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every dish has a story

Edible Gifting: Seasoned Greetings Spice RubsJan 10, 2012

I know, I know . . . it's now January, and the last thing you want to relive is holiday-themed anything. I'll try not to drag this one out too long, but let me make just a couple of points:

First, spice rubs make a great hostess gift, no matter the time of year. They are especially great for people who like to grill as well as for male hosts (at least, those who aren't the delicately scented soap types).

If you don't have party plans in the near future, you can whip up a batch of each to keep in the freezer, ready for future grilling or seasoning projects.

Finally, don't you just love the name? Seasoned Greetings — get it? Yuk, yuk.

Note: the quantities listed in each spice rub recipe are ratios, not measurements. So feel free to make as much or as little as you need!

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Fungus" Shiitake Salt

See YumSugar's 12 Days of Edible Gifts: Homemade Flavored Salt.

"Chile Nights" Korean Spice Rub

This spice rub is fantastic on grilled meats, and rightly so: it combines many ingredients you'd find in your favorite Korean barbecue dishes. I balanced the heat from the red pepper powder with the caramelized flavor of the dark brown sugar, and added plenty of garlic (it wouldn't be a Korean dish without it!).

  • 1 part kosher salt
  • 1 part dark brown sugar
  • 1 part gotchukaru (Korean coarsely ground red pepper powder)*
  • 1/4 part garlic powder
  • 1/16 part ground ginger
  • 1/16 part freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 part toasted sesame seeds

"Tingle Bells" Chinese Five Spice Mix

This spice rub is a bit more adventurous, and it will probably require a trip to 99 Ranch (or your local Asian supermarket) for some of these ingredients. Don't be daunted: it's so worth it. The ingredient that makes this spice mix special is sichuan peppercorn, which doesn't add spiciness so much as a warm tingle on your tongue. It's my favorite spice EVER.

  • 1 part ground sichuan peppercorns**
  • 1 part ground star anise
  • 1 part ground fennel seeds
  • 1 part kosher salt
  • 1/2 part ground cloves
  • 1/2 part ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 part ground ginger
  • 1/4 part ground white pepper

*Gotchukaru can be found as most Asian grocery stores. The coarsely ground Korean red pepper looks fiery in the package, but it actually contains a very mellow heat. If you can't find gotchukaru, you could substitute dried red pepper flakes (the kind you use on pizza), but in very small quantities as the supermarket variety is much spicier.

**When preparing sichuan peppercorns, you should toast them in a pan on the stove over medium-low heat until they become very fragrant. After the peppercorns have cooled, pick out and discard the shiny black seeds. Reserve and grind the husks and stems that remain, and use the resulting powder in the spice mix.

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