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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Prices of Spices

I love the spices. I love to cook Indian, Moroccan, Middle Eastern and Asian. I always make up my own spice mixes and I have a stock standard curry powder I make to my own taste when I am doing a meat or potato curry that is suitable for a tomato or milk base.
The easiest way I have found to use my spices is from an Indian Spice Tin called a Masala Dabba from which I can spoon my spices by the teaspoonful. The large supermarkets and grocery stores tend to sell spices in packets of about 25g - 50g so about 1-3 tabs. Not enough for this black duck so I tend to buy my spices from a specialty store like a spice shop where they are sold in about 60g bags or even better from my local wholefoods store where I can have as many scoops as I want into a packet. For example I generally buy about 100g of ground spice at a time but at least three times that amount of ground turmeric. The spice has a high turn over in the shops I go to so I know it's as fresh as I can get. BUT....I hadn't really taken much notice of the prices because how do you compare apples to oranges? It's not a quick "at a glance" price check. So I bothered today and I was AMAZED!

Spice $/kg   Wholefood shop   Spice Shop   Lge Disc Store

turmeric      $15.30              $25.00            $50.00
cumin          $24.00              $40.00            $69.00
coriander     $15.00              $45.00            $53.00
cinnamon     $15.90              $40.00            $70.00
mustard seeds $13.60           $20.00            $48.00
ginger           $17.40             $45.00            $76.00
garam masala $24.00           $50.00             $84.00
grd hot          $21.20            $45.00            $65.00

I am so surprised at the differences in the prices! For argument sake, even buying say 5 tablespoons of each spice could give you a price difference of  
                      $14.60            $31.00          $51.50

Even taking into account packaging, I mean COME ON!!!    Are you serious???   Maybe it's worth taking a look in your local area at what you are paying. Do you feel a bit ripped off by the large multi-national supposedly discount chain store that is slowly taking out all the competition?

My personal favourite curry powder mix is about 1 tabs of turmeric, 1 teas each of ground cumin, coriander, garam masala, chilli powder and ground ginger, half teas of cinnamon and quarter teas of ground cloves. Then depending on my mood additions of curry leaves and mustard seeds are common too. Remember to cook the spices off in ghee/oil/butter to release the full flavours. I'm nowhere near Indian (though I did have three Indian boyfriends) and I did not learn this at my mother's knee, it's purely what I personally like. So use it as a guide and find your own unique blend that becomes the "favourite family curry".


  1. my mouth is watering - all of those foods are a favourite here !
    My sister just gave me a moroccan spice mix to try - we have one pack of our own lamb left, and I see a tagine on the menu for Sunday Dinner !

  2. oh my goodness those price differences are just awful something I had not thought about before, thank you


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