Boost up the flavors of your spices by ‘blooming’ them first to help them release their maximum flavor!
When using spices we often just add them in at the end of a dish or right at the beginning. While both methods will give you spice flavor you’re probably not realizing that by not blooming them first, you’re not helping them reach their maximum spice level. You see the key to great success in any dish with spices (albeit hot or just flavorful) is about timing. Granted you’ll get more flavor out of a dish if you add the spices when you first start cooking it like you would with chili rather than adding everything at the end. But timing is just half of the key; the other half is blooming the spices.
Okay, okay, okay ‘explain what blooming is Lori!’. I hear you guys loud and clear.
So blooming spices means you are heating them up to help release their natural flavors and essence. Whether you use whole or ground spices you want to heat them up either with a trace bit of oil in a pan just until you can “smell” the spices. Or you can just toss them in a pan (no oil) and heat them up. The latter part I prefer but you do have to watch it a bit more closely so you don’t burn them. But that’s it – just a few minutes in a pan and you’ll help your spices reach their maximum spice-ness.
Think about it this way – have you ever had nuts from a can? Just pop the lid and enjoy. They are good, right? Now, think about that time you had fresh, roasted, warm nuts. They just tasted better. Like they tasted more nuttier. Well that’s the same thing about spices. You’re helping the spices release their natural ‘oils’ and scents.