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The Spicy Gourmet

Sprinkle culinary cred with a Sri Lankan chef's enticing spices

by Julie Wolfson
on 08 March 2011

Sri Lanka's rich history as an important port and trading post in the ancient world has contributed to the mouth-watering cuisine—combining traditional ingredients with influences from merchants around the world—that the country is known for today.

Born in Sri Lanka, self-taught chef Dinesh Perera has vivid memories of growing up on the beautiful island and the scent of his grandmother's cooking. After moving as a child to London, his family's desire to eat food from their homeland inspired his father to learn how to mix spices and cook Sri Lankan food. Perera, now known as The Spicy Gourmet, continues the legacy. He searched the globe for the highest quality fair-trade spices, creating a spice box set with a custom-designed mill, sure to help even the novice home cook master a deliciously complex garam blend.

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In addition to spices for Sri Lanka dishes, the Spice Blending Collection includes 16 flavors from India and Thailand and an illustrated recipe book with step-by-step instructions for roasting, blending, and cooking up fragrant dishes including Peppers and Cauliflower with Garam Masala, Lamb Skewers with Kashmiri Masala, and Beef Curry with Ceylon Roast Blend.

We asked Perera about his quest to offer the tastiest fair-trade spices, why he developed the Spicy Gourmet spice mill, and about how he became the man who loves to teach people around the world how to make the freshest most authentic garam masala warming blends.

What was your goal when you created this spice collection?

I just wanted to bring absolutely the best product possible to the marketplace. This package is a means to introduce something that you can really use. That was my goal, and part of that was to provide the best possible spices available. By nature I am an entrepreneur. Food and spices have been a passion of mine. This idea started as a cookbook. I wanted to incorporate a selection of spices with the book. That project evolved into this package.

The Spicy Gourmet Collection with the electric spice mill ($125), as well as several single spices for $8-13, sell online from The Spicy Gourmet. Read more of the interview with Perera after the jump.

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