Roasting whole spices (eg cumin seeds, coriander seeds etc.), releases the flavours and aromas of the oils in the spices.
They only need to be roasted if using ground. If using whole, you can cook them in the oil at the start of your recipes and this will release the flavours and aromas in the same way.
I always dry roast my spices. It is best to roast each type of spice separately as they will roast at different times.
You need a heavy based saucepan, a dedicated coffee grinder or pestle and mortar.
- Gently warm your pan over a medium heat.
- Add your spice and gently shake the pan to keep the seeds moving.
- The seeds will begin to darken slightly and pop as they roast.
- As popping starts the seeds are done. (Should smoke starts rising from the pan – the seeds are overdone).
- Allow to cool and then grind in coffee grinder or with pestle and mortar.
The ground seeds will keep in an airtight, dry jar for a few weeks. I think they are most intense if roasted and ground as needed.
Remember you need to start with freshly dried seeds – buy little and often – they soon loose their lovely oil which give them their fragrance and aromas.