Pinch Of Mace Powder To Dishes

Must have seen the advertisements for these packets of spices…those if added to any dish…would give it a kick…a tangy…yummy taste…you know it would turn any bland tasting dish to this super sizzling recipe… 

Mace powder…consider it one such addition only…which…as a matter of fact…is a part of almost every second dish that is cooked in any Indian household…call it a staple spice there… 

Hmm…This Mace is the crimson hued spice or condiment…present as the second membrane covering the seed of the nutmeg fruit or the nutmeg….The taste of it is milder than that of nutmeg and is used in recipes which are delicately flavoured….and do not require a sharp and pricking smell…It consists of the essential oils…which give out its peculiar flavour and aroma….

A fine fact is that…this powder is available almost everywhere…You can find mace in almost all the grocery stores…containing spices…Also check supermarkets and food malls…It is generally available in glass bottles in powdered form or as a whole or in small pieces….Another valuable tip for you…While buying…check for the crispy nature and the red or orange intense colour of the mace…The mace powder if brown in colour…check for any lump formation in it….

This Mace powder is one amazing thing I tell you…it is used to flavour cakes and other sweets…but mace is also used in many savoury dishes…These include

  • Meats
  • Sauces
  • Curries
  • Pickling
  • Ketchup
  • Worcestershire sauce

Mace can be in fact it IS used as a nutmeg substitute in most recipes….Reason being this spice is sweeter and milder…than anything else at it’s competition…

Also mace is often used in place of nutmeg when dark coloured flecks of nutmeg might ruin the appearance of certain dishes….C’mon you can well understand that not so tempting looking dishes…no matter how tasty…can repel the eaters…and gawkers…Whereas often the most nicely garnished and nicely served and coloured dishes…attract the maximum masses and most of the times they deceivingly turn out to be puke-inducing…Anyway…back to the topic…Ground mace can be substituted in light coloured sauces…clear broths…omelettes and mashed potatoes…

Take two useful tips from me..

  1. One tip I would give you is that…Crush or grind whole mace before use to release its essential oils…flavour…& aroma… 
  2. Also….Add it at the begin of the cooking process to allow its full flavour to come out…and spread… 

Hmm…enough of information now….have a look at our references now…

  1. Spice Substitution Chart by about.com
  2. Mace Powder Recipes by Yummly
  3. Herbs and Spices by apinchof.com

Chef’s Favourite Spice – Mace

Whenever my mom used to mutton stew…I saw her secretly adding this powder to it…and the taste of the dish and its aroma…used to be wild-hunger-instigating…There were certain aunts whose lives revolved around their kitchen and food…they kept prodding mom to disclose to them the complete recipe of the stew to which mom modestly pretended to shy away and fobbed them off saying there was nothing special or unusual about the dish…

 I was never a kitchen person…so tho’ I knew there always was something ‘special’ in mom’s ‘usual’ dishes…but never bothered to ask…But today when I have to cook myself…I realize…I should’ve asked mom her ‘secret’ spice… 

And again…I feel it’s okay…what are search engines for? Laying the ins and outs in front of you at just a click…And that’s exactly how I got to know about this spice called ‘Mace’… 

I’ll brief you about this wonderful and now a part of my secret pack of ‘spices’…Mace is the aril (it’s the bright red…lacy covering) of the nutmeg seed shell…The mace actually is removed from the shell and its broken parts that are called blades…And it’s a fact that the past of mace is closely tied to the history of nutmeg…though the two items have been treated separately…Because the yield of mace is much less than nutmeg’s it has had greater value…A pile of fruit large enough to make one hundred pounds of nutmeg produces a single pound of mace… 

I think I should brief you of its related history simultaneously…It’s of the time when the Dutch controlled the Moluccas (the Spice Islands)…one colonial administrator sent orders that the colonists should plant fewer nutmeg trees and more mace trees…Reason being…Mace had made a market and place for itself…
I am sure you must be eager to know about the itself now…hmm…Well…In its natural state…mace is a bright crimson lace up to 35 mm long…encasing the brown nutmeg in irregular…fleshy lobes…As it is dries…it develops its characteristic aroma but loses its bright red colour…Mace from the West Indies is a yellowish brown colour and with fewer holes than mace from East Indian nutmegs which are more orange when dried….The mace from either locale can become brittle and horny…though the best quality mace will retain some pliability and release a  little oil when squeezed…It is also sold ground and sometimes  still enclosing the nutmeg…

There is not much of preservations needed for this ultimate spice…Dried mace pieces are not easy to crush….Ready-ground mace is easier to use…but will deteriorate much more quickly…Whole mace pieces can be steeped in liquid and then the liquid can be used…or the mace pieces can be removed after cooking…You know just one ‘blade’ is strong enough to add taste to a meal of almost four to six portions….

You won’t be surprised to know…Like I mentioned initially…Mace and nutmeg are very similar…though mace is somewhat more powerful…Mace is a lighter colour and can be used in  light-coloured dishes where the darker flecks of nutmeg would be undesirable….A small amount will enhance many recipes…adding fragrance without imposing too much taste…Mace works especially well with milk dishes like custards and cream  sauces…It contributes to flavouring light-coloured cakes and pastries…especially donuts…Mace is an exotic spice…It can enhance clear and creamed  soups and casseroles…chicken pies and sauces…Adding some to mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes creates a more interesting  side dish…Some beverages improve with a little mace…especially chocolate drinks and tropical punches…

Phew! That’s too much work for one little spice…But bravo…I love it

Okay…Go through the content of our reference links now…

  1. Mace Recipes by about.com
  2. History of Mace Spice by Peggy Trowbridge Filippone
  3. Mace…Indian Spice by indanetzone

Mace Oil – At Its Best

Mace oil is good at the works it is assigned to do and even it does it all pretty well…And frankly there shouldn’t be any surprise in it because essential oils like Mace are very helpful and miraculous in deed like healing and curing…

Mace the tree is a small evergreen, not more than 40 feet in height, with smooth, grayish-brown bark, green on the younger branches. The alternate leaves are oblong-ovate, acute, entire, smooth, and dark-green. The flowers are very small and unisexual.

The fruits, smooth and yellow, resemble a pear grooved by a longitudinal furrow and containing a single erect seed about 1 1/4 inches long. The nucleus being the wrinkled nutmeg. The fleshy, irregular covering, scarlet when fresh and drying, yellow and brittle, is the mace. The essential oil is made by steam (or water) distillation of the dried orange-brown aril or husk.

Mace is an evergreen tree up to 20m high with a grayish-brown smooth bark, dense foliage and small dull-yellow flowers. The fruit is gathered by means of a barb attached to a long stick. The mace is separated from the nut and both are dried separately. The nutmeg or kernel of the fruit and the arillus or mace are the official parts. Native to the Moluccas and nearby islands; Nutmeg is also cultivated in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the West Indies, especially Grenada. The essential oil is also distilled in the USA and Europe from imported nutmeg.

Mace essential oil, can be used for flatulent dyspepsia, nausea, diarrhea, dysentery and rheumatism. Both Mace and Nutmeg help digestion in stomach weakness, but if used in excess may cause over-excitement. They increase circulation and body heat. They have been employed in pestilential and putrid fevers, and with other substances in intermittent fevers, and enter into the composition of many French medicaments..

Myristica fragrans,  blends well with the following essential oils…

  • Oak moss
  • Lavandin
  • Bay leaf
  • Peru balsam
  • Orange
  • Geranium
  • Clary sage
  • Rosemary
  • Lime
  • Petitgrain
  • Mandarin
  • Coriander

Mace is generally non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing. However, used in large doses there may be signs of toxicity such as nausea, stupor, and tachycardia, believed to be due to the myristcin content.

It has many properties…

  • Analgesic
  • Anti-emetic
  • Antioxidant
  • Antiseptic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Carminative
  • Digestive
  • Emmenagogue
  • Larvicidal
  • Stimulant
  • Tonic

Mace essential oil…

  • Contains a volatile oil, fat, starch, proteins, ash and mucilage.
  • Fixed oil is called butter of nutmeg consists of myristin and myristic acid.
  • Essential oil contains myristicene and myristicol.

Contains a volatile oil, resin, fat, sugar, destrin and mucilage.Essential oil of mace is of a yellowish colour and consists of macene.

Okay now, check out our reference links…

  1. Mace Essential Oil by About
  2. Mace Spice by Wise Geek
  3. Mace Oil by Net

Mace Oil – A Traditional Medicine

Mace essential oil is an amazing traditonal medicinal oil that has enjoyed a wonderful repution in the Indian market in the past and now is enjoying the same worldwide. All the ones who use it are already aware of the amazing spiced recipes this herb and its oil is used in.

Nutmeg tree yields up to three times in a season. Once harvested from the tree, the outer coat or husk is removed. The aril, also known as “mace”, is gently peeled off from the outer surface of the kernel, flattened into strips, dried, and sold either as whole strips or finely ground. The whole kernels are then sun-dried for several days to weeks, or sometimes, more rapidly over a hot drier machine until the whole nutmeg rattle inside the shell.

The shell is then broken and shriveled nutmeg kernel is taken out. Finally, nuts are dipped in limewater in order to prevent insect infestation and seed germination.

Nutmeg spice as well as mace contains many plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have anti-oxidant, disease preventing, and health promoting properties.

The spicy nut contains fixed oil trimyristin and many essential volatile oils such as which gives sweet aromatic flavor to nutmeg like myristicin, elemicin, eugenol and safrole. The other volatile oils are pinene, camphene, dipentene, cineole, linalool, sabinene, safrole, terpeniol.

The active principles in nutmeg have many therapeutic applications in many traditional medicines as -

  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-depressant
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Digestive
  • Carminative functions

This prized spice is a good source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, zinc and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese and copper are used by the body as co-factors for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is essential for red blood cell production and as a co-factor for cytochrome oxidases enzymes.

It is also rich in many vital B-complex vitamins including vitamin C, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin A and many flavonoid anti-oxidants like beta-carotene and cryptoxanthins that are essential for optimum health.

Since ancient times nutmeg and its oil were being used in Chinese and Indian traditional medicines for illnesses related to the nervous and digestive systems. The compounds in this spice such as myristicin and elemicin have been found to have stimulant properties on brain.

Go through our reference links now -

  1. Mace info by www.drugs.com
  2. Mace and nutmeg fruit by Spices
  3. Mace by Mrs.M.Grieve