Thursday, February 10, 2011

One Spice to Rule Them All

Authentic Indian cuisine -- while simple to prepare from a technical standpoint -- utilizes a pantry of spices completely foreign to most people.  Don't be intimidated, just start small and get your hands on two spices, tumeric & garam masala.
Garam masala (translated, "hot mixture") is a great introduction to cooking Indian.  The contents of this spice blend vary from region to region, but generally consists of 8+ spices that have a distinctly Indain flair -- cumin, coriander, clove, fenugreek seeds, cinamon, chili pepper, and cardamom to name a few.  
I buy a whole garam masala mix from the local grocer so I can toast and grind to order.  Most markets will sell ground garam masala, which is a fine alternative to the whole so long as you add the spice mix towards the end of the cooking process as to not lose the full aroma and "zing".
The natural sweetness of roasted cauliflower perfectly balances the garam masala's assertive bite and the bright orange tumeric provides a color boost that is sure to impress.

Curried Cauliflower w/ Spinach

1 head of cauliflower, cut into 1 inch pieces
1-2 bunches fresh spinach, blanched
1 knob of ginger, julienned
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
2 TBS canola oil
1/2 tsp tumeric
2 tsp ground garam masala
salt & pepper to taste

-- pre-heat the oven to 500°

1.  toss cauliflower, garlic, ginger and canola oil in a large bowl.  add the tumeric, garam masala and season w/ salt.  toss to thoroughly coat the cauliflower.

2.  bake cauliflower on a parchment-lined sheet tray for 12 minutes.  shake up cauliflower and bake for an additional 4-5 minutes.  toss w/ spinach while hot & serve. 

© 2011 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable" -


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