1. Buy whole spices and grind small amounts with a spice grinder as needed. Whole spices retain their fragrant oils longer. Once ground, they immediately start to lose intensity.
  2. Dry-toast whole or ground spices for 30 seconds before using. This step can significantly increase a dish's flavors.
  3. Add a touch of sugar to balance the spices. Without it, too much of the strong, pungent flavors may take over.