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Archive for the ‘New Products’ Category

By Vanessa Gillard

In both its whole and ground form, turmeric adds a ginger-like yet earthy flavour that is a great addition to many types of cuisine.

In both its whole and ground form, turmeric adds a ginger-like yet earthy flavour that is a great addition to many types of cuisine.

In our ongoing and far-reaching search for the finest quality and best tasting spices possible, The Silk Road is always adding new spices from around the world to our array of products. Most recently we’ve added a new variety of turmeric from the region of Alleppey, India.

Among the varied colours and textures in the rows of jars at The Silk Road, turmeric is one of the most easily identified spices due to its incredible golden-yellow hue. Turmeric is a rhizome that is closely related to ginger, and it smells a bit like ginger and citrus, but with an earthy and bitter taste. It’s easy to detect in Indian masalas, curries and many types of North African tagines, and it is also used as a colouring agent in margarines and mustards in the West. Be careful when working with this one because it stains hands, counters and utensils.

Turmeric has been appearing more and more often in the media, with a lot of hype about the many benefits of this incredible spice. It is a natural antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. It is commonly used to disinfect cuts and burns and to treat arthritis. It is also thought to help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease and cancer. These benefits are attributed to the primary flavouring and colouring compound in turmeric – curcumin.

Alleppey (also known as Alappuzha) is a lovely town near the southern tip of India in the province of Kerala. The turmeric that grows in this region is known for its high volume of curcumin. The high curcumin content makes Alleppey turmeric a little darker and a little stronger than our standard Indian turmeric.

Whether you’re making your own masala or adding it to your smoothie to reap the wide range of benefits, both Alleppey turmeric and our standard turmeric are great additions to your kitchen.

 

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Bitters

Here at The Silk Road, we’ve long had an amateur interest in spirits and cocktails. Sometime around last Christmas, though, our interest became slightly more…professional. Our home mixology got a little more serious, the liquor cabinet began to bulge at the seams, and we embarked on a series of alchemical experiments involving infused alcohol. The results were good: home-made spiced rum, falernum, black-sesame aquavit, orgeat and most importantly, bitters.

For those who aren’t familiar with them, bitters are strong infusions of herbs, spices and roots that are added to cocktails to enhance the flavours and add an undertone of bitter complexity. They can also be used in cooking and baking for an extra punch of flavour. Bitters do contain alcohol, but as they are used in minute quantities, it is akin to using vanilla extract. As such, they are also terrific in non-alcoholic beverages. And the herbal compounds are excellent for settling upset stomachs and aiding in digestion.

Roots and botanicals

All the ingredients you need for making your own bitters.

After playing around with making and using bitters, it occured to us that Calgary could use a good source of bitters beyond the two most commonly available brands. Since almost all bitters are flavoured with herbs, spices and roots, it seemed to make sense to carry them in our shop. And so, to come to the point, we now have an excellent selection of bitters, including Peychaud’s, Regans’ #6, Bitter Truth, Dr. Adam’s, Bittered Sling, Angostura, Scrappy’s, Bittermens, Urban Moonshine and Fee Brothers. We also carry a new line of botanical roots and herbs for making your own infusions and a number of top-notch cocktail books.

Bitters at The Silk Road

The bitters selection at The Silk Road.

If you’re in the Calgary area and can visit us in person, we also have testers bottles of most bitters so you can try before you buy. Stop in — it’s happy hour!

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Here’s a question we get asked a lot: “What’s your hottest spice blend?” Vindaloo Curry Powder comes up a fair bit, as does Hot Chili Powder. Then we created our Inca Fire Salt, which has been our go-to answer for the past few months. Super spicy and delicious, it’s an incredible addition to popcorn, eggs and fries. But of course it’s a seasoned salt, so it’s not great for every purpose.

Well, in our never-ending quest to provide delicious new flavours, we’ve upped the ante again. Inferno Peri Peri Blend is our newest blend, and we’re determined to silence anyone who claims that we don’t have anything hot enough for their palates (of course, we also have Ghost Chiles, but that’s in a different category entirely). Peri Peris are hot little chiles also known as Bird’s Eye Chiles, and they were introduced to Africa and India by the Portuguese. They are most commonly made into a hot sauce that is used throughout Southern Africa and in Portugal for grilled and barbeques meats. We’ve made a dry spice blend of Bird’s Eyes, lemon, onion, roasted garlic, and smoked paprika. It’s hot, toasty, a touch smoky, and great on a huge variety of things you want to heat up. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Bird's Eye Chiles

Bird's Eye Chiles (or Peri Peris) used in Inferno Peri Peri Blend.

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We’ve been working hard all weekend, and we’ve got a bunch of new blends up on the site. Most importantly, we have finally decided on our final recipe for Garam Masala. Cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, mace, nutmeg, cardamom and black pepper. It’s really warm, complex and exotic – check it out:  http://www.silkroadspices.ca/products/garam-masala.

Our Hand-Blended Garam Masala

Our Hand-Blended Garam Masala

We also have a new Texas barbeque rub known as “Driftwood, Texas.” It’s just the thing for true Texas-style barbeque, where meat (usually beef brisket) is slow-cooked over a pit or in a smoker using charcoal. But if you’re not quite ready to spend an entire day cooking, this blend also works great as a dry rub for meat done on the grill.

Add to that Lemon Pepper and Pickling Spices, and it’s been a productive couple of days.

http://www.silkroadspices.ca/t/categories/spice-blends/

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