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Posts Tagged ‘garam masala’

My copies of Rose Elliot’s vegetarian cookbooks, Not Just a Load of Lentils and The Bean Book, have been on my bookshelves for ages and are much thumbed!

First published in the 1970sher recipes have withstood the test of time–and the ingredients often fit in with my adopted way of eating.

This is adapted from a recipe in The Bean Book. 

I made it in the morning and gently reheated it in the evening–giving the spices time to settle and meld. We had it for supper last night and it was worth the wait.

Meredith is wary of pulses because of their tendency to cause flatulence.

This time the positive outweighed the negative and she gave it the thumbs up–phew!

for 4

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

1 small onion–chopped

1 clove of garlic–peeled & chopped

1/2  teaspoon of powdered cumin

1/2 teaspoon of powdered coriander

1/2 teaspoon each of garam masala ( an earlier post), turmeric, ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon cayenne/chili powder

1 teaspoon fresh root ginger–peeled & chopped (optional)

1 large jar of cooked chickpeas–drained (the precise quantity is not critical!)

2 fennel bulbs–outer leaves removed, quartered and chopped

1 large leek–damaged outer parts removed, cut down to the base, washed and sliced

2 tablespoons of parsley or coriander–chopped

1 pint of vegetable stock (I use organic cubes diluted with boiling water.)

  • Heat the oil in a pan.
  • Gently fry the cumin seeds until they start to pop.
  • Add the onion and garlic and soften–about 3 minutes.

  • Add the spices and mix them in.

  • Add the chickpeas.
  • Add the leeks and fennel and mix.

  • Add the stock–start with half a pint and adjust as needed.
  • Bring the mixture up to boil, then cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes.

  • Fold in a tablespoon of parsley or coriander.
  • Sprinkle the second  tablespoon of parsley or coriander over the dish when you serve it hot with…
  • Brown basmati rice and yogurt sauce (see the next post).
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Garam masala is an ingredient in the dal recipe I posted a few days ago (see Gentle Lentils) and was new to some people.

Garam means hot and masala means a spice mix.

The “hot” is not a spicy hot but rather a heat that warms the body (in principle).

I’ve learnt about this subtle and delicate flavouring mix from Kris Dhillon whose cookbook, The Curry Secret, is from the same imprint as Delicious Dishes for Diabetics–i.e. Right Way).

He writes:

“…the theory comes from the Hindu concept of medicine and diet called tridosha, which teaches that some foods have a warming effect on the body while others have a cooling effect. Spices such as cardomans, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg are garam constituents of this aromatic mixture.”

Garam masala is usually added towards the end of the cooking process; it can also be sprinkled over cooked food to enhance the flavour.

It is a mixture of spices that has infinite variations. You can buy it (just as you buy curry powder) or you can make your own. This version is from the wonderful Indian actress and food writer Madhur Jaffrey, author of  Indian Cookery.

1 tablespoon cardoman seeds

2″/5 cm stick of cinnamon

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1/2 a small nutmeg–grated

Whizz the mix to a fine powder in a spice or coffee grinder.

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