Ask The Chef with Joshna Maharaj (Episode 10)

In this episode, Chef Joshna Maharaj answers student questions about the best on-the-go snacks, and should you toast spices or add them raw with other ingredients

In Episode 10 of Ask the Chef, our Chef Joshna Maharaj answers two questions from curious students:

  1. What’s a good on-the-go snack when I’m at school?
  2. Should I toast spice before adding it to a recipe?
sliced apple and red round fruit

What’s a good on-the-go snack when I’m at school?

A great snack is easy-to-eat, portable and…quiet. 

One of the things about a snack for school is it needs to be easy enough for you to pop into your mouth without thinking about it; often while you’re moving to the next moment in your day. 

A snack that’s always hanging out in your bag. It’s no fuss. And is highly nibble-able!

Some favourite on-the-go snacks that I recommend for students are:

  • Dried fruit
  • High nutrient energy balls
  • Granola bar (chewy, not crunchy)
  • Protein or some other energy bar

And be mindful of crunchy snacks (crunchy bars, nuts)–especially if you need to nibble in class. A crunchy snack might be distracting for you and for others…and there will probably be crumbs that get everywhere.

“If you want to give a present from your current self to your future self”, says Chef Joshna, “you can always be more awesome and thoughtful (read: prepared) by packing up your meal leftovers or having fresh cut fruit and vegetables to add into your snacking mix.” But these types of snacks are better when you can stop and sit down between classes.


Should I toast spice(s) before adding it to a recipe?

Spices lose some of their magic into the air when they’re ground, and they slowly lose their potency over time. You really shouldn’t use spice that’s more than 6 months old.

Toasting spice really helps to develop its flavour. You can also cook spice slowly with onions, garlic or ginger as the first thing in the pan/pot to build that flavour base. 

Either way…Yes! Definitely invest the time to toast your spices. Your mouth and your taste buds will be rewarded.

We love hearing from you. Thank you very much for your questions!

Do you want to ask the chef a question that could help you and other students?

Message us with your question @CommunalLunch or directly @JoshnaMaharaj on Instagram.

Joshna is a chef, author & activist who cares a lot about people's relationship with food. She works to rebuild food systems in public institutions putting hospitality and sustainability as a top priority.

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