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grains of paradise - anyone use them?

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i've been hearing a lot about grains of paradise lately - in amanda hesser's cooking for mr. latte and in alton brown's episode about okra.

i went to my local fancy market - they sell them - but almost $10 seems a little pricey for something i've only read about or seen on TV.

any tips? food pairings? ideas? throw 'em my way....

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  1. I've used them in combo with my regular peppercorns (in a separate grinder) for a slightly lighter, more herbal accent. I like it on a good steamed/sauteed white fish and on veggies, asparagus, broccoli rabe, anywhere the vegetable flavor is already assertive enough.

    1. in restaurants where i've worked, the chefs use them as a final garnish. they look pretty, and have a nice shape and texture in the mouth. you use less this way too.

      1. Love the grains of paradise!! Along with cardamom, one of my favorite kitchen scents!

        Much like Irostron, above, I use them to finish dishes, especially fish and vegetables, on salads, etc. A pinch of maldon and a grind of paradise and everything's groovy in my world.

        1. so - would you get a separate grinder for them?

          or just use them as they are?

          1 Reply
          1. re: alexia

            Yes, I picked up a second grinder, just for the grains of paradise.

          2. I use grains of paradise almost as often as I do peppercorns; I have a separate grinder for them.

            1. After reading Cooking for Mr. Latte, I raced out and bought some, and per her suggestion, pretty much just replaced the peppercorns in my mill.

              Maybe I got taken, maybe they weren't very good, I didn't really notice the difference.

              If I was more conscious about using them specifically, I might have noticed them more.

              1. Yes, Jim Koch uses them in his Sam Adams Summer Ale to great effect.

                1. I've only used them when I make my own infused gin, but have been meaning to try it as a spice in cooked dishes.

                  1. I've had some sitting in my spice drawer for a while now; didn't really know what to do with them. Thanks for the suggestions.

                    1. I put them in one of my first wheels of cheddar cheese I made, but it is still aging and I haven't had a chance to taste it yet! There was one weekend where I made fennel-seed cheddar, a paradise-seed cheddar, and a sage cheddar.

                      1. I've had a rice dish with garins of paradise and some type of nut (almonds or pecans?) andit was very good. aromatic but not overpowering.

                        1. what are the fabled GP?

                          1. I use them in salad dressings and with fish, most often. If you toast them before grinding the flavor comes out more. It's sort of a peppery, floral, almost camphor-y taste. I usually just use a mortar and pestle to break them up, rather than grinding.