Most Indonesian dishes use a lot of spices. We love us some spices. I remember when I was in elementary school, I was in pramuka, or Cub Scout. One day, we were told to prepare for an outing, and one of the things the instructor told us to do was to go home, and sniff some spices. We were weirded out also. So, I went home, and rummaged through in our family's spice baskets (Yes, that's how much we use them).
Sure enough, on the outing, they asked us to identify around 15 different spices by sniffing them. I owned.
I got everything right--galangal root, tumeric, fingerroot, cutcherry, and so on--except for two. I confused shallots for onions. Big deal. I was feeling pretty good about myself. But, then again, I think I had an advantage because I probably helped out my mom more than the other girls helped out theirs. Not my fault.
Anyway, I made some homemade garam masala today. For those of you who don't know what it is, garam masala is a spice blend that's very important in Indian cuisine, especially Northern Indian cuisine. The blend usually has cumin, coriander, cardamom, cloves, and etc. It's very pungent stuff.
Garam Masala (makes about 1/4 cup)
1 tbs of cumin seeds
1 tbs of coriander seeds
1 tbs of cardamom
1 tbs of black peppercorns
1.5 inches stick of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of whole cloves
1/2 tsp of grated nutmeg
- In a small skillet, toast cumin, coriander, cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon, and cloves over medium-high heat for about 5 to 7 minutes. Don't try to be smart and turn up the heat! You'll burn the spices instead of cooking them through!
- Pulverize the toasted spices along with the grated nutmeg. You can use a coffee grinder or a small food processor. But, if you have a mortar and pestle, please utilize it. I did most of the work using a small grinder, but there are just some things your grinder won't get. I had to use a mortar and pestle to get a finer powder.
- Store in a Tupperware in a cool, dry place. It'll keep for about 3 months.
|Seriously, use a mortar and pestle if you have one|
It's now ready to be used in all sorts of different dishes--chana masala, tikka masala, samosas, tandoori chicken, dahl, and etc.