Grinding spices and making spice pastes
It is best to grind fresh spices or cooled roasted spices. Some are good whole, e.g. allspice, cinnamon and cloves, but for the rest grinding is needed to free the flavours. The best ways are:
- In a pestle and mortar: choose a deep, robust one that has a rough texture, then use a lot of force to grind them. It is very satisfying in a pre-modern way.
- In an electric coffee grinder: quick and easy, but use one dedicated for the spices only.
To make spice pastes
These are made by simply adding a little water to a dry spice mix, or grinding fresh spices like garlic and ginger with dry spices, herbs and little water.
Spice pastes are popular in Indian and Southeast Asian cuisines.