Mighty Spice Cookbook: Fast, Fresh and Vibrant Dishes Using No More Than 5 Spices for Each Recipe by John Gregory-Smith

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Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Szechuan noodles with lamb and peanuts

    • Breadcrumbs on February 26, 2015

      p. 190 – Undeterred by the fact I didn’t have lamb I thought I’d give this dish a shot using the boneless skinless chicken breasts I had on hand. I’m definitely glad I did as we quite enjoyed this dish. mr bc’s love of leeks attracted me to the recipe as I struggle to get him excited about Asian food and it turned out that did the trick as he didn’t hesitate to tuck in to second helpings of these noodles. In terms of prep, like others I crushed and toasted my Sichuan peppercorns in a dry pan before cooking in order to bring out their oils and flavour. I doubled up on the leeks as I wanted to use up what I had on hand. I also boosted the chilis to add a little more heat as the finished dish was a pretty tame for our taste. I finished the dish with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil. I’d make this again without hesitation. Photos here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1003840?commentId=9452562#9452562

    • NikkiPixie on March 07, 2016

      This was fabulous! Only change was to add a bit of sliced capsicum as well.

  • Stir-fried beef with black pepper and basil

    • Breadcrumbs on February 26, 2015

      p. 89 – A quick and flavour-packed dish that is greater than the sum of its parts. I liked the use of beef tenderloin in this recipe as it ensured super-tender meat with no marinating (or time to marinate) required. While I enjoyed the tang of the balsamic, I think I’d try black vinegar next time as I found the flavour of the balsamic to stand out a little bit and I suspect a less bold vinegar would lead to a more balanced dish. The last minute addition of the fresh basil gave the dish a nice boost of freshness and visual appeal. mr bc loved this and I’ll definitely make it again. Photos here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1003839?commentId=9452570#9452570

    • fairyduff on January 25, 2020

      Taking the hint from the note left by Breadcrumbs, I halved the amount of Balsamic vinegar, which I think is a good call. I augmented this recipe with a touch of chilli paste added with the garlic, and plenty of veggies - bok choy, bean sprouts, capsicums, onions, cabbage, mushrooms.

  • Prawns with ginger and chilli

    • Breadcrumbs on February 27, 2015

      p. 138 – Sweet, sour and salty with a kick of heat, what’s not to like? Quick and easy prep just adds to the appeal of this dish making it perfect for a satisfying weeknight meal. My shrimp were large vs jumbo so cooking time was even shorter than set out in the book. Unfortunately my curry leaves were MIA so we went without. If the final dish suffered for it we were none the wiser as this dish was a hit with all diners. We especially loved the tangles of caramelized onions that swaddled some of the shrimp. I finished the dish with a spritz of lime, a toss of chopped green onions and a sprinkle of sea salt. I’ll definitely make this again. Photos here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1003839?commentId=9454183#9454183

  • Szechuan chicken and cucumber salad

    • Breadcrumbs on March 27, 2012

      p. 37 - Truly scrumptious! A hot, sour, sweet and spicy dish that made a quick and satisfying weeknight meal. I prepared the dressing and roasted my chicken the day before to save time. I adapted the recipe to our tastes by substituting lime for the lemon juice and Thai bird chilies for the mild chili flakes since we like our dishes spicy and, I’ve never heard of mild chili flakes in any event. We were both famished this evening so to make the dish more substantial, I also tossed in some noodles. This was so flavourful and exceeded our expectations on all counts. I’ll definitely be making it again as it’s perfect for dinner on a late or busy night. Photos here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/805269#7240901

    • L.Nightshade on March 02, 2015

      Yikes! Hot, hot, hot! This is the first recipe from the book that I didn't feel needed the spicing amped up a bit. It's fun to pour the chile flakes and Szechuan pepper into the hot oil; they sizzle and release a wonderful, sneezy aroma. As usual, I substituted coconut aminos for the soy sauce, and omitted the sugar. The aminos are a bit sweet on their own. I also didn't halve and deseed the cucumber, as I used an essentially seedless English variety. I put a few stray baby greens under the salad to fill it out, as this served as our dinner. What a lovely dish! A great combination of flavors, with the cilantro, lemon, chiles, and Szechuan pepper all maintaining their distinct characteristics, and enhancing each other at the same time. While it was hot, it was not painfully so, but I'll probably cut back the chile flakes a bit more when I make it again. And I will make it again. Such an easy dish, and a perfect use for leftover roasted chicken.

    • lilham on April 12, 2012

      Like Breadcrumbs, I also really really love this dish. I made this into a one dish meal by doubling the dressing and tossing the salad with egg noodles. I also substituted chilli flakes with a fresh red chilli. A great no-effort quick weeknight meal.

  • Vietnamese chicken with chilli and lemongrass

    • Breadcrumbs on February 27, 2015

      p. 56 – We absolutely loved this dish. Prep was quick, and the mini-Cuisinart made short work of the lemongrass, resulting in a fine chop with the final product looking like short fibers vs a paste in my case. I too had about a cup of chopped lemongrass. I’ve added an “in-wok” close up photo, which gives a pretty good sense of the texture. I used 2 Thai bird chilis and the heat was perfect for us. I also finished the dish with a spritz of lime and tucked wedges into the dish so folks good add more if they wished. I found that the Lemongrass immediately soaked up the oil in the pan and some of it subsequently caramelized in the wok. We loved these little salty-crispy lemongrass/garlic/chili clusters. I served steamed Jasmine rice on the side and the Shrimp with Chili and Ginger from this book. Photos here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1003838?commentId=9454178#9454178

    • kari500 on April 09, 2020

      Really delicious and fairly easy. I usually serve it over rice instead of the noodles, but no objection to the noodles.

    • stockholm28 on February 03, 2015

      This is a simple dish that can easily be made on a weeknight. It has a nice balance of flavor. I substituted a Serrano for the red chili and wanted a little more heat in the dish. I'd add another chili pepper next time.

  • Indian stir-fried cauliflower (Gobi Masala)

    • Gio on February 15, 2015

      13 Feb 2015. Page 172. An excellent side dish when you can't think of what to serve. Probably takes about 30 minutes, if that. Flavorful without any one element prominent, especially not the garam masala which some people have trouble with.

  • Indonesian fried rice (Nasi goreng)

    • Gio on May 09, 2013

      Sep 9, 2012. A quick, easy and delicious rice. Spicy, and full of umami from the shrimp paste and garam masala. Used 2 small serranos,kept the seeds in, used 1/2 a red bell (capsicum) but seeded and de-ribbed then roughly chopped it. Pg. 186

  • Stir-fried squid with chilli and coriander

    • kari500 on March 05, 2016

      Can sub shrimp or scallops

    • shoffmann on November 12, 2018

      This was good despite the relatively short ingredients list. If I made it again, I would make a point to dry the squid before throwing it in the wok because the dish turned out a lot saucier than I expected based on the photo in the book.

  • Kerala korma

    • amraub on March 28, 2012

      Not the most visually appealing dish, but it is a comforting, mild curry.

  • Jetalah pineapple, cucumber and chilli salad

    • amraub on June 12, 2012

      A nice, refreshing salad.

  • Chinese pork dumpling soup

    • amraub on March 28, 2012

      Broth was excellent, but dumplings needed more flavour.

  • Grilled Thai sea bass with chilli, mint and roasted peanuts

    • amraub on November 18, 2012

      The fish was nice, but the full dish didn't feel like it fully came together. It might work better with ingredients that were more finely chopped. I also didn't get much heat from the chili pepper and would at least double it next time.

  • Black pepper and chilli-seared tuna with a carrot and apple salad

    • amraub on March 28, 2012

      Salad is great on its own as a side dish for other Asian meals.

    • L.Nightshade on March 02, 2015

      Mr. NS made this dish, while I was elbow deep in another cooking project. He made a couple changes, subbed cashews for the peanuts, as I'm not eating peanuts, and didn't grind them, just tossed them in the salad. He also forgot to add the mint. It was pretty quick going, even grating by hand; it would be a breeze if a food processor was used. And it turned out just fine anyway! The salad was bright and fresh, with a little bite (I suspect Mr. NS used a liberal hand with the chiles). The dressing, with fish sauce and lime juice sparked up the tuna, even nice with a bit of the dressing spooned over the fish.

  • Estella's Mexican beef-filled peppers with a pecan sauce

    • amraub on June 12, 2012

      I wasn't thrilled with this recipe. It came out a bit bland and too watery for me. I doubled the chili flakes, but still didn't get much from them. I should've followed other recipe advice for this book and doubled the cumin and cloves as well. He instructs you to finely chop the tomatoes. I'm wondering if they also should've been seeded as well to reduce the moisture in the mixture. My tomatoes were a bit on the large side and seemed to be entirely too much for the beef, so I left one out. I'd be tempted to try just using tomato paste instead for this if I were to make the recipe again.

  • Chilli and basil scallops

    • amraub on May 03, 2012

      Very quick, easy, and flavourful. The onions were just a touch salty for my taste from the fish sauce.

    • L.Nightshade on March 02, 2015

      This was dinner in a flash. Sauté some chopped red chiles and garlic, add some thinly sliced red onion. Add the scallops. Add sauce (soy sauce, fish sauce, and sugar is called for, I used coconut aminos and fish sauce, and didn't add the sugar), top with basil, toss and serve. Mr. Nightshade gave it five stars, stated it's dinner party-worthy, and I tend to agree. Very tasty.

  • Dark chocolate, clove and cinnamon brownies

    • DKennedy on January 29, 2015

      Recipe says 2 1/4 c. butter but it should read 2 1/4 cubes or 9 0z. These come out very gooey. Cook for a lot longer and consider adding more flour.

  • Sticky Szechuan pork with sesame seeds

    • DKennedy on January 21, 2015

      I made this to serve alongside the Kandy eggplant salad. Very tasty.

  • Feta, walnut and nigella seed salad

    • DKennedy on September 10, 2012

      I absolutely love this salad.

  • Kandy black pepper and soy aubergine salad

    • DKennedy on March 23, 2014

      P, 34 Pretty tasty.

  • Pomegranate, fennel, orange and watercress salad

    • L.Nightshade on February 09, 2015

      The pomegranate arils were lovely, especially with the slightly bitter cress, and the anise flavors. The colors are indeed beautiful, so nice in a winter salad. I served it with the Malay curry mussels which was a great combination.

  • Gung bao chicken

    • L.Nightshade on March 02, 2015

      Because this dish called for 4 tablespoons of soy sauce, substituting the coconut aminos hurt the flavor. It's fine in small amounts, but, well, it's not soy sauce. Obviously, that is no fault of the recipe! But makes it a bit hard for me to do a fair judgement. It was good. The aminos doesn't taste like soy sauce, and cashews don't have nearly as much flavor as peanuts would have. But the chicken was amazingly moist and tender, which isn't always the case with breast meat. The little bites of chile and ginger perked me right up. A bit leftover was even good the next day. I liked the description of the author's memory of this dish. I've also been in a home in the hutong in Beijing, and I could just picture a steaming bowl of this dish being consumed with snow falling in the courtyard.

  • Vietnamese star anise and lemongrass chicken claypot

    • L.Nightshade on March 02, 2015

      We felt this was comforting, but a little bit boring. It would have been more appealing to us with a little more spicing, and the addition of something fresh at the finish, chopped scallions or cilantro would have worked.

  • Pueblan almond duck

    • L.Nightshade on February 07, 2015

      Very easy, weeknight possible. Lovely sauce. The sweetness of the tomatoes and the heat of the chiles paired so well with the rich duck. But the sauce would be good with other things too. It's quite like a romesco, without the garlic. I might try it with prawns.

  • Malay yellow mussel curry

    • L.Nightshade on March 02, 2015

      I made the recipe exactly as written, except for an additional dusting of chile flakes upon serving. Not a hot-spicy dish, but pleasantly complex. I removed each mussel from its shell in my bowl, and ate it with a soupspoon full of the delicious broth!

  • Sri Lankan fried rice with cashew nuts and egg

    • lilham on April 25, 2012

      This is very easy to put together with a rice cooker. I substituted with Thai Jasmine, and also doubled the amount of carrots.

  • Sri Lankan devilled monkfish

    • lilham on April 25, 2012

      I substituted the monkfish frozen Hake fillets, which are a lot cheaper. The sauce is very very flavoursome and effectively mask the fishiness of the frozen fish.

  • Vietnamese turmeric and chilli spiced cod with rice noodles, peanuts and herbs (Cha ca la vong)

    • lilham on August 12, 2013

      We didn't like this at all. Mr lilham commented the cod tasted like posh fish fingers. My 2yo loved them but she has no taste in food and the only meat she will is fried chicken and fish fingers! The noodles tasted awful too. The whole meal was just very bland and lacked flavour.

  • Bangkok garlic and black pepper chicken

    • lilham on February 22, 2015

      This is a very simple dish. No spice paste to make. Basically just throwing a bunch of seasoning and spices into the wok with the chicken. I found it bland and not exciting. I'm not sure it is just under seasoned or the combination doesn't work. But I won't repeat this again.

  • Indian chicken and spinach curry

    • lilham on April 12, 2012

      Very simple and tasty saag chicken recipe. We added a dallop of cream (I think it's an optional ingredient in the recipe), and served it with jasmine rice. My toddler couldn't get enough of this. An accomplishment when the sauce is mainly spinach!

  • Turkish lentil soup

    • stockholm28 on February 07, 2015

      I used aleppo pepper in lieu of the mild chili powder and did add the butter at the end, although only 2 Tbsps rather than the 3.5 Tbsps specified. I liked this but wasn't wowed by it. I like Melissa Clark's red lentil soup with lemon better, so this recipe won't replace that.

    • fairyduff on June 15, 2019

      Easy and delicious. I used the stick-blender before serving to make a smoother soup.

  • Kadahi chicken

    • stockholm28 on February 08, 2015

      I see why this dish is so popular. It is quick and nicely flavored. It would be a great weeknight meal as it is both easy to prep and easy to clean up. i substituted 4 whole canned tomatoes for the fresh. I liked this dish and would make it again when I wanted something fast and flavorful. I would have liked another chili in the dish and a bit more spice, so may try adjusting next time.

  • Red lentil dal

    • stockholm28 on February 01, 2015

      This is a pretty good dish for something that can be made in 20 minutes. I used a couple of canned tomatoes and a jalapeno.

    • shoffmann on May 06, 2018

      I was surprised with the amount of flavor in this. Made for a quick and tasty dinner with rice and yogurt.

  • Cardamom and pistachio nut kulfi

    • stockholm28 on February 08, 2015

      The kulfi is made mostly with evaporated milk. My only deviation was to add the cardamom seeds just after boiling the milk as I wanted the cardamom to steep in the milk longer. I froze in individual silicon muffin forms. I liked this and it tasted like kulfi I've had in Indian restaurants, but I'd like these flavors even better in real ice cream.

  • Cambodian roasted aubergines with ginger and coconut

    • shoffmann on February 11, 2018

      I enjoyed, but the dish was very mild despite adding the extra amount of pepper suggested "for extra kick". If I make this again I will likely bump up the black pepper significantly.

  • Mexican scrambled eggs (Huevos Mexicanos)

    • fairyduff on February 23, 2023

      Incredible texture. Creamy, saucy. Delicious.

  • Indian spinach cutlets with raita

    • fairyduff on May 02, 2019

      Really good recipe; used up an oversupply of spinach. Very important to remove as much moisture from the steamed spinach as possible, as described in the method. Don't take shortcuts here or the mix will be too sloppy to cook. Next time I am going to try doubling the potato to 400g to change the spinach/potato balance. I might also use an egg to bind, even though the cutlets did keep together in the pan and when flipped.

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Reviews about this book

  • Great British Chefs

    I loved this book. It has speedy, tasty and healthy recipes for everyday meals with simple spice mixes. It also brings back lovely memories of my own travels.

    Full review

Reviews about Recipes in this Book

  • Lebanese lemon and vanilla cake

    • Great British Chefs

      The texture was almost like a cheesecake. Dense, creamy & lemony but with a sweet and sour topping of caramel and caramelised lemons. It’s brought out the gluttons in us & was all gone in one sitting!

      Full review
  • Malay yellow mussel curry

    • Great British Chefs

      It really was one of the easiest dinners I have ever made. The nuts make the broth rich and thick. We were all licking and slurping the mussel shells to make sure none of it was wasted!

      Full review
  • Chana masala

    • Great British Chefs

      ...a version that took me right back to a tiny street vendor in Delhi. A lovely fresh and fragrant lunchtime snack!

      Full review
  • ISBN 10 1844839915
  • ISBN 13 9781844839919
  • Linked ISBNs
  • Published Jul 07 2011
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 224
  • Language English
  • Countries United Kingdom
  • Publisher Duncan Baird Publishers
  • Imprint Duncan Baird Publishers

Publishers Text

Spices have been used in kitchens for thousands of years and they are as relevant today as they have always been - versatile, healthy, economical, easy to obtain, and, more importantly, utterly delicious. However, many people find spices confusing and equate them to endless shopping lists or old jars sitting in their kitchen cupboard. Mighty Spice Cookbook will change these misconceptions and show everyone how simple it is to cook with spices - and create mouth-watering recipes, full of flavour. John Gregory-Smith brings us a wonderful collection of recipes from all over the world including China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Turkey, Morocco and Mexico. Want to make a chicken dish for supper, for example? Try Vietnamese Star Anise & Lemongrass Chicken Claypot, Mexican Chicken with Yogurt & Almonds or Moroccan Lemon & Cinnamon Chicken. Keen to explore new flavours for fish? Try Coconut & Lemongrass Salmon Curry, Chilli & Basil Scallops or Indian Fish Cakes with Coriander & Coconut Chutney. Each recipe uses easy techniques and a maximum of 5 from the 25 key spices covered - and delivers fantastic tastes with minimum fuss.

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