Do you use chillies in your cooking? I cook with chillies a lot but I often come up against a problem, which is that the kids don't like their food to be spicy at all and my husband is a complete spice fiend and gets through a bottle of Jamaican hot sauce a week! Tempering spices to add to your curry is the solution.
What does tempering spices mean?
Tempering spices, known as tadka, is a process by which whole spices are heated with oil before being added to a dish. It is common in Indian cooking.
I was so pleased when I discovered this easy way to add a spicy kick to our portions when we have curry - leaving the children's plates nice and mild. I'll share the recipe with you at the end of the post. My kids are always asking questions about food and where it comes from - even if they don't always eat it. So today I'm going to tell you a little something about chilli growing in Bangladesh, courtesy of Oxfam.
Oxfam's chilli growing programme
As I'm writing this post my three children are asleep upstairs in their beds, safe, dry and well fed. My youngest has a cough and a cold, but it's nothing that a bit of Calpol won't sort out if he wakes up in the night.
The women who live on the shifting river islands, known as chars, in Bangladesh aren't always so lucky. Many of them have children but they can't always be sure that they'll be safe, warm and dry. During the hot, dry season before the monsoon there is little work and people often go hungry. Then, when the rains come, their homes and villages flood on an almost yearly basis, leaving them without a roof over their head or enough to eat. As men are often away looking for work in the cities it's the women who have to find a way to keep their families safe and fed.
Oxfam has set up a chilli growing programme, which helps these women to earn an income of their own. The two women in the photos, Joygun and Amina, both work as chilli farmers - growing and selling chillies to make a living.
How to support the project
If you would like to donate to support Oxfam's work you can do so at oxfam.org.uk/donate
Here's what your money could buy:
£5 - 20 buckets with a tap to provide fresh water
£9 - provide a family with manure, fertiliser and training in eco-friendly farming techniques
£24 - the tools, seeds and training for a family to set up an allotment, helping to feed themselves.
Hopefully you feel inspired to cook with chillies now as well as to support Oxfam's work so here's my recipe for a simple chilli temper.
What is tempering in cooking?
Tempering is the process by which spices are heated in hot oil before being added to the finished dish. It's common in Indian cooking and is said to add flavour and really bring out the spices in the meal.
I got the idea for this quick and easy way to spice up a curry from a Jamie Oliver recipe for aubergine daal from his Save With Jamie book. Making some spiced, flavoured oil, known as a temper, is a great way to add an extra spicy kick to your meal. This is perfect for family eating as you can make a lovely mild curry (that the kids can enjoy and then add the temper to the adult's portion.
Pin tempering spices for later
How to temper spices in cooking
Spicy chilli temper
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp dried red chilli flakes
- 6-8 curry leaves
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- Heat all the ingredients together in a small non-stick frying pan until the curry leaves have gone crispy. Pour a little over each adult portion of curry, depending on how spicy they like their food!
HAVE YOU TRIED THIS RECIPE?
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Disclaimer: I received no payment for this post.