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Can someone identify this spice?

Kitzy Oct 24, 2008 08:00 AM

Hi All
Can someone tell me what the spice is directly behind the cloves in this picture. I brought this home from India recently, having requested sumac. I don't think it's sumac. Any ideas?

http://www.gourmet.com/diaryofafoodie

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  1. j
    jthefoodie Oct 24, 2008 08:06 AM

    I don't think it's sumac, either. It almost looks like fried onion/shallot!

    1. Gio Oct 24, 2008 08:10 AM

      A photo of whole dried sumac is here:
      http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/equivalents_substitutions.asp?index=D&tid=2337
      But, I think what you have is sumac...the ground sumac is a red power.

      Edit: Just found this photo.... could it be dried sumac flowers?
      http://flickr.com/photos/48234584@N00...

      Can you take some to a market near you which might sell sumac?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Gio
        Gio Oct 24, 2008 06:00 PM

        I just had to come back and try to right what I typed this morning..... I meant to say "I _don't_ think what you have is Sumac." And, "the ground sumac is a red _powder_."
        I should not be allowed near a keyboard until after noon time.....

      2. f
        FlyFish Oct 24, 2008 11:27 AM

        I think it's whole (unground) blade mace. Here's another photo: http://www.savoryspiceshop.com/spices/mace.html

        ETA: and one more: http://www.worldspice.com/product_pages/spice_pages/0129mace_blades.htm

        and yet a few more (scroll down): http://www.superstock.com/stock-photo...

        5 Replies
        1. re: FlyFish
          Kitzy Oct 24, 2008 11:43 AM

          YES that's it! Thanks. Mystery solved. Now what to do with it!

          1. re: Kitzy
            p
            Pumpkinseed Oct 24, 2008 12:18 PM

            Whole mace for sure. I brought a little bag of whole mace back from Grenada a few years ago, and I've been using it ever since.

            When it is fresh, mace is an amazing bright red; gradually the color fades. It is especially nice when a recipe calls for mace, but you don't need it to be powdered, in soup or stew, for example. You can drop in the whole thing or peel off a blade or two, depending on how much flavor you want.

            1. re: Kitzy
              Pata_Negra May 1, 2010 01:33 PM

              in Netherlands it's used in wintry pastries. you may even add a tiny bit to white asparagus dishes!

              (although use it in moderation!)

              1. re: Kitzy
                s
                shallots Jun 19, 2010 06:38 AM

                My favorite pound cake as a child was spiced with mace and it took that kind of cake to a whole new level. (Way beyond Sarah Lee.)

                1. re: shallots
                  alkapal Jun 19, 2010 07:03 AM

                  oh yeah. i have a really good pound cake recipe i'll be getting my hands on very soon, and it uses mace. so complex and subtle.

            2. m
              majid_in_gulf May 1, 2010 01:10 PM

              The replies forwarded flyfish and pumpkingseed are exact description. This spice can be used to flavour sweet dishes along with the netmug powder to enhance the flavour, it can also be use in biryani, and other meat or chicken dishes it flavours nice.

              1. bushwickgirl May 3, 2010 04:00 AM

                I love it when a mystery gets solved here at chowhound. Having never seen whole mace, just the ground stuff, I am now enlightened.

                1. Kitzy Jun 18, 2010 11:19 AM

                  Thanks everybody! Awesome.

                  1. alkapal Jun 19, 2010 06:30 AM

                    very cool to see *whole mace.*

                    i love googling images to confirm: http://www.google.com/images?client=safari&rls=en&q=whole+mace&oe=UTF-8&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=univ&ei=28UcTJDMFMH98AbBoYXFDA&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=7&ved=0CD8QsAQwBg

                    look at this! http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=h...

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: alkapal
                      Kitzy Jun 21, 2010 11:59 AM

                      wow!! looks like something from Avatar.

                      1. re: Kitzy
                        bushwickgirl Jun 21, 2010 10:28 PM

                        The bottom link is rather, um, alien in appearance, but in a beautiful way.

                        1. re: bushwickgirl
                          maria lorraine Jun 22, 2010 12:43 AM

                          Mace is especially beautiful when bright orange and wrapped around the nutmeg. Not only bright orange, but bright red. Brighter than the "alien" photo even, like this:
                          http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=h...

                          I think it may lose its color when it dries out.

                          1. re: maria lorraine
                            alkapal Jun 22, 2010 02:28 AM

                            beautiful, maria lorraine! that site is going into my
                            "do you want to learn about spices" thread!
                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/715188#

                            1. re: maria lorraine
                              bushwickgirl Jun 22, 2010 07:20 PM

                              Yes, unfortunately it loses that gorgeous intense red when dried.

                              This photo, also from arkive, shows the whole story:

                              http://cdn2.arkive.org/media/93/93C38...

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