There are so many food trends being discussed this year it can be nearly impossible to figure out what is really hot. Or, one could say whatever you want to be a food trend is one. Either way,
ethnic foods are on the list for 2018 as authentic dishes or “mash-ups.” Tie that with consumer’s desires to eat foods that keep them healthy and it’s easy to see why the spices used in curries are appearing more often in recipes and food products.
Food companies and restaurant operators need to stay abreast of these trends and understand how popular spices and cooking methods can enhance their products. In this post we’re inspired by Caroline Segall’s Foodie Friday to take a deeper look at curry. We decided to look, not just at prepared curry, but the spices that go into making curries because they vary widely, and many of the spices in curry are used other places.
Most curries include varying amounts of cumin, coriander, cardamom, turmeric, cayenne, cloves, ginger and dried mustard. Milder recipes use equal amounts of each spice but for those who like spicier flavors, add extra cumin, coriander and cardamom. It can be hard to know what to do to change recipes to meet individual palates without research, but One Green Planet has a post detailing the differences between the common Indian spices.
The spices best known in Indian cooking are even more popular today because of the increased interest in healthy eating. Each of the spices above has amazing medicinal properties home cooks and consumers in restaurants desire. According to Organic Facts, spices are known to aid in the treatment of digestive issues, diabetes, cancer, asthma, circulation, managing cholesterol, and many other common ailments. They’re also good sources for nutrients including iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, and vitamins A, B6, C and E.
Based on this information, and of course the flavors these spices impart, food companies and chefs are incorporating the individual spices into very different yet flavorful signature dishes.
A few examples from our friends we thought were unique:
Jerk Pork Tenderloin rubbed with brown sugar, ground allspice, cayenne pepper, ground cinnamon, ground cloves and ground cumin. Anova’s recipe is a favorite.
Isaac Cerny from Pistache French Bistro serves a grilled venison tenderloin he’s first marinated in several types of mustard. He coats it with a mixture of juniper berries, clove, sugar and orange zest to create a beautiful full-flavored glaze.
The Bay Area’s Curry Up Now serves a variety of burritos filled with a turmeric flavored rice. Achieving a balance of spices is important to the owners who know their spice-forward dishes are often a new experience for their customers.
For those wanting to serve something sweet yet healthy, we discovered grilled pears with cumin and caramelized nuts.
Christmas puddings and gingerbread are well-known for their cinnamon and clove flavorings. These types of dishes have been popular in various forms for hundreds of years, before modern day refrigeration. It’s believed the heavy use of spices was a way to cover up the smell and flavor of spoiled food. Thank goodness today we enjoy their flavors without the cover up.
The June issue of Bon Appetit has a wide range of dishes in their “Healthyish” section featuring a variety of the spices we’re discussing here. They include grilled pork chops with a pineapple-turmeric glaze, a charred bean and pea salad with cumin and ginger, and pork shoulder steaks with grilled mustard greens including cinnamon and mustard seeds.
So, the next time you’re looking for something new to serve, or product to market, remember to look at the health benefits of all the ingredients involved. See if there are ways to enhance your product with healthy additives. You might be surprised by what you find.