The good news is that grinding whole spices is fast, easy and an aromatic experience you won’t forget and might even become obsessed with.
There are two easy ways to grind spices: first, a mortar and pestle. Or use a spice grinder.
To grind spices, you basically need 2, maybe 3 things.
1) A pan to dry-roast the whole spice and activate the aromatic oils. A non-stick or cast iron pan work nicely for this.
2) Grinding equipment. A mortar and pestle are old school and handy, especially for smaller batches.
3) For larger batches and spices where elbow grease doesn’t cut it (cinnamon is an example), a dedicated spice grinder can be nice to have. A cheap coffee grinder (15-20 bucks US) works great but I don’t recommend you grind your coffee in it too, unless you’re looking for a certain kind of brew (coriander coffee?)
Dry roast the whole spice on medium to medium low flame for 1-2 minutes, shaking every now and then, until the matter is aromatic but not brown / burnt. Grind in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, particularly for a big batch, about a minute. 3 minutes total, you’re done!
Freshly ground spices make for a heart-warming and lovely gift for the host or hostess at your next dinner party invitation too.
The tip: For cardamom, it’s best to dry roast the entire pod and then smash it open in the mortar to release the black seeds for grinding. You can then discard the pods.
Another important and useful trick you must consider: Grind raw rice in the jar or container to get rid of the aroma of the spices ground earlier.