The best $20 you can possibly invest in your kitchen.
I love my spice grinder. Last night we had some left over chicken from the grill. My wife said how about a chicken curry? I started to “mind taste” what I had in the kitchen. I then remembered my good old friend the spice grinder (coffee bean grinder). I always have whole spices around. We always have rice. I bought a bell pepper and a potato and I was in the kitchen full speed. Curry was on the table 45 minutes later.
Pre-ground spices loose a lot of the flavor due to the oils dissipating after they are ground. If you buy whole spices (The best place on the planet is www.kalustyans.com ) you can quickly grind them yourself and bring the most fragrant, bright flavors to everything you cook. This one step will bring up the flavor of your cooking by several notches and it only takes a minute.
I sautéed thinly sliced red bell peppers with freshly chopped ginger and onions until they took on that flavorful brown color and softened. Add a little cream, some chicken stock and my fresh ground spices (check out my blend on the “in the kitchen” page). Then a few cubes of potato and simmer until the potatoes are tender. I added my left over chicken and simmered a few more minutes. Served over Basmati rice. Just enough sauce to hold the ingredients and moisten the rice. It was incredible to me how the flavor of each spice pierced through the sauce to show themselves fully. Nothing was muted, nothing was lost. They say taste is 80% smell. This dish confirmed it. It was the ultimate culinary perfume. Of course the glass of Pinto Grigio was a perfect compliment. Great mineral quality blended well with the spices and the crisp acidity danced nicely with the richness of the sauce. Buen provecho, bon appétit!