Garam masala


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I know, I know, a garam masala recipe when you can just buy one in a pinch so why bother etc, but here’s the thing, this isn’t just any other garam masala. No sir! this is garam masala with its party hat on. It’s the kind of all-inclusive, multi-purpose, dangerously fragrant aromatic that should replace any scented candle inside your home. This deep earth coloured spice melange has a disco-like quality to it which makes each dish that it’s added to get up and sing in full swing and make your taste buds dance.

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The ingredients list though long isn’t out of the ordinary to make something so extraordinary. Black and green cardamom pods, cinnamon, nutmeg, dried bay leaves, star anise, black peppercorns and cloves.

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Ordinarily, you’d only need put these spices in a processor and whizz to a powder but to amplify the flavours and have them announce themselves on a megaphone we need to roast these a bit, only until the oils of all the spices wake up and lose their subtlety. A few minutes on medium-low heat on a hot pan until the combined fragrance hits you. Steadily stir to keep them from catching.

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Once they’ve cooled down we can grind them to a fine powder. It’s best to do it in short burst of pulses.

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There shouldn’t be any lumps.

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Transfer to an airtight container.

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and add it to curries, gravies, roasts, cakes.


Ingredients

Cinnamon sticks: 8gms

Black cardamom pods: 5g

Star anise: 1 in nos

Dried bay leaves: 4-5 in nos

Nutmeg: 1/2 Tsp

Black peppercorns: 15gms

Green cardamom pods: 10gms

Cloves: 10gms



Recipe instructions

Roast the whole spices on a medium-low flame for a minute or two until fragrant. Keep stirring to avoid burning and let them cool.

Process to a fine powder and store in an airtight container.

This multipurpose spice blend can be used in many sweet and savoury dishes for a spicy kick.

 

Eggplant mash


A delight on your table, a wonderful treat for family and friends and easy as a breeze to cook up.Though a traditionally Indian dish, it can be altered anyway to suit your palate.

I have done the most basic version and yet it’s wonderful aroma wafted throughout the entire house making it impossible to concentrate on the calorie burning I had been promising myself at the gym. Not too heavy on the calories either. It’s a very simple recipe infused with deep flavors.

Easily eaten with bread of your choice or just plain as it is.

Eggplant Mash (baingan bharta)

One big onion finely chopped

One big juicy tomato finely chopped

2-3 garlic cloves finely grated

ginger (half the amount of garlic) finely grated

1 eggplant/brinjal roasted-skin removed and mashed (you can either do it in your oven or on a gas top. I did it on a gas top. )

cumin seeds – big pinch

3/4 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp garam masala

1/4 tsp cinnamon powder

2 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp red chilli powder (on your taste actually)- i like it spicy but my husband likes it mild.

salt to taste

2-3 tbsp water.

1 tbsp vegetable oil.

Assemble your chopped ingredients

In your favourite cooking utensil, it could be a wok/deep pan.. anything convenient, put in the oil on medium heat, and once its hot enough add in the cumin seeds. Once they start to splutter, tip in the onion, ginger , garlic and mix well.

saute to the point that it changes its color to a nice brown, this is the time to add in the turmeric powder, and keep browning. Take care that it doesn’t burn, at which point add in the water.

around 8 minutes of this and you’d have a beautiful, fragrant brown mixture. destroying the monotony, add in the tomatoes and give them the same treatment till the tomatoes completely mix into the onion mixture.

once its all cooked through its time to add in the spices- mix in your garam masala, cinnamon powder, coriander powder, chilli powder and salt and mix thoroughly to combine. use some more water in case its drying out.

once its all cooked through add in the eggplant and mash in into the mixture. Just work it through to make sure that its evenly distributed throughout.

I usually keep on tasting it in between to check the salt and the flavour. you can of course vary the content of the salt and chillies according to your like.

all that’s left is to put in the water and cover it with a lid and let it cook for a few minutes or until the water evaporates a bit.

Eat it hot, garnish with a few coriander leaves, and just smell your house.. it’s Heaven !!!