Chinese five-spice is easy to come by, as is Japanese seven-spice shichimi togarashi, and ain't nobody got time to make baharat, vadouvan or Moroccan ras el hanout and its more than 12 ingredients. But sometimes it's worth making simple seasonings from scratch.
Homemade spice blends are going to be better value than an impulse-bought jar from a gourmet grocer any day. Stored in the pantry, these DIY mixes (and recipe ideas) are an easy way to spice up dinnertime.
Adam Liaw's Mexican seasoning mix
Put down the yellow Old El Paso sachet and try this on nachos (pictured above) and taco fillings.
- 1 tsp celery salt, or ordinary salt
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp hot chilli powder
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp dried oregano
Adam Liaw's shichimi togarashi
Shichimi togarashi is a Japanese spice mix. There are lots of variations, but here's how I make it.
- 1 orange
- ½ sheet nori
- 1 tbsp green Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 tsp white sesame seeds
- ½ tsp black sesame seeds
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tbsp red chilli powder (preferably Korean)
- Heat your oven to 100C. Peel the orange with a vegetable peeler, trying to get only the rind and not the white pith. Place the orange rind and nori on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and dry in the oven for 30 minutes, until the orange rind and nori are both dry and brittle. Crumble the dried nori into a small food processor and process to a coarse powder.
- Place the Sichuan peppercorns, white sesame seeds and black sesame seeds in a small saucepan and swirl constantly over medium heat for about 2 minutes until toasted and fragrant. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the peppercorns, seeds and orange peel to a coarse powder (you should still see some whole sesame seeds). Combine with the nori, ginger and chilli powder. Stored in an airtight container, this will keep for about two months.
Karen Martini's garam masala
Lamb shoulder shawarma to be stuffed inside pita pockets. Photo: William Meppem
Adam Liaw's shawarma mix
This mix makes double so save it for a second Sunday roast (pictured above).
Kylie Kwong's Sichuan pepper and salt
Pastrami spice rub
Massage into salmon fillets overnight for a peppery crust.