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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Garam Masala - essential Indian mix

4 tbsps coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 ½ tsps black cumin seeds (shahjeera)
1 ½ tsps dry ginger
¾ tsp black cardamom (3-4 large pods approx)
¾ tsp cloves
¾ tsp cinnamon (2 X 1” pieces)
¾ tsp crushed bay leaves
Heat a heavy skillet on a medium flame and gently roast all ingredients (leave cardamom in its pods till later) except the dry ginger, till they turn a few shades darker. Stir occasionally. Do not be tempted to speed up the process by turning up the heat as the spices will burn on the outside and remain raw on the inside. When the spices are roasted turn off the heat and allow them to cool. Once cooled, remove the cardamom seeds from their skins and mix them back with all the other roasted spices. Grind them all together, to a fine powder in a clean, dry coffee grinder. Store in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place.

Baharat - Middle Eastern spice mix

Baharat translates to “spices” in Arabic and can be purchased from Middle Eastern grocers. For the Westerners it is packaged as the product Baharat spice which literally translates to “Spices Spice”. Baharat can also be used to flavour burger patties or even as a rub on lamb chops before they are grilled or barbecued.  I have used it as a marinade for chicken wings addeded to a little bit of oil garlic and wine

2 tbsp x Black peppercorns
2 tbsp x Cumin seeds
1 tbsp x Coriander
1 tbsp x Cloves
½ tsp x Cardamom seeds, ground
1 stick x Cinnamon
2 tbsp x Sweet Paprika
1 tsp x Nutmeg powder

Place all whole spices into a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and grind to a fine powder then mix in the paprika and nutmeg
Store in an airtight jar

Ras el Hanout - Moroccan speciality

Ras El Hanout translates loosely from Arabic to "top of the shop".  When the aroma of this combination of spices hits your nose you will know why.  It has a mellow yet rich fragrance and when added to food it infuses sweetness from the cinnamon and nutmeg and still a good amount of pungency from the cumin and coriander.  Ras El Hanout is one of my favourite spices to use and adding it to meatballs or lamb chops before you barbecue them imparts flavour galore.    

1½ tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp cardamom seeds
¼ tsp hot paprika
4 whole cloves
¼ tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp ground allspice

Grind all the ingredients together with a mortar and pestle.
Use as instructed in recipes.