even more crushed dried mint leaves. Both are my go-to spices for just about anything. Friends rave about my salad dressing, which is a simple combination of olive oil, red wine vinegar, and a sprinkling of the mint and paper, with a quick squirt of lemon juice. It's very basic, but very flavorful and I soak it up in my nightly salad. Plus, it's my mom's signature dressing -- the best type of comfort there is.

Lauren said...

Lemon pepper on steamed veg or fish. My mom never used it growing up, but we both recently decided we have missed out on a good thing!

Sarah said...

I know it's a spice blend, but I'm going to vote for a good curry powder. I use it in everything, from shrimp to a mango soup I make with only 3 ingredients: mangoes, plain yogurt, and plenty of curry powder!

capitalcooking said...

Cinnamon. It is delicious in desserts as well as some savory dishes.

LT said...

Count me among the cumin fans. You have to start with the whole seeds, toast them yourself and then grind them. It goes well in EVERYTHING - Mexican, Indian, in rubs on fish and meat, I even love it in tuna salad!

Bezzy said...

Cumin too. I like it because it doesn't feel like a "special" spice - I just have it at home and all you need is a little shake to make a meal that feels exotic and fancy. One of my favorite fast meals is cumin and coriander sprinkled tilapia, pan fried. Easy and delish when served with fresh mango.

PlethoraOfPinatas said...

Ahh, the almighty chili. From passillo powder to Indian finger chilis, to New Mexico Hatch, everything I make has some element of chili.

Sarah K. Brown said...

I'm going to go with salt. It's the essential ingredient. Of course, I may need more of an education in other spices, which is all the more reason for me to win the book!

Patricia said...

Red pepper. Just wakes everything up.

K. Zimmerman said...

My favorite spice is always my latest discovery from the lady spice vendor at the Bangalore city market. I love buying fragrant whole spices wrapped up in newspaper and tied with string. Last week I was introduced to maval petals. Amazing!

If only my spice supplier would open up a stall at the Takoma Park farmers market on Sunday mornings...

foodie thoughts said...

Hot red pepper! Being Korean, it dominates our cuisine and there's a reason why all my non-Korean friends love Korean food!

Danielle said...

Masala. I love it in eggs!

Sharon said...

DIRT! believe it or not, i tried Todd's Dirt (toddsdirt.com) at the DC food and wine festival and was immediately hooked. it's a blend of 14 spices and you really can use it on absolutely everything.

Alexandra said...

Cardamom...I love the smell and taste, and the memories of Zanzibar it exudes. It is an excellent addition to the sweet cream base of homemade ice cream and to my morning cup of java.

Lisa Shapiro said...

Turmeric - we use it in our Sunday morning French Toast! It's delicious! It is so subtle that it could trick even the most astute of pallets. Most think it's either orange or ginger. We call it the secret ingredient!

DC Sunshowers said...

Turmeric! I grew up learning how to use it in so many Indian dishes. Plus, it has a lot of great medicinal uses too! I mix it with some yogurt for a very cooling face mask.

Kate said...

Fennel is a new favorite. I recently made roasted pork covered in garlic, lemon, olive oil and fennel and it was delicious!

Sonia P said...

Moms hand made Garam Masala - this is a unique combination of a whole bunch of indian spices. I get asked all the time - ooh...what is this flavor, it tastes and smells so good.

Leah said...

ah...but nothing says Eastern Europe like a few caraway seeds... (pumpernickel, anyone?)

candysu said...

Smoked paprika! ... and cumin.

David said...

Cloves! You can make homemade Falernum with cloves and what could possibly be better than making your own liqueurs!!!

Erin said...

Oh, cinnamon...you add a little zip to morning coffee, a hint of home to muffins and French toast, a dusting of warmth to chili...I can't get enough of you.

prawns said...

Salt: I infused Kosher or Sea Salt with any herbs(especially rosemary), zest, or other spice for grilling and baking (use coffee or curry salt topping for cupcakes.

caroline said...

Not sure if it's technically considered a spice, but I love garlic-- I wouldn't be a true Italian American if I did not! It's so versatile and makes the house smell amazing when you saute it.

chef4cook said...

Cumin, I add it to corn dishes. Cinnamon, cilantro, I add to Vietnamese dishes.
Fennel, I love it raw, braised, grilled or sauteed!

Brian said...

Cumin - It fills my apartment with a vibrant aroma, but without the over powering taste. Cumin chicken on a bed of greens makes a great wintery salad.

Brian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vera said...

My favorite spice is one that I make using my heavy duty Sumeet Indian spice grinder (sumeet.net)that I just love. I toast dried ancho chiles over a gas stove flame, break them up and discard the stems and seeds, and grind the chiles to a powder..."molido" in Spanish. I put either a little or a lot in almost everything I cook. I love the earthy warm background heat, even in things that normally wouldn't have chiles.

Dave Kumar said...

Cardamom ... just love the flavor and complexity. Cardamom is one reason Zaytinya's Turkish Coffee Chocolate cake will be on my "Five Bites" list whenever I get around to sending one in ....

P.S. I was in Bangalore last week and picked up a great cook book -- all vegetarian, fresh and modern Indian dishes. Now I just have to get around to trying the recipes ....

KTMoomau said...

Lavender-

I had the best lavender flavored custard with a lavender flecked sugar top that I am trying to recreate. I also love lavender in vinaigrette, cocktails and it looks so nice on top of a trifle. Then again it is also lovely to use to scent your home and for bath products. Really it is a very well rounded spice. The smell just reminds me of a fresh summer day and the taste is sweet, but not too sweet.

Barbara said...

My favorite is cilantro, I just wish everyone felt the same way so I could use it all the time!

Rita said...

Paprika is my favorite spice, it gives food a wonderful kick of heat. I even love using it in sweet and spicy dishes to contrast its flavor. I've seemingly amended classics to include this spice, such as my coq au vin recipe which includes a dash of paprika in the wine sauce.

Fred Bonnett said...

My favorite is Hungarian smoked paprika. It adds such depth to a dish.

baji said...

Garam Masala (which is kind of a cheat b/c it's just a blend of various spices) which can be used for chicken, ground beef, chick peas, potatoes, you name it, for that extra zing.

Monica S. said...

Herbs de provence. I absolutely love this blend of herbs and its one that I end up using in a lot of my winter dishes. I use it to jazz up roasted sweet potatoes (instead of jsut using traditional rosemary). I throw it in a number of soups that I make, including minestrone and white bean. I also throw it into a garlicky butternut squash penne dish. I love how it imparts a subtle floral note to the food while still giving it a robust woodsy/earthy flavor. It's a great substitution for the uninspiring "Italian Seasoning" blend.

Philip said...

Cilantro! I couldn't imagine guac without it!

Amanda said...

Thanks for all the fantastic comments and stay tuned 4/21 for the winner.