Dried seeds and dried whole spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and
sesame seeds can be thought of as animals in hibernation. They need
heat to wake up and spring back to life, heat to release the energy
and flavours locked within them.
This is done by dry roasting, which gives them a shock. When dry roasting always use a completely clean
and dry pan. Leave the pan over a high heat for several minutes,
until it is so hot that a drop of water will evaporate immediately
with a hiss upon contact with the pan.
Now add the spices and toss briefly, until they start releasing their
aroma and the surface starts turning golden brown. Immediately
transfer the spices to a bowl and grind if the recipe calls for it.
Be aware that green cardamom is treated slightly differently.
Although one should roast the whole cardamom pods, to activate the
flavors, only the little seeds within are to be eaten. So gently
open cardamom pods after roasting, remove the small seeds within, and
grind them gently if the recipe calls for it. The shell from the pod
can be discarded.
There are a few seeds and spices
that should never be roasted. They are flaxseed and all dried green
spices such as thyme, rosemary, and basil.