The story of the German spice manufactory Just Spices (www.justspices.co.uk) began with three friends named Florian Falk, Ole Strohschnieder and Bela Seebach who shared one ambitious vision: A spice revolution. Fun fact: Their preferences regarding food differ massively – Florian hates spicy dishes, Ole is a vegetarian and Bela eats just about everything. The one thing that they have in common is their passion for cooking and cooking with spices in particular.

Driven by their abundant passion for spices, they founded “Just Spices” and the corresponding online shop to “spice up” people’s kitchens.The three founders feel very strongly that most people are unaware of the crucial impact that spices have on the flavour of every meal. As Ole observes: “Today, buying spices is as mundane as buying socks. You need them and when you run out of them you go to the supermarket and replace them, but it is not exciting or emotional at all.“ In reality, each spice comes with its own unique story and seasoning with them makes all the difference while cooking. Therefore, the three guys knew it was time to put an end to this mentality.

Their concept is pretty smart and stylish on top – 120 spices and more than 50 unique spice blends of high quality are available onjustspices.co.uk. Each blend is not only available in a medium and large size, but also comes in a mini “sample“ size – perfect for trying out new spices and exotic recipes. According to a recent report published in The Guardian, there are millions of pounds of unused spices collecting dust on our kitchen shelves. With their smaller, 10ml-sized spice pouches, Just Spices helps to reduce this amount and also encourages consumers to try their hands at new, exiting recipes that require certain spices in small portions. The medium- and large-sized blends come preserved in an aroma-tight can that boast a funky colour and feature an illustrated character. With their unique design, they not only add delicious touches to every meal, but also prettify the kitchen along the way.

In search of exotic flavours and inspiring spice blends, the Just Spices founders went on an adventurous “spice journey“ this summer. Three continents and four weeks later, they brought a bag full of marvellous memories and new recipes back home. Apart from Mexico, Italy and the United States, India was one of the most striking countries that the trio went to.

After preparing fish curry with chapatti in Kerala and Malabar chicken curry in Bangalore, a life without the Indian cuisine seems to be unimaginable. The range of flavours in Indian spices is akin to a fairy-tale. During their time in India, the three founders had the chance to meet with multiple Indian spice specialists. Welcomed with an incredible sense of hospitality, they also had the chance to cook with these locals and get to know the original Indian way of preparing and seasoning food – which sometimes entailed cooking in the middle of a jungle without any electricity.

Full of inspiration and new recipes, Florian, Ole and Bela started to create new spice blends in their own spice manufactory once they had returned to Germany. The blend ”Curry Madras“ forms the perfect base for a plethora of Indian dishes and is particularly suitable for a first-class Malabar Chicken Curry. The “Indian Allrounder“, a mouth-watering blend of curcuma, ginger, coriander, onions, sweet pepper and fenugreek seed, is another must-have when it comes to preparing food à la Bollywood. And last but not least, a special treat for you: An original recipe from Pravita from India, perfectly seasoned with “Just Spices”!

ChickpeaCurry

Ingredients

Black Chickpeas/Chana/Kadala – 1 cup | Turmeric powder – ¼ tablespoon | Sliced coconut pieces (thenga kothu ) – 3 tablespoons | Onion – 1 large sliced and chopped | Pearl onions – 4 sliced | Green chillies – 3 slits | Curry leaves – 1 sprig | Red chilli powder – 1 tablespoon | Mustard seeds – ¼ – ½ tablespoon | Dried red chillies – 2 | Coconut oil – As required | Sea salt – To taste

Roast and grind to a paste

Grated coconut – ¾ – 1 cup | Pearl onion – 2 sliced | Coriander Seeds – 1½ tablespoons (You can use coriander powder instead, add it while making the gravy)

Whole spices

Fennel seeds – ¼ tablespoon | Cardamom – 2 | Coves – 3 | Cinnamon stick – 1 |Whole pepper corns – ½ tablespoon |Star anise (thakolam) – 1 petal

Method

Soak the kadala overnight and cook in a pressure cooker till soft adding ¼ tablespoon turmeric powder and salt. After the first whistle, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 4 more whistles. Keep it closed for 20 minutes. Drain the water and save it for making gravy.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan and add the coriander seeds & whole spices. Sauté for a few seconds and add the sliced pearl onions. Sauté for a minute and add the grated coconut. Roast until it turns reddish brown. Switch off and leave aside. Grind it to a paste when it cools down.

In a deep pan heat some coconut oil and splutter mustard and brown the dry red chillies. Now add the sliced coconut pieces. Sauté until they turn brown, add the sliced onion, pearl onions, green chillies and curry leaves. Sauté until they turn light brown. Now add turmeric powder, chilli powder, sauté for a few seconds and add the reserved water from the cooked kadala. Bring to a boil and add the ground coconut paste and cooked kadala. Mix well and cook until the gravy achieves your desired consistency. Switch off and serve hot with puttu. You can find all spices online on www.justspices.co.uk.