Garam Masala – Definition

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[gah-RAHM mah-SAH-lah] Garam is Indian for “warm” or “hot,” and this blend of dry-roasted, ground spices from the colder climates of northern India adds a sense of “warmth” to both palate and spirit. There are as many variations of garam masala (which may contain up to 12 spices) as there are Indian cooks. In can include black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, cardamom, dried chiles, fennel, mace, nutmeg and other spices. Garam masala may be purchased in Indian markets and in most supermarkets.* It’s also easily prepared at home, but should be made in small batches to retain its freshness. As with all spices, it should be stored in a cool, dry place for no more than 6 months. ** Garam masala is usually either added to a dish towards the end of cooking or sprinkled over the surface just before serving.

*It’s not at Kroger, for those of you in the south. I had to go to Fresh Market, which is similar to Whole Foods for my West Coast friends. If you’re reading this in another country, I’m sorry but I have no idea where you can go. (But I’m stoked you’re checking out the website, thanks!!)

** I call bullshit on this rule of using spices in 6 months. Spices are expensive and I know I can’t afford to buy them all new every 6 months. It’s true to buy in small quantities so you don’t keep it forever, but don’t go overboard. (My boss, who is a brilliant cook backs me up on this too, by the way.)

Video: Butter Chickpea Curry

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Ingredients:

  • 4 medium potatoes, cubed and cooked
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces, steamed
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (regular sized can)
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup cream (or milk)
  • 1 (12 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) rinsed and drained.

Directions:

  1. Place potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat; simmer until the potatoes are tender. Drain, and set aside.
  2. Steam or microwave cauliflower until it’s cooked but still firm. Drain and set aside.(You can cook the potatoes and cauliflower ahead of time, just throw them in the fridge up to one day.)
  3. Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic, and cook until the onions are soft and translucent.
  4. Stir in curry powder, garam masala, ginger, cumin, and salt. Cook for at least 2 minutes, stirring the whole time. (Don’t worry that it’s a weird pasty mess, it will be fine once the liquid is added. Promise.)
  5. Pour in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, cream, and chickpeas. Stir in potatoes. Simmer at least 5 minutes, up to 30 minutes

This dish can be served right away, but it’s also delicious when it’s had some time to sit and let the flavors come together. If you let it cool then reheat it don’t forget to add a little water, as the curry can thicken up quite a lot. You want the curry to be like a heavy gravy, not lumpy and grainy.

Hopefully you saw in the video how totally easy this is. It’s a great dish, and even though it’s vegetarian I still feel like a hedonist when I eat it.

As always, enjoy and let me know what you think.

xoxo,

Melanie