Introduction to hot and spicy foods

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Variety is said to be the spice of life and, whereas for many millions of people throughout the world, life has been a variety of spices for centuries, it's only thanks to early explorers, who returned home with shiploads of exotic spices, that Western culinary art was transformed.

THE BOOK OF HOT & SPICY FOODS has a collection of over 100 beautifully illustrated step-by-step recipes which include traditional favorites like Steak au Poivre, Mexican Chili con Carne, Indonesian Gado Gado and Creole Jambalaya, plus many Indian and Oriental dishes and lots of sizzling new surprises and variations on a theme. Whether it's a simple snack, a teatime treat or an elegant dinner party dish you're after, this book has a recipe for all occasions.

Spices are invaluable for adding that special blend of heat or fragrance and pungency to all manner of savory and sweet dishes. Don't be daunted by those unfamiliar to you - try them, you'll never know what you've been missing, but bear in mind that some are stronger and fierier than others.

If experimenting, it is wise to start with small amounts - you can always add more to taste at a later stage. And remember - the amount of spices in many of the following recipes are suggested as a guide, so feel free to increase or decrease the amounts according to personal preference.

It is the chili (in its various forms) that adds heat to a dish. You will find instructions on how to prepare this fiery spice (without getting burnt!), plus many recipes using it. There is also plenty of information on all the other hot spices - muctard, pepper, cloves and ginger - plus, of course, the more fragrant, aeromatic ones like cardamom, cumin, nutmeg, etc. And no spice book would be complete without recipes for making Curry Powder, Garam Masala, Five Spice Powder, Mixed Spice, Pickling Spice and Harissa (a Middle Eastern favorite).

The follwing recipes range from mild to hot or just wonderfully spicy. It is surely a collection to please not only hot and spicy food-lovers everywhere, but also tempting enough to persuade the "uninitiated" to sample the delights of spicy foods! From Gemini's MASSIVE MealMaster collection at www.synapse.com/~gemini

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