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Some interesting info on frying vs dry roasting spices... although it was written with Indian cuisine in mind, believe it has applications across the board including BBQ sauces and rubs.
There's a number of links which the author has included with additional info worth reading, you'll need to click on the link below to get to them within the article.
Indian Spices 101: The Benefits of Frying Spices
To me, there's nothing more intoxicating than the aromas of freshly ground spices—they're heady and complex, and evolve throughout the cooking process. Depending on how you handle them, though, their exact flavor and impact on the dish will be different. In this series on Working with Indian Spices, we're looking at some of the major ways you can use spices in Indian cooking.
In the first part of the series, we examined the benefits of dry-roasting spices, and how to use them when cooking. Today, I'll be taking a look at the way some masalas—the spice mixtures that flavor Indian dishes—can be made by frying the spices in ghee or oil.
Why Fry Spices?
Frying spices in oil gives them a completely different flavor than dry-roasting. When dry-roasted, a spice's flavor changes in fundamental ways: volatile aromatics begin to cook off, while compounds in the spice recombine to form new flavors that are often deeper, roasted, and earthier. Frying them in oil, on the other hand, tends to enhance the original flavors of a spice, making them bolder and more intense, almost as if they've become more sure of themselves. In short, oil-fried spices have a brighter and fresher aroma compared to dry-roasted spices.
Some recipes call for frying whole spices and some don't. While you can get away with only using powdered spices, fresh whole ones that are fried first and then ground lend the dish a robustness and an unmistakable silkiness and depth that's often unachievable with ground versions alone. Some recipes, meanwhile, have you use a combination of whole and ground spices, usually calling for the whole ones first, since they take longer to cook, followed in quick succession with the other ingredients; the ground spices often come last, as they are more likely to burn.
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