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What Is In A Spice Bag?

Slofoodgroup Team julio 23, 2023

One of Ireland's most beloved culinary creations, the spice bag, has gained immense popularity in recent years. This Irish/Asian fast food fusion dish combines, crispy fried potatoes, tender fried chicken, and an assortment of vegetables, including peppers and onions at a minimum. The ingredients are then shaken up in a paper bag to incorporate a delightful blend of spices.

Let’s deconstruct the Irish spice bag so you can try your hand at making your own.

The History Of The Irish Spice Bag

While the exact origins of the spice bag remain somewhat elusive, it is believed to have emerged in Dublin as a result of the city's vibrant multicultural food scene. Drawing inspiration from Chinese takeaways, the spice bag epitomizes fusion cuisine, blending influences from various culinary traditions, including potatoes of course because well—it’s Ireland. The popularity of the spice bag can be attributed to the satisfying combination of comforting flavors, hearty textures, and the inherent convenience it offers as a grab-and-go treat.

Irish Spice Bag Ingredients

The core ingredients of an Irish spice bag typically include crispy French fries or potato chips, succulent strips and/or balls of chicken or other varieties of meat, and an array of vegetables. It’s the distinct seasoning mix that separates a spice bag from typical fried chicken though The spice blend often consists of a combination of Chinese five-spice powder, paprika, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, chili flakes or powders, salt, and pepper. This medley of spices imparts a zesty, aromatic kick to the dish. As if the explosion of flavors isn’t enough, it is typically accompanied by a finger-licking curry sauce.

How to Make an Irish Spice Bag

Preparing an Irish spice bag can actually be quite simple, the meat, usually chicken or beef, is first seasoned. Then, battered and fried in oil until golden and crispy. The potatoes are also fried (for a short-cut, feel free to use store-bought french fries and bake them). While your potatoes and chicken are being fried, onions, garlic, bell peppers, and chiles (and other vegetables if preferred) need to be sautéed in a pan. All of the ingredients can then be tossed a paper bag along with your spice blend and shaken to incorporate the seasoning (tossing in a pan is perfectly acceptable, as well). Feel free to eat this meal straight out of the bag with your fingers and make sure you have plenty of curry sauce for dipping.

The Irish spice bag is a true culinary symphony, with a satisfying mix of flavors and textures to awaken your senses. The crispy potatoes provide a crunch, complemented by the tender and well-seasoned meat, and a spice blend combining heat and earthiness. The vegetables add freshness, more spice, and a hint of sweetness, further enhancing the overall experience. Each bite is a delightful amalgamation of savory, spicy, and tangy sensations, leaving taste buds yearning for more.

For a truly spectacular Irish Spice Bag, make sure you use quality, ethically sourced spices from our online spice shop, including our spectacular ground chile peppers.