Toasted Spice Rub
I originally created a version of this spice mix for a chicken dish, but I also like to use it on lamb, shrimp, and fish. It’s delicious stirred into rice, and it transforms a pot of beans. I add a pinch to soups that need a lift and to scrambled eggs and omelets. Don’t let the amount of chili powder put you off. California chili powder is almost sweet, not hot. It is not a blend of chilies and other seasonings, like the kind you would use in Texas-style chili. Instead, it is pure ground chilies. Taste your chili powder, and if it’s hot, use less than the recipe indicates.
Toasting releases the aromatic oils in spices, resulting in a more complex flavor.
Total Timeunder 15 minutes
Make Ahead RecipeYes
Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian
Type of Dishdry rub
- ¼ cup fennel seed
- 1 tablespoon coriander seed
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1½ teaspoons red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup pure California chili powder
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
Put the fennel seed, coriander seed, and peppercorns in a small, heavy skillet over moderate heat. Watching carefully, toss the seeds frequently so they toast evenly. When the fennel seed turns light brown, work quickly. Turn on the exhaust fan, add the red pepper flakes, and toss, toss, toss, always under the fan. Immediately turn the spice mixture out onto a plate to cool.
Pour the cooled spices into a blender and add the chili powder, salt, and cinnamon. Blend until the spices are finely and evenly ground. If you have a small spice mill or a coffee grinder dedicated to grinding spices, grind only the fennel, coriander, peppercorns, and red pepper flakes. Pour into a bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients. Keep the spice mix in an airtight container away from light and heat for up to 4 months, or freeze for up to 1 year.
2002 Napa Style, Inc.