Spice Mixtures

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

spice mixtures or ‘mixed spices’, are commonly thought of as, and here taken to be, dry powders; but they are sometimes taken to mean spicy pastes such as are described separately, for example sambal (Indonesia) and masala (India).

A spice mixture, in the sense of a mixture of spices, may be peculiar to one village, or family, or individual. Here the term ‘spice mixtures’ is used to indicate established mixtures, well known in a country, region, or ethnic group. However, even established mixtures are variable, not only in the proportions of ingredients but also in the ingredients themselves; it is notorious that there may be five, six, or seven spices in Chinese five spice mixture.