Thursday, March 31, 2011

I'm On An Indian Kick

Well right now I'm on a curry kick again. I partially blame OPB's CREATE channel and that darned "Globetrekkers" show that comes on...where people visit amazing countries (personal note: I believe all countries are amazing) and eat amazing food and travel. It's got me craving world cuisine again so yeah. God bless Trader Joe's for their ready-made sauces...but lately I've really been wanting to branch out and create my own blends of curry spices from scratch and see if I can create some Korma, Masala, Rogan Josh, Chicken Tikka and anything else I can bloghop around and find to MOW DOWN.
Back in the good ol' York, England days (I went to college there...it was amazing. almost "lost" my ticket back home. ha.) I used to crave this spice blend called "garam masala"...this stuff is like Indian heaven in your mouth. It's warm, spicy, nutty, exotic and goes well with just about any curry dish you make...including a cheese pizza. I kid you not. Yes I just said pizza.
It's suprisingly easy to prepare and only takes about 20 minutes or so! Most of these spices can be found in bulk or whole form in most stores. (suprisingly, some of the whole spices can be found in good quality in the Hispanic foods section. Like coriander pods!) A place I LOVE getting mine is Mountain Rose Herbs. They're based out of Eugene, Oregon and their customer service is superb!
Now that I have you all drooling for the exotic-ness of India and all things curry...let me whet your appetite. With my handy dandy cameraphone and the following recipe-I give you.....
Garam Masala Spice Blend
prep time. 20 minutes or so
Ingredients:
1/4 c. coriander pods (this is the seed pod of the cilantro/coriander plant)
2 Tbsp. Cumin seeds, whole
1 Tbsp. Black peppercorns
2 tsp. cardamom pods
Two 3-inch cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces 
(i put the sticks in between the folds of a towel and hammer it with a meet tenderiser a few times)
1 tsp. whole cloves
1 whole nutmeg

Instructions:
1. get a small pan (here I used a small cast iron pan) and heat pan up to medium (around 5 or 6). 
whole coriander pods toasting

2. toast each spice separately about 1 to 2 minutes, frequently and gently shaking pan to evenly "toast" each spice without burning. Inhale and be happy during this process. The different layers of flavour and aroma that lifts from each of these spices just makes you drool. Don't drool in the pan, though. please. 
cinnamon shards

3. toast all the spices but LEAVE THE NUTMEG UNTOASTED. Don't toast that one. This gets grated in very last after everything's done. I have no idea why...but I'll find out. It's just what everybody recommended when making this blend. I promise!
4. let the spices cool before you blend them. i suppose they can be SLIGHTLY warm but don't test your luck.
5. use a spice grinder, mortar and pestle, or clean coffee grinder and grind up all of the spices together except for your nutmeg. 
supplies I used to measure and blend the spices 

6. finally, grate in the whole nutmeg using a spice grater, or something similar. 
7. store in an airtight container...preferably something other than plastic because the flavour can leach out into it and loose some of its brilliance. here I have the finished deliciousness in one of my glass jars from IKEA (another one of my unashamed obsessions).
the finished deliciousness. there's a lid somewhere...just not here.

8. This blend can be stored up to one month I'm told...so use it up on what you think would be amazing ;)

What are some blends you like using for your indian dishes? 


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