What's the best way to use the spices in your cabinet? We ask Dubai's top chefs
Cumin Origins Eastern Egypt
What is it? Seeds of the cumin herb
Flavour Spicy and slightly bitter
Recipe Cumin tapioca
Heat two teaspoons of vegetable oil in a wok.
When hot, add two teaspoons of whole cumin
seeds. When they crackle, add 500g boiled tapioca (cut into cubes) and 10g chopped green chilli.
Fry for a few minutes, then add one teaspoon of turmeric powder and one teaspoon of chilli powder. Mix well. Add salt to taste and fry until the tapioca is crispy brown. Add 20g chopped coriander and serve.
Chef Vinod Kumar at Qureshi Kebab & Kurry,
Country Club Hotel, Bur Dubai (04 398 8840)
Nutmeg Origins Indonesia
What is it? The nut from an
Flavour Warm and spicy
Recipe Potato croquettes
Bake three large potatoes at 220°C for an hour. Halve and scoop out the potato and put it through a ricer. In a saucepan, combine half a cup of water, three tablespoons of unsalted butter, one tablespoon of salt and a pinch of nutmeg and bring to the boil, slowly stirring in half a cup of flour. Reduce the heat and beat the mixture vigorously. Remove from heat; when cool, stir in two eggs. Refrigerate for
a day. To cook, form the mixture into patties and deep fry for three minutes in vegetable oil heated to 170°C.
Chef Neeray Pyaneeandee at
Rive Gauche, The Address
Dubai Marina (04 436 7777)
Vanilla Origins Madagascar,
Mexico and Tahiti
What is it? Pods from the vanilla orchid
Flavour Sweet with a boozy undercurrent
Recipe Vanilla rice pudding
Add 250ml milk, 250ml cream and one vanilla pod to a pot and bring to the boil.
Stir in 90g pudding rice and cook for
13 to 20 minutes, then remove from the heat. Beat six egg yolks and 90g sugar together in a bowl until pale, then beat slowly into the rice. Return to the pan and heat gently until the mixture thickens. Cool on ice and serve with fresh fruit or jam.
Chef Scott Price at Verre, Hilton Dubai Creek, Deira (04 212 7551)
Saffron Origins Greece, Spain and Iran
What is it? Stigmas of the saffron
Flavour A pungent, bitter, honey-like taste
Recipe Saffron rice Rinse 390g basmati rice in cold water for 12 hours. Drain and add 60g salt. Put in a pot and add enough water to cover the rice. Separately, heat a pan, add two tablespoons of corn oil and cook 20g almond slivers, 60g dry shiraz (zerish berries), 8g sugar, 8g rose water and 2g saffron. Simmer for five minutes. When the
rice is half cooked, add the mixture to the rice
and let it cook until 90 per cent done,
then bake for 20 minutes at 180°C.
Chef Haider Shirazi at Shabestan,
Radisson Blu Dubai Deira Creek
(04 222 7171)
Paprika Origins Hungary and Spain
What is it? Ground, dried capsicum
Flavour Sweet or spicy, depending
on its origins
Recipe Paprika potatoes
Wash 40g purple potato and 40g chard potato before cutting
them into quarters. Season with salt and pepper and steam
for 25 minutes. Season with a drizzle of olive oil,
salt, pepper and a tablespoon of paprika.
Chef Norberto Palacios at Asado, The Palace,
Downtown Burj Dubai (04 428 7888)
Tamarind Origins India
What is it? The pulp from a tart fruit
Flavour Very sour
Recipe Tamarind and cashew rice
Heat 50ml sunflower oil in a frying pan and add a teaspoon of mustard seeds. Once it splutters, add two springs of curry leaves, one teaspoon of turmeric powder, 30g roasted Bengal gram (chickpeas),
50g roasted cashews, two dried chillies (cut in two), a pinch of asafetida spice, a medium-sized red onion (finely chopped) and salt to taste. Sauté on a low
flame for three minutes. Add 100g tamarind pulp and cook for two
minutes, before increasing the heat.
Add 300g steamed basmati rice. When the rice is hot and evenly coated, serve.
Chef John Sinjobi at Indego, Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina (04 399 8888)
Cinnamon Origins Sri Lanka and India
What is it? Bark from a small evergreen tree
Flavour: Toasty and slightly spicy
Zabaglione In a bowl, add six egg yolks, 100g sugar, zest from half
a lemon, quarter of a tablespoon of cinnamon and the scrapings from inside a vanilla pod. Place the bowl containing the mixture in a water bath (a pot of boiling water) and beat until it’s light, fluffy and forms peaks. Serve with fresh berries.
Chef Nonna Livia at Medzo,
Wafi, Oud Metha (04 324 4100)
Sumac Origins Africa and North America
What is it? A crushed, dried berry
Flavour Sour, fruity and astringent
Add 25g fresh mint leaves, 25g parsley, sliced cucumber, tomato and
10g watercress lettuce into a salad bowl. Separately, pound 5g pomegranate seeds with a pinch of salt, 5ml olive oil, 5ml pomegranate syrup and 10g lemon juice. Mix the salad with 25g fried Arabic bread,
top with dressing and a sprinkling of sumac, then serve.
Chef Ahmad Kansou at Mays El-Reem,
JW Marriott Dubai, Deira (04 607 7009)