Turmeric: The Golden Spice

Recently I saw several coloured café lattes (green – matcha, orange – turmeric) and wondered how they were made. Meanwhile, I fell in love with a drink called “jamu” which consisted of turmeric juice, honey and water. Here’s to learning more about turmeric… Indian turmeric is considered to be the best in the world. The…

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Cassia Bark: Aromatic Bark

I fell in love with cassia bark as well as many other spices and botanicals during my working experience in London cocktail bars; Graphic and Zetter Townhouse, where I learnt all about gin. One of these very interesting ingredients is the cassia bark. Cinnamomum cassia or Chinese cinnamon tree originates from Southern China where it…

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Shiso – the Asian nettle

Have you ever been to a sushi bar or any other Japanese restaurant? Then you definitely would have seen Shiso leaves aka Perilla, the big green leaves used mainly for plating to add contrast to the food being presented to you. While there is only one species in the genus, there are three varieties. There are…

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Masala aka Curry leaf

I believe one of the most popular dishes that everyone associates with Thai & Indian food is curry. The seasoning we think of as curry is actually a combination of several spices blended together. This spice blend is publicly known as masala across India and countries around. The curry tree is native to India, Sri Lanka…

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Pandan

Have you ever visited Asia and experienced a very pleasant, bready and nutty aroma during a taxi ride? I know I have! When I asked the taxi uncle, “What is that smell?”, he replied with it’s “Pandan, it keeps away the cockroaches” with smile on his face.   Pandanus amaryllifolius is a tropical plant/ bush grass which…

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Palm Sugar

While I was wandering around food markets in Singapore, I found brown sweet cakes of different colours and shades. When I asked the uncle in the store what it is, he looked at me like I was martian and said that they were “one of the most essential ingredients for cooking young man, it is…

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Cocoa aka Cacao

I don’t know about you, but I personally love dark chocolate. On a recent trip to Bali with my family, we visited a chocolate farm and learnt how chocolate is made. The kids loved the activity and as a bonus they got to take home their handmade chocolate bars. So what is Cacao? Cacao, cocoa,…

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Cascara aka Coffee Cherry Skin

While working on a project in Hong Kong, I visited several coffee and tea shops where I came across tea made out of coffee fruit skin. This tea is called “cascara” and has pleasant floral, yet dry and leathery undertones. Let’s find out more. Cascara is commonly taken in coffee producing countries such as Bolivia, Yemen and…

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