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.
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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".
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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" - http://www.missioninsatiable.com

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