31 Days of Progress Day 11 :: Spice Spice Baby

Category: Cooking & Eating
Goal: Cook at Home!
Baby Step: Discover new spices & recipes

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Let’s get real. I live smack-dab in the middle of America. When I get inventive and cook for my friends I observe a few things: funny faces made at unfamiliar ingredients and flavors, polite “no thank you”s, secretive picking of “green things” or nuts out of a recipe. So, I’m not really knowledgeable about Indian food. I did get to eat authentic Indian food once…in the Indian section of Nairobi, Kenya. I liked it. I really liked it. Because of my onion allergy I had to have a special dish made for me, so I didn’t get to taste the spiciest food, I had to watch my friends enjoy it and tell me how great it was. I believed ‘em!

Anyway, I was watching the Nate Berkus Show and he had Aarti Sequeira from the Food Network’s Aarti Party on as a guest. She was making a Spicy Beef Ragu and talking about Garam Masala. Knowing I’m a girl who loves my spices, and that I would love the ones she was talking about I decided to make my own garam masala blend. I also adapted and made her Beef Ragu, but am going to try it later with beef other than ground beef before I share it with you here. It sounded really romantic to toast my own seeds & seed pods, etc. But remember, this is Kansas. I can’t just run down to my local Indian market and buy two different kind of cardamom pods. So, here is my easy recipe. {There are many, many different versions out there}

Garam_Masala

Lisa’s Garam Masala

3 Tbs. Ground Cloves

3 Tbs. Ground Cardamom

2 1/2 Tbs. Ground Cinnamon

1 tsp. Ground Black Pepper

I kid you not, I like to just open this jar and take a “whiff”. I’ve never been to India, but smelling this spice blend just transports me somewhere. I once had a perfume that said it was inspired by Indian spices and it reminds me a little of that. If you’re not familiar with garam masala, it sort of means “hot spice blend”. The heat does not refer to hot spiciness, it more refers to spices that “warm” your insides. Perfect for fall, right?

We enjoyed our ragu and decided we would like the flavor of the garam masala with chicken, too. I plan to adapt and make a recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala from Jamie Oliver soon. If it turns out as great as I think it will based on the ingredients I’ll post the recipe here.

What spices or ethnic foods have you been wanting to try?

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