Garam Masala March 2015 : New Times Masala

IMG_0994

Place in a large, heavy skillet or cast-iron pan over medium-low heat :

1/2 cup coriander seeds (1.75 oz)

1/2 cup cumin seeds (3 oz)

seeds of 3 tbs green cardamom pods (.5 oz) (about 1 1/2 tbs seeds)

1 tbs vietnamese cinnamon (.25 oz)

1 tbs cloves (.25 oz)

4 tbs black peppercorns (1.75 oz)

Toast spices, tossing gently, until aromas have been released but before coriander and cumin seeds begin to darken. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

Leave whole and store in glass to be ground fresh and used in recipes, or grind to a fine powder and store in glass jars or shakers. I usually like to leave about half as a solid spice mix and grind the other half. Remember when using the whole spice mix that it should be shaken before measuring, as it will likely settle and separate in the jar.

Ground masala will remain usable for at least a half of a year, the whole spice mix for a year. If spices are burned or darkened they will deteriorate more rapidly.

Masalas are inherently variable things, dependent on the mood of the cook and the spices available. I encourage you to come up with your own spice mixes, reflecting your own tastes and adding a touch of your own personality as a cook. This one is just a snapshot, a new masala for new times.

IMG_1005_2

Coriander Glazed Carrots

IMG_8663

Take :

8 oz. carrots, sliced into 1/4″-1/2″ rounds (I like to bias cut mine to make them longer, like above)

Add to saucepan of boiling, salted water.

Boil for 3-4 minutes, then drain immediately.

Heat in a wok or sautĂȘe pan over medium-high heat:

2 tbs neutral oil such as sunflower or vegetable

When the oil is quite hot, add :

1 tbs of coriander root paste (see below)

Stir-fry for one minute, then quickly add the boiled carrots.

Stir-fry or toss vigorously for one minute.

Add :

2 tbs sherry or cooking wine

1/2 tsp of sugar

Stir or toss vigorously for one minute or until the alcohol evaporates

Add :

1/2 tsp of freshly toasted and crushed coriander

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cut the heat and serve immediately or cover and keep warm, garnish with abundant cilantro / fresh coriander. This is best hot, but also good at room temperature.

IMG_8656

Coriander Root Paste :

Combine in a mortar and pestle :

1/2 oz finely chopped coriander roots (roots of one bunch)

few pinches kosher salt

few grinds of black pepper

2 cloves of garlic

Mash to desired consistency. To get a more paste-like consistency, you can add more salt. This should make about two tablespoons. It can be kept for a great while if salt or oil are added. You could of course also make this in a small food chopper / processor.

This is a simple and versatile dish that could accompany many different types of cuisine. It is most definitely for lovers of coriander though! The roots add a sophistication to the flavor that there is no substitute for.

This recipe accounts for about 2 servings as a side dish, but can be easily multiplied.

Key : The key to this recipe is to have everything prepared and move swiftly during the stir-fry stage.