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Can someone identify this spice?

  • Kitzy Oct 24, 2008 08:00 AM
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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. I don't think it's sumac, either. It almost looks like fried onion/shallot!

    1. A photo of whole dried sumac is here:
      http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/equivale...
      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

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

        ETA: and one more: http://www.worldspice.com/product_pag...

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

        5 Replies
        1. re: FlyFish

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

          1. re: Kitzy

            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

              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

                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

                  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. 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. 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. Thanks everybody! Awesome.

                  1. very cool to see *whole mace.*

                    i love googling images to confirm: http://www.google.com/images?client=s...

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

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: alkapal

                      wow!! looks like something from Avatar.

                      1. re: Kitzy

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

                        1. re: bushwickgirl

                          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

                            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

                              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...