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Garam Masala... What do u use it for?

lynnlato Nov 12, 2007 02:51 PM

I bought a fresh sweet potato pie at the farmer's market over the weekend. I got home and cut me a sliver and I found it a bit bland. I like a little spice in my pie. So I opened up the spice cabinet and garam masala jumped out at me. I took it out and gave it a whiff and thought it would dress up my pie. I gave the slice of pie a good sprinkle and a dollop of cream and sure enough it was SO good! I plan to make a sweet potato pie now w/ garam masala for Thanksgiving.

I realized that I really only get it out when I'm making a curry or other indian dish. But I looked it up on the 'net and it's a blend, typically, of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and black pepper. I thought that it's quite versatile then.

So, what do you use it for? It seems this is the perfect time of year to utilize this spice blend.

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  1. lynnlato RE: lynnlato Nov 13, 2007 03:49 AM

    Maybe no one uses it. Hmmm....

    1. Gio RE: lynnlato Nov 13, 2007 03:59 AM

      I bought my first jar of Garam Masala last week from Penzey's and used it in the first curry I ever made. I'm in love with the taste. Now, with your inspiration, I'll have to use it more often in dishes other than curries. Roast squash probably will be my next try since it's on my menu for tonight's dinner.

      22 Replies
      1. re: Gio
        lynnlato RE: Gio Nov 13, 2007 04:18 AM

        Ooooh, brilliant Gio! I'm also having a medley of sauteed squash tonight. Thanks for the suggestion!

        1. re: Gio
          q
          qsl gal RE: Gio Aug 23, 2010 10:37 AM

          thanks for the info. I am waiting for my jar of GM from Penzeys to arrive. I will make a curry with it. Also some middle eastern dip use GM as well.

          1. re: qsl gal
            ZenSojourner RE: qsl gal Aug 23, 2010 01:15 PM

            I make any number of Indian dishes that use Garam Masal, from Murgh Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken) to a simple S. Indian dry-fry.

            There are several recipes using Garam Masala on the Barbarians at the Kitchen Gate blog.

            1. re: ZenSojourner
              t
              twj RE: ZenSojourner Aug 23, 2010 01:39 PM

              ZenSojourner-

              Can you share your recipe for Murgh Makhani? I just looked up Madhur Jaffrey's that I'll be trying. Just wanted to see what else is out there.

              1. re: twj
                ZenSojourner RE: twj Aug 23, 2010 01:47 PM

                This recipe is at:

                http://barbariansatthekitchengate.blo...

                This is my favorite chicken curry recipe, bar none. Here goes:

                Ingredients

                * ½ c unflavored yogurt, preferably organic or home made
                * 2 tsp ground red chilies (NOT American style chili powder
                )* ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
                * ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
                * ¼ tsp ground cloves
                * 1 ½ tsp garam masala
                * 1 ½ tsp Salt
                *
                * 1 ½ tsp minced ginger
                * 2 cloves crushed garlic
                *
                * 4 - 6 Roma style tomatoes, diced, or 16 oz can of diced tomatoes
                * 2 med onions, sliced fairly thinly
                * 2 bell peppers, preferably red, yellow, and/or orange but green will do, sliced
                *
                * 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
                *
                * 8 T butter (one stick)
                *
                * 2 T chopped fresh coriander
                * ¼ c heavy whipping cream

                Directions

                1. Mix the dry spices into the yoghurt. Add the ginger, garlic, and tomato and mix well.
                2. Cut chicken into reasonable size pieces, about 1” - 1.5". Try to make the pieces about even in size so they’ll all cook at about the same rate. Add the chicken pieces to the yoghurt (hopefully you used a large enough bowl to start with) and let marinate in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to an hour.
                3. Melt the butter in a large wok or deep skillet and fry the onion and pepper slices until the onion slices are just beginning to turn translucent.
                4. Add the chicken and its marinade and cook, stirring, for 5 to 10 minutes.
                5. Add the cream and the chopped coriander and heat to just before the boiling point, stirring occasionally.
                6. Serve garnished with sprigs of fresh coriander

                YUM!

                1. re: ZenSojourner
                  t
                  twj RE: ZenSojourner Aug 23, 2010 01:54 PM

                  Thank you!

                  1. re: twj
                    ZenSojourner RE: twj Aug 23, 2010 02:29 PM

                    NP. I think Madhur Jaffrey's recipe uses pre-cooked tandoori chicken, and I've seen it said that "real butter chicken" only uses tandoori chicken instead of raw chicken, but I don't think tandoori chicken is even actually an Indian dish but rather a product of the British Raj (like chop suey is an American invention and not "real" Chinese food).

                    There's a LOT of variation in Indian cooking. I learned all of my techniques from Indian born cooks, and that makes it authentic enough for me, LOL!

                    1. re: ZenSojourner
                      alkapal RE: ZenSojourner Aug 23, 2010 03:34 PM

                      real butter chicken uses leftover tandoori chicken. real butter chicken is not an english invention, but maybe chicken tikka masala is. the tandoori char makes the flavor deeper.

                      1. re: alkapal
                        ZenSojourner RE: alkapal Aug 23, 2010 07:20 PM

                        Alkapal, SOME "real butter chicken" uses leftover tandoori chicken. I got my first butter chicken recipe from a Real Indian who cooked it regularly in Hyderabad.

                        I think it was Hyderabad. May have been one of my ex's cousins in Bangalore. Either Bangalore or Hyderabad.

                        I have been making Indian food for 30 years. Only in the last couple of weeks have I ever heard of making Butter Chicken from Tandoori Chicken leftovers.

                        1. re: ZenSojourner
                          alkapal RE: ZenSojourner Aug 27, 2010 05:00 AM

                          well, you have to make chicken tikka (or tandoori chicken) first, then put it on the sauce (either murgh makhani or "ctm" sauce). otherwise, the chicken and the later dish do not have the depth of flavor imparted by the tandoor.

                          i'd stake my cred on it: putting the raw, marinated chicken to cook *in* the sauce is inferior. you'll see for yourself once you try it, and roast the chicken in the tandoor first, before putting it in the sauce. http://www.spicelines.com/2007/02/rec...

                          another thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/503280

                          ~~~~~~~
                          i've been cooking indian food for 29 years, and my first cookbook was julie sahni's. (and fwiw, i've met madhur jaffrey, too -- whose cookbooks i also have.)

                          1. re: alkapal
                            ZenSojourner RE: alkapal Aug 27, 2010 09:33 PM

                            Thanks, but I'll continue to cook it the way I was taught. Probably its a regional difference since my ex's family were Andhra and chicken tikka is a northern thing, if not actually Punjabi on top of that.

                            People don't understand how varied Indian culture and cooking are. Just because it's different than what little you may be used to doesn't make it not "authentic".

                            1. re: ZenSojourner
                              alkapal RE: ZenSojourner Aug 28, 2010 07:52 AM

                              the cream in the makhani indicates that it is a northern dish -- and the northern style -- moghul-based -- used lots of grilled kabobs as the base for recipe variations.

                              and you're not even willing to try it a different way? to me, that's odd, but you carry on -- of course -- as you wish.

                              1. re: alkapal
                                ZenSojourner RE: alkapal Aug 28, 2010 05:02 PM

                                You could try it a different way. I don't care for tandoori chicken to start with so I'm unlikely to make a dish I don't even like to change a recipe I'm satisfied with.

                                Perhaps it does stem from a northern dish. I don't see what difference that makes, regardless. This is the way some people like to cook and eat it. Why does that bother you? THAT seems odd to me.

                                By your reasoning, if a dish includes collard greens, MUST it, therefore, be a Southern US dish? C'mon. Cream is widely available all across India. Southern cooks don't do much tandoori - if they modified a dish to use raw chicken instead of leftover tandoori chicken, I don't see why that should be so surprising or awful.

                                I'm not sure what part of "regional variation" it is that you object to.

                        2. re: alkapal
                          buttertart RE: alkapal Aug 24, 2010 11:21 AM

                          Per the current arbiter of all things British food, Simon Majumdar, in his recent magisterial "Eating for Britain", a restaurant in Glasgow, the Shish Mahal, appears to be the first place chicken tikka masala was made. Joking about the arbiter and magisterial part, but his book is very fun to read. I "had" to order it from Amazon.uk recently (not out in US yet or possibly ever given that British food is mistakenly taken to be oxymoronic by a good part of the US population).

                          1. re: buttertart
                            dave_c RE: buttertart Aug 24, 2010 11:42 AM

                            Chicken Tikka Masala is the General Tso of Indian Cuisine. It's the only Scottish food I like... lol.

                            1. re: dave_c
                              ZenSojourner RE: dave_c Aug 24, 2010 11:45 AM

                              What??!?! No haggis?

                              You, sir, are a bounder and a cad! Aye, a rawt choob!

                            2. re: buttertart
                              huiray RE: buttertart Jan 8, 2012 06:46 PM

                              @buttertart: as luckyfatima below mentions -
                              "chicken tikka" does not equal "chicken tikka masala".
                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_...
                              http://www.squidoo.com/tikka

                              1. re: huiray
                                buttertart RE: huiray Jan 10, 2012 03:12 PM

                                Just curious, but what about my post makes you think I don't know that? I've been eating and reading about Indian food for a long time.

                                1. re: buttertart
                                  huiray RE: buttertart Jan 10, 2012 03:30 PM

                                  I'm sure you do know, but I did do a double-take since you responded to alkapal's post regarding chicken tikka with your post regarding chicken tikka masala...

                                  1. re: huiray
                                    buttertart RE: huiray Jan 11, 2012 05:56 AM

                                    Farther upthread alkapal refers to making chicken tandoori first and then saucing it. That's what I was responding to, 16 months ago.

                                    1. re: buttertart
                                      huiray RE: buttertart Jan 11, 2012 06:23 AM

                                      That was the one I was thinking about too, but he was saucing the tikka to make butter chicken? No matter. I was just puzzled, thanks for setting me right.

                          2. re: ZenSojourner
                            luckyfatima RE: ZenSojourner Aug 26, 2010 08:30 PM

                            tandoori chicken is a real Indian dish. It is chicken tikka, chicken pieces cooked in a tandoor. Famous in the Punjab for India and also all of the Northern seats of Muslim cuisine, now pretty much standard non-veg Northern 'hotel' fare.

                            I believe that it is chicken tikka masala that was invented in the UK, but these days that has made its way back to India as well.

              2. AmyH RE: lynnlato Nov 13, 2007 04:19 AM

                I tossed some cut up butternut squash in oil and garam masala and roasted it. It was so good!

                1 Reply
                1. re: AmyH
                  Gio RE: AmyH Nov 13, 2007 04:28 AM

                  Gosh - Great minds! Tis the squash season after all. We love all kinds here.

                2. foxy fairy RE: lynnlato Nov 13, 2007 04:46 AM

                  Masala means "spices" and garam "hot" or "warm." So heat up some spices -- try making your own garam masala! I did this for the first time last week (check out the pics) and it's just so much fun and feels like culinary wizardry. I'm going to make bhagan bharta over the next few days with my OWN garam masala. The whole house smells fragrant, and I really like the process of toasting and grinding the spices. Here's a paraphrase of the recipe I used:

                  1/2 cup coriander seeds
                  several tablespoons fennel seeds (I used three)
                  a tablespoon brown mustard seeds
                  1 tsp cardamom seeds
                  10 cloves (whole cloves)
                  1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
                  some whole cinnamon stick, about a 2-inch piece

                  I had fun getting these at my local Indian grocer (shaking his head -- just buy the premade garam masala, already!) and on a dim, dreary afternoon the aroma really brightened our home. I heated these over medium in a heavy skillet and toasted, stirring once in a while and watching/enjoying the process, about 15 minutes. Then I ground them up in my little Krups spice/coffee grinder. This should keep in an airtight container for about a month.

                  Photos:

                  toasting:
                  http://i223.photobucket.com/albums/dd...

                  the finished deliciously-scented garam masala:
                  http://i223.photobucket.com/albums/dd...

                  On your theme of spice-infused dishes, this morning I just made a cardamom coffee cake, in the oven right now! YUM! Again I toasted and ground my own spice...

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: foxy fairy
                    alkapal RE: foxy fairy Nov 13, 2007 04:56 AM

                    beautiful job, foxy fairy! i am wondering if it would taste even better if one only ground as much as one needed at the moment? next time, sneak in some fenugreek or cumin, for a variation. i love cardamom scented goodies, like your coffee cake! toss a green (white) cardamom pod in your hot tea. soothing.

                    1. re: foxy fairy
                      lynnlato RE: foxy fairy Nov 13, 2007 10:48 AM

                      I've made mace cake before and loved it (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...! I'll bet that would make your home smell soooo good. I'm going to have to try it. However, I am hesitant to shop at the Indian market. Last time I did I ended up w/ Indian meal moths all over my pantry and they took an act of congress to get rid of t)hem.

                      1. re: lynnlato
                        foxy fairy RE: lynnlato Nov 13, 2007 12:17 PM

                        Oh, gosh... ick! That must have been a fun one to clean up.

                        I know nothing about mace, and you prompted me to do some research:
                        http://www.mccormick.com/content.cfm?...

                        Apparently mace is deep orange in color, nutmeg-like and hails from Indonesia! :) I like it already. I might even make one of the recipes posted on that site, the lemon cream cheese coffee cake with mace:
                        http://www.mccormick.com/recipedetail...

                        For the spices, I wouldn't go back to the moth-infested-market either... maybe there's a more reputable Indian shop nearby? How about an alternative food coop? A Middle Eastern market would carry many of the same spices -- I think I just saw all of them at our local M.E. market today. (Totally OT, but maybe not since you're mentioning intriguing flavor/aroma -- at the Lebanese market, I couldn't resist orange blossom water and rose water and grabbed a bottle of each... wooohoo!

                        )

                        You could go super yuppy. I'm sure Whole Foods carries all of the spices, and it's Try-Me-Tuesday -- samples galore!

                      2. re: foxy fairy
                        r
                        Rasam RE: foxy fairy Aug 24, 2010 10:37 AM

                        Hi Foxyf:
                        you have *one* variation of GM, which is good, but there are other variations too, which will affect possible uses. For e.g. your recipe wouldn't work with OP's pumpkin pie because of the coriander and mustard seed elements (mustard seeds are not a common variation of GM) which are very savoury.

                        Mughlai garam masala, which focuses on the warm spices (cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper) would go well with European (broadly speaking) dishes. I have this on hand and the non-Indian dishes I add add it to include:
                        spanakopita filling, sauteed mushrooms, some cookies, some pies (e.g. apple), baked fruit, spice cake, and things of that nature. This GM works well with sweet and savoury dishes.

                        What I think of as "ordinary" garam masala has the warm spices + cumin and coriander, and this functions like what people in the West think of as "curry powder". The cumin and coriander seed give it much more of a savory flavour profile.

                        So, there are different garam masalas (differ by region, style of cooking, etc.) with different possible uses, and one size does not fit all.

                      3. m
                        MaggieRSN RE: lynnlato Nov 13, 2007 08:19 AM

                        That pie sounds delicious, lynn.

                        I never had masalas/curries until a few years ago. Now hubby and I love them, and, if left to my own devices, I'll use them on/in just about anything (depending on the compatibility with the entree, of course).

                        Some ways I use g.m. (or other curries, where appropriate):

                        --as a spice crust on pork cutlets, steaks, poultry, lamb/beef/veal stew meat...sear or brown and then finish cooking as desired--roast, braise...
                        --sprinkle on plain old steamed or simmered veggies
                        --add a tablespoon or two to white or brown rice, plain couscous, bulgar
                        --roast at high heat rough chopped veggies tossed in olive oil and g.m. or other curry until the veggies soften/caramelize, then toss into cooked grain of choice--extra good if you toss in some small cubes of mild cheese (e.g., mozzarella, mild provolone)
                        --sprinkle on broiled bruschetta
                        --add to fresh cooked apple, cranberry or pear sauce for a savory autumn/winter side dish
                        --add to chicken or vegetable soups
                        --sprinkle a little on top of ranch dressing on a plain tossed salad
                        --toss into cut or diced potatoes intended for hash browns or roasting
                        --for chicken or turkey salad, dress in half EVOO/half mayo/liberal helping of g.m. or other curry and then add in whatever you like in your chicken salad...diced apples/onion or garlic/celery/walnuts/golden raisins/dried apricots, etc.

                        That pie still sounds better, though, and now you have me wondering if one could use g.m. in a rustic, warm rice pudding on a cold snowy night...hmmm...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: MaggieRSN
                          s
                          suzeqz RE: MaggieRSN Mar 27, 2012 05:58 AM

                          Oh, man! I've cutting the carbs and haven't had a good rice pudding in a hen's age...I loveittodeath with cinnamon, and now I want it with the GM. WAH!!! Oh, and I'm cut/pasting your list into a Word doc so I've got it forever handy. I am too happy to find such a thing. LOVE the idea of veggies and cheese w/ the GM; I make paneer which doesn't melt like a nice mozz, but my recipe for paneer calls for adding spices, so I may try adding the GM right to the curds.

                        2. l
                          LizR RE: lynnlato Nov 13, 2007 08:58 AM

                          We like it on sweet potatoes, too. My husband just did some oven-baked sweet potato chips with garam masala that were great. Also very good for seasoning meat for the grill (esp. pork).

                          1. s
                            Sam D. RE: lynnlato Nov 13, 2007 10:02 AM

                            What is the difference between garam masala & curry powder?

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: Sam D.
                              alkapal RE: Sam D. Nov 13, 2007 10:52 AM

                              the spice mix, that is all...

                              1. re: Sam D.
                                lynnlato RE: Sam D. Nov 13, 2007 10:57 AM

                                Store bought curry powder is generally cumin, turmeric, ginger, pepper, curry & fenugreek leaves w/ some variation there. Garam masala, on the other hand, is typically cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and black pepper. Again that is generalizing. To me, garam masala is a subtler flavor and can go sweet or savory.

                                1. re: lynnlato
                                  alkapal RE: lynnlato Nov 13, 2007 11:13 AM

                                  i am not familiar with fenugreek leaves. curry leaves, yes, but those are not typically involved in curry powder, as far as i know. that said, gm is definitely a more subltle flavor combo than curry powder, but it all depends on the volume. one mahjor idfference, and correct me if you could, is that gm does not involve chiles... (but i am thinking off the top of my head, here). btw, curry leaves make a fantastic cabbage dish!

                                  1. re: alkapal
                                    JungMann RE: alkapal Nov 14, 2007 06:22 AM

                                    Garam masala doesn't involve chilies, but neither does most curry powder! The difference between garam masala and curry powder is as bold as the difference between cinnamon and black pepper. One is warm, perhaps slightly sweet with a bit of heat on the tongue. The other is savory, sharp and piquant.

                                    Think of garam masala as a "finishing spice" in Indian cuisine, to be used the way one would use paprika on devilled eggs or filé powder on gumbo. It is dusted over a dish at the end of cooking to round out the flavors and bring together the disparate spices in the curry. One would never fry GM the way one fries the masala for a dish. Curry powder, however, is that main seasoning of disparate parts used at the beginning of a dish to give it a distinctive flavor.

                                    1. re: alkapal
                                      alkapal RE: alkapal Nov 14, 2007 01:18 PM

                                      i just came across this recipe with fenugreek leaves (and gm). i will find out the indian name
                                      http://www.surfindia.com/recipes/chic...

                                      this is a variation using boneless chicken breasts (which is the HEAVENLY version i had last night at raaga in falls church virginia):
                                      http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Reshmi-K...

                                      1. re: alkapal
                                        alkapal RE: alkapal Nov 20, 2007 06:10 AM

                                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fenugreek -- says the dried leaves are called
                                        kasuri methi.

                                        1. re: alkapal
                                          r
                                          Rasam RE: alkapal Aug 24, 2010 10:41 AM

                                          Fenugreek leaves are called methi. Dried fenugreek leaves are kasoori methi.
                                          The seeds are methi dana.

                                          The greens are a common vegetable in Northern India, less common in the South, but not unknown.
                                          Methi seeds as a spice is very common all over India - e.g. it is one of the five spices in Bangla paanchporan; it is used in many Tamil dishes; etc.

                                  2. re: Sam D.
                                    paulj RE: Sam D. Nov 13, 2007 06:07 PM

                                    As another poster wrote, garam masala means 'warming spice mix'. That is, it consists of spices that are regarded as 'warming' in character. Warming and cooling in this context are traditional herbal concepts that don't have an exact equivalent in Western culture.

                                    It is a spice mix that can be added to a dish a several points, especially right at the end.

                                    Curry powder on the other hand is a generic mix originally used to evoke the flavors that Brits had experienced in India.

                                    My bottle of gm describes it as having a 'mellow appealing aroma'. It is not supposed to dominate, but rather enhance flavors and aromas. Gm generally is not yellow with turmeric, nor hot with cayenne. Coriander and cumin are common in both. GM is stronger in the 'sweet' spices that we associate with pumpkin pie (cinnamon, cloves, ginger, etc). In fact it might be described as the Indian version of pumpkin spices.

                                    paulj

                                  3. WCchopper RE: lynnlato Nov 13, 2007 11:00 AM

                                    Lentils are really good with those spices. I will first saute' my celery, onion, carrot, garlic, shake some spices over the veg. and let them "bloom" in the heat for a minute, then add the lentils and cooking liquid.

                                    1. lynnlato RE: lynnlato Nov 13, 2007 04:05 PM

                                      Hey Y'all! I just had the best dish using my garam masala and wanted to share it w/ you.

                                      I bought a bag of fresh diced parsnips, yams & butternut squash from (Harvest Medley in the produce section)Trader Joes. I diced up half and onion and sauteed it in 4T of butter over med. heat until they carmelized. Then added diced garlic clove, a heaping tsp of garam masala, s & p and a slight sprinkle of sugar. Cooked over med. heat for 15 minutes. Oh man was this good!

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: lynnlato
                                        s
                                        suzeqz RE: lynnlato Mar 27, 2012 05:52 AM

                                        My kingdom for a Trader Joe's in the vicinity! Luckily, our local Winn Dixie has all of the above in stock. I am SO copying this to my recipe file!

                                        1. re: suzeqz
                                          lynnlato RE: suzeqz Mar 27, 2012 11:10 AM

                                          I can't believe that post is almost 5 yrs old - wow! I still eat that dish though. Enjoy!

                                          1. re: lynnlato
                                            s
                                            suzeqz RE: lynnlato Mar 28, 2012 08:13 AM

                                            I picked up a shaker of garam masala at a scratch-n-dent grocery, else I'd never have tried it. I LOVE those stores, as I'm always finding new tasty things. I'm just glad I was then able to find so many brilliant ideas on how to use the stuff, as my spice cupboard is packed with other stuff I rarely, if ever, use. (Prolly oughta purge it, eh?) Thanks for the veg recipe -- I'll let you know!

                                      2. Gio RE: lynnlato Nov 13, 2007 04:14 PM

                                        I had to go with plan B tonight because the chicken I was planning to roast was not thawed. So - all the VGs I was going to roast with the chicken went into a large roasting pan, and all the spices usually associated with curry were sprinkled over top with a good dose of EVOO.... into the oven at 400* for about 1 hour.... turned after 30 min.
                                        Served over basmati rice cooked in chicken stock..... 2 thumbs up.

                                        1. digkv RE: lynnlato Nov 14, 2007 12:42 AM

                                          I like to just saute some onions in butter and add some basmati rice and toast. Add some garam masala and salt and add stock or water and let cook as normal. I love how the garam masala aids in the perfumey-ness of the basmati. It's really basic but its' my favorite application.

                                          1. alkapal RE: lynnlato Nov 14, 2007 01:11 PM

                                            This is tried and true deliciousness:

                                            Indian Eggplant and Tomato (“Baingan Bharta”)

                                            1 large eggplant
                                            2 finely chopped onions
                                            4 finely chopped green chilies
                                            1 teaspoon cumin seeds (whole seeds, not ground)
                                            1 teaspoon ginger/garlic paste (can make own fresh for this!)
                                            1 teaspoon turmeric
                                            2 finely chopped tomatoes
                                            ½ teaspoon red chilie powder (not American CHILI powder, but actual ground chilies – Indian or Latin shop)
                                            1 teaspoon Indian garam masala powder
                                            1 Tablespoon chopped coriander leaf (cilantro) (or more)
                                            ¼ Cup oil (use neutral flavored oil, like canola)
                                            salt to taste (DO NEED IT!)

                                            1. Roast, peel and mash eggplant. Set aside.
                                            2. Heat oil in pan, add cumin seeds. Cook ½ minute or until smell the cumin.
                                            3. Add onions, green chiles; fry till golden brown.
                                            4. Add ginger/garlic paste, turmeric, and fry for a minute.
                                            5. Add mashed eggplant, tomatoes, salt. Stir well and cook on medium heat until oil floats on top.
                                            6. Add red chile powder, garam masala and fry for another 2 minutes.
                                            7. Serve hot garnished with coriander leaf and serve with rice or chapattis.

                                            Adapted from “Lalitha Setty’s Indian Kitchen” cookbook

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: alkapal
                                              oakjoan RE: alkapal Aug 23, 2010 03:30 PM

                                              I always make my own curry powder and garam masala. It's easy and most of us have the necessary spices at hand. You never know how long it's been sitting on the shelf when you purchase garam masala.

                                            2. foxy fairy RE: lynnlato Nov 20, 2007 07:07 AM

                                              If you grind your own, you can put some in a pretty little glass jar, and bring it as a host gift :) I just decided to do that for the fantastic couple who invited us for Thanksgiving, also foodies who are very into Indian food.

                                              1. bitsubeats RE: lynnlato Aug 23, 2010 03:26 PM

                                                I use it as a base for a rub for ribs. I mix it with some brown sugar, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, chile powder, and pretty much whatever else I have and then smear it on top of my ribs after I add some yellow mustard for glue.

                                                1. boogiebaby RE: lynnlato Aug 23, 2010 05:33 PM

                                                  Old thread, but besides "regular" indian food, I use it in.... boxed macaroni and cheese! I "indianize" it for a different taste for the kids. I mix it in when I add the powdered cheese, and add some fresh ground pepper to it. They love it like that. Leftover tandoori chicken or kebobs o the side is an added plus.

                                                  1. eight_inch_pestle RE: lynnlato Aug 23, 2010 06:19 PM

                                                    There isn't a better fast and simple dinner than a pork tenderloin rubbed in garam masala (or most any other homemade spice mixture from the Subcontinent, but especially those with a hit of cinnamon) and roasted or grilled until just pink in the center. Serve it sliced thinly on the bias, either with a chutney and a salad or as the protein for an green entree salad (and no need at all for the dressing or other ingredients in the salad to be Indian).

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: eight_inch_pestle
                                                      mariacarmen RE: eight_inch_pestle Aug 23, 2010 09:59 PM

                                                      oh yum, i was going to buy a pork tenderloin today but didn't, now i want to!

                                                      1. re: mariacarmen
                                                        eight_inch_pestle RE: mariacarmen Aug 26, 2010 06:55 PM

                                                        Let us know how it turns out if you do it...

                                                      2. re: eight_inch_pestle
                                                        shanagain RE: eight_inch_pestle Aug 24, 2010 08:40 AM

                                                        Try sauteeing some apples and onions with a good shake of garam masala for a side. (Based on one of my favorite uses which is pan fried pork chops instead of tenderloin.)

                                                        1. re: eight_inch_pestle
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                                                          suzeqz RE: eight_inch_pestle Mar 27, 2012 05:50 AM

                                                          I have boneless pork chops in the meat drawer, awaiting inspiration, and baby greens awaiting an entree...I see lunch on the horizon!

                                                        2. r
                                                          Rasam RE: lynnlato Aug 24, 2010 10:44 AM

                                                          In all cases folks, I repeat what I said in my posting above:
                                                          pay attention to the ingredients in your GM. Some versions of GM have a more savoury profile. Some are more versatile (e.g. the Mughlai kind of GM which focuses on spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg etc that work with sweet and savory dishes).

                                                          All GM is not the same, nor can varieties just sub for each other in recipes.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Rasam
                                                            ZenSojourner RE: Rasam Aug 24, 2010 11:18 AM

                                                            And the prepackaged kind nearly always includes cumin/coriander

                                                          2. Chocolatechipkt RE: lynnlato Aug 26, 2010 06:10 PM

                                                            The Penzey's guy who sold me my GM said he and his wife have been using GM in their pfeffernusse cookies for years.

                                                            1. f
                                                              FoodFreakJJ RE: lynnlato Jan 21, 2011 06:27 AM

                                                              This is a super old thread that I found on Google but I wanted to share:

                                                              http://www.food.com/recipe/garam-masa...

                                                              Ingredients:

                                                              Serves: 4,

                                                              Yield: 4 cornish hen halves

                                                              * 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (divided
                                                              ) * 1/2 tablespoon low-fat margarine, melted or plain butter
                                                              * 5 1/2 teaspoons garam masala (divided)
                                                              * 8 minced garlic cloves (divided, although adjust to taste, I always use more because I love garlic)
                                                              * 3 teaspoons fresh ginger (grated)
                                                              * 2 teaspoons salt (divided, although adjust to taste)
                                                              * 2 (22 ounce) Cornish hens
                                                              * 3/4 lb red potatoes, quartered
                                                              * 3/4 lb sweet potato, peeled, large dice
                                                              * 2 lbs butternut squash, peeled, large dice
                                                              * 1 large red onion, large wedges
                                                              * fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
                                                              * 1 1/2 tablespoons fat free Greek yogurt

                                                              Directions:

                                                              1. In a small bowl, mix together 3/4 tablespoons of oil, 1/2 tablespoon of butter, 4 teaspoons of garam masala, 1 1/2 teaspoons of ginger, 6 cloves of garlic, and 1 teaspoons of salt. Place hens in a large baking dish or plastic bag, loosen the skin from the breast and legs and, using your hands, spread a good part of the mixture underneath. Rub the remaining marinade inside the hen's cavity and over the skin. Loosely cover, refrigerate, and let marinate 30 min or up to 12 hours.

                                                              2. Remove hens from marinade and left any excess drip off. Let hens sit at room temp while oven warms up, about 30 minutes. Place probe thermometer into thickest portion of the thigh making sure not to hit bone.

                                                              3. Arrange the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F.

                                                              4. Combine remaining 3/4 tablespoon oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons of garam masala, 1/2 teaspoon of ginger, 2 cloves of garlic, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt (more or less to taste) in a large bowl. Place cut vegetables in it and toss until the vegetables are well coated. Season veggies with freshly ground black pepper (to taste) Place at bottom of large roasting pan which has been sprayed with nonstick spray.

                                                              5. Place hens breast side up on top of vegetables and bake for 15 min at 425 degrees F. Reduce heat to 375 degrees F. When internal temperature hits 145 degrees F, brush yogurt on hens. Make sure to just do a thin and light coating of yogurt. You don't want it to be very thick. When internal temperature hits 160 remove from oven and loosely cover with foil. This is also the time to check the vegetables in the pan and make sure that they're done to your liking. If you'd like them softer, simply put the vegetables back in the oven while the hens are resting.

                                                              6. Let hens rest, covered, for 15 minutes. After hens have rested cut each one in half, through the breast and backbone (I just use a big sharp knife or you could use poultry shears) so that each person gets a half a hen. Divide the vegetables evenly.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: FoodFreakJJ
                                                                buttertart RE: FoodFreakJJ Jan 21, 2011 06:43 AM

                                                                Dang, that sounds good. Thanks!

                                                              2. b
                                                                blizzardgirl33 RE: lynnlato Feb 6, 2011 03:11 PM

                                                                I love adding garam masala to my homemade baked apple dishes in the fall. It's yummy in apple crisp, apple pie or apple sauce. Or used to spice up hot apple cider.
                                                                I also sometimes add it to my pumpkin muffin or banana bread recipes. Adds a flavourful twist! Try substituting it in baking when cinnamon is called for.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: blizzardgirl33
                                                                  lynnlato RE: blizzardgirl33 Jan 8, 2012 02:32 PM

                                                                  I make a sweet potato & zucchini bread and I am definitely going to add some GM next time I make it. Great idea. Thanks!

                                                                  1. re: lynnlato
                                                                    s
                                                                    suzeqz RE: lynnlato Mar 27, 2012 05:46 AM

                                                                    Adding it to my chocolate zucchini bread recipe now!!! Too wonderful!

                                                                2. IndyGirl RE: lynnlato Jan 8, 2012 01:38 PM

                                                                  I know this is an old thread ,but I have three jars of GM to use up, so I wanted to bump up the thread and ask for even more contributions for ideas.

                                                                  Also, would love more thoughts about how GM can be used in vegetarian food. Definitely going to try the roasted squash application.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: IndyGirl
                                                                    m
                                                                    mspresque RE: IndyGirl Jan 8, 2012 01:53 PM

                                                                    Usually Garam masala is more of a finishing spice in vegetarian dishes - i.e you sprinkle some over the top just before you take the curry off the stove. I only make the one dish with boiled eggs which uses GM more as a main flavor. Basically chop up a red onion, saute. Add chopped boiled eggs and lots of GM, salt to taste. Finish with chopped coriander , maybe some lemon juice. Its a really nice combo.

                                                                    1. re: IndyGirl
                                                                      s
                                                                      SallyMcP RE: IndyGirl Mar 8, 2012 07:37 AM

                                                                      I added a good dash to a pot of asparagus/cheese soup last night and it transformed it! Penzey's Garam Masala is EXCELLENT. I keep it in the door of my freezer and it keeps its flavor & fragrance indefinitely.

                                                                      1. re: SallyMcP
                                                                        s
                                                                        suzeqz RE: SallyMcP Mar 27, 2012 05:45 AM

                                                                        I have asparagus and I have cheese and I have garma masala! Anything I need, please? This sounds all too good!

                                                                    2. Terrie H. RE: lynnlato Jan 8, 2012 11:02 PM

                                                                      I use it to sprinkle on warm hard boiled eggs for breakfast.

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Terrie H.
                                                                        a
                                                                        amyatkendall RE: Terrie H. Jan 9, 2012 05:40 AM

                                                                        What a good idea - I'm going to try this! I've got a big bag from Penzey's that I have sitting around.

                                                                        1. re: amyatkendall
                                                                          s
                                                                          SallyMcP RE: amyatkendall Mar 8, 2012 07:46 AM

                                                                          Amy, as I just said in a reply to Indygirl, store Penzey's (perfectly marvelous; best I've ever tasted) Garam Masala in your freezer. Because a little goes a long way I buy it in the small jar and that lasts me for a good year or longer. Kept in the freezer it is as good a year later as it was new.

                                                                        2. re: Terrie H.
                                                                          s
                                                                          suzeqz RE: Terrie H. Mar 27, 2012 05:44 AM

                                                                          Oh...I have hard-boiled eggs. Going NOW to try!

                                                                          1. re: suzeqz
                                                                            Terrie H. RE: suzeqz Mar 28, 2012 04:39 PM

                                                                            It is also good for cucumber spears or slices with a squirt of lime juice.

                                                                        3. c
                                                                          chefmateo RE: lynnlato Jan 10, 2012 03:34 PM

                                                                          One really good use, GM and salt rubbed in a big o' slab of pork belly then sprinkle it with some bourbon. let it sit for overnight and confit it.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: chefmateo
                                                                            lynnlato RE: chefmateo Jan 10, 2012 03:35 PM

                                                                            Ooooh, I likey.

                                                                          2. s
                                                                            suzeqz RE: lynnlato Mar 27, 2012 05:43 AM

                                                                            This looks AMAZING! I have garam masala in the pantry and I'm just learning about Indian food -- I'd thought it was all about the curry! Dunno why I did...I've used Chinese 5 spice powder in place of cinnamon / nutmeg / allspice in my pies and cookies since forever (makes for a KILLER biscotti!). I don't care for sugar-n-spice on my roasted squash or mashed sweets; I prefer savory for supper. But as an adult, I've come to adore a good pumpkin / sweet potato pie, mostly because of the spices. And I've got a EASYEASY pumpkin pudding recipe that I adapted from allrecipes.com and now I've GOTTA try it with the garam masala!

                                                                            makes 4 servings

                                                                            1 C pumpkin / squash puree (canned or fresh)
                                                                            1/3 cup sugar
                                                                            1/3 cup coconut milk
                                                                            1/3 teaspoon ground cardamom (or garam masala!)

                                                                            In a medium saucepan, combine pumpkin and sugar. Heat over medium-low temperature until sugar dissolves. Add coconut milk and cardamom, stirring often. Cook until mixture thickens to pudding-like consistency.

                                                                            1. algct RE: lynnlato Mar 27, 2012 06:01 AM

                                                                              Sprinkle over popcorn & skip the butter.....

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: algct
                                                                                Terrie H. RE: algct Mar 28, 2012 04:40 PM

                                                                                I love that idea (though I might keep the butter). I've been doing Old Bay on my popcorn but this sounds like a great alternative.

                                                                              2. a
                                                                                antimony RE: lynnlato Mar 27, 2012 11:23 AM

                                                                                Sprinkle over ground coffee before brewing. (I generally use actual tea masala, but garam masala is similar -- the biggest difference is the lack of cloves, and the balance is a little different.)

                                                                                1. greygarious RE: lynnlato Mar 27, 2012 11:30 AM

                                                                                  Mix into mayo or butter for the outside of the bread when making a grilled cheese sandwich or a Croque Monsieur/Madame. Add it to the custard for a Monte Cristo.

                                                                                  1. scubadoo97 RE: lynnlato Mar 28, 2012 10:17 AM

                                                                                    I know this is an old thread resurrected so thought I would add something

                                                                                    There are so many uses

                                                                                    One I used recently was to season popcorn. I actually used both zaatar and garam masala. The zaatar gave it a tart zing and the garam masala gave it a comforting warmth. The combo was addictive.

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