This year my book, Modern Spice, celebrates five years! In honor of the book, I will be posting a few recipes over the year. Here is one of my favorite.. a very versatile rub. The photo is courtesy of Stephanie Stiavetti




Makes about ¼ cup

¼ cup fennel seeds

4 whole dried red chilies

½ teaspoon ground peppercorns (use a medley of different colored peppercorns)

Heat a small dry skillet over medium heat. Add the fennel seeds. Toss until the seeds are fragrant. This takes just about 1 minute, so watch them carefully and keep tossing the seeds in the pan or they will burn.

Add the chilies and toss for another 5 seconds.

Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Grind to a coarse powder in a spice grinder. Add the peppercorns and mix well.

Store, covered, until needed.


Here is an example of the rub used on steak –


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