A stellar spice blend is one of the easiest ways to amp up the flavors of a dish, taking a simple seared pork chop or baked chicken thigh to the next level. But what makes a spice mix great? We asked Meherwan Irani, chef and founder of the spice retailer Spicewalla, for advice. His first tip? For the best flavor, make your own blend from scratch. Toast whole spices first to bloom their fragrances, then grind them to medium-coarse consistency. And taste your spices as you go. “A common mistake is assuming a spice will taste the way it smells. But there’s often a big difference.”

March 2019


Credit: Victor Protasio

Recipe Summary test

15 mins
Makes 1/4 cup


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Combine kosher salt, black peppercorns, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, and crushed red pepper in a small skillet. Cook over medium, stirring often, until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to plate; let cool. With a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, grind to a coarse powder. Add chopped fresh rosemary, garlic powder, and paprika. Stir well to combine.