Add A Smoky Flavour To Your Food Using These 5 Ingredients
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Do you find yourself missing sinking your teeth into juicy pieces of chicken tikka that have been lifted hot off of the coals sitting under a wire rack? Grilling food outdoors is a symbiotic act of exchanging ideas and experiences, as well as being as close to nature while establishing our relationship with food. However, as the monsoon showers pour down upon us, our spirits can continue to stay alive without being dampened (no pun intended). What sets apart a great plate of tandoori chicken or mushrooms from an average one is the charred smokiness that the coals impart to it, when in contact with the food. But fret not, we’ve got the perfect alternatives for you to recreate the same food memories and flavours, with the help of five flavouring agents – spices and condiments.

Smoked Paprika

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A spice made from peppers belonging to the Capsicum annum family, the peppers used to make this spice powder is smoked on oak wood before being ground to a fine powder. Although smoky in flavour, this spice powder is not known to impart a lot of heat to recipes, but provides a depth of flavour to meats, vegetables, fish, sauces and stews.

Liquid Smoke

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A condiment that is largely used to make vegan recipes get a ‘meaty’ flavour, liquid smoke is made with chips or sawdust of hardwoods like hickory, which is burned at a high temperature, after which the particles of smoke are collected in a condenser, with a concentrated, prominent flavour of smoke. Adding a few drops of this to marinades or finishing oils gives your dishes a subdued smoky aftertaste that is hard to miss.

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Chipotle Powder

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A mildly spicy chilli powder made with smoked and dried jalapenos, chipotle powder has the right kind of smokiness that works well with poultry and red meats such as pork or duck. This superfine, spicy powder has an earthy flavour, making it one of Mexican cuisine’s go-to spices. Chipotle powder is also perfect to use for recipes such as grilled chicken, mutton kebabs and slow-cooked vegetables.

Whole Dried Chillies

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Dry roasting and crushing spicy variants of dry red chillies to season dry rubs or marinades, is a great way to impart a warming heat as well as infusing food with a smoky flavour, similar to that of roasting food over coals. To ensure that the chillies develop a smoky but not burnt flavour, it is ideal to roast them over a low flame in a pan with a few drops of oil, to avoid burning the outer skin, which makes it bitter and unpleasant.

Smoked Salt

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Smoked salt is typically salt crystals or flakes that have been infused with the smoke from untreated wood, over a period of two weeks or more. Woods like oak or hickory are usually burned to create an appetising smoky aroma that the salts absorb and double up as seasoning for meats and vegetables. Depending on the level of smoky flavours you want your kebabs or tikkas to have, a pinch of smoked salt can be mixed with regular salt for a milder taste or used as is, for a prominent flavour.