Friday, 28 June 2013


“Once you get a spice in your home, you have it forever. Women never throw out spices. The Egyptians were buried with their spices. I know which one I'm taking with me when I go.” - Erma Bombeck

Garam masala (from Hindi: Garam “hot” and masala “spices”) is a blend of ground spices common in North Indian and other South Asian cuisines. It is used alone or with other seasonings. The word garam refers to intensity of the spices rather than capsaicin content. A typical Indian version of garam masala is: Black & white peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, black and white cumin seeds, black, brown and green cardamom pods, mace and bay leaf.

Some recipes call for spices to be blended with herbs, while others for the spices to be ground with water, vinegar, coconut milk, or other liquids, to make a paste. In some recipes nuts, onion or garlic may be added. The flavours may be carefully blended to achieve a balanced effect, or a single flavour may be emphasised. Usually a masala is toasted before use to release its flavour and aromas. Here is a vegetarian recipe, which I got from friends of ours after enjoying it at a dinner at their house.

Vegetarian Masala


3 cm long piece of fresh ginger, washed, peeled, sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 can peeled tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 small yellow capsicum, diced
1 small green capsicum, diced
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, sliced
1 and 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
350 g cauliflower florets
1/2 cup coconut milk


Process ginger and garlic in food processor until finely chopped. Add tomatoes with juice and cayenne pepper, and pulse until combined. Set aside.

Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and capsicum, and sauté 10 minutes, or until softened. Stir in potatoes, carrots, cauliflower florets, garam masala, and chilli powder. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add tomato mixture, and 1/2 cup water. Simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in coconut milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with steamed rice.

This post is part of the Food Friday meme,
and also part of the Food Trip Friday meme.


  1. I'm smelling the aroma of those spices from here!...Will find time trying the recipe but I needed to complete my spice rack first. Visiting from Food Trip Friday, hope you check out mine:

  2. Indians know how to do spices so well

  3. i love spices, and Emma Bombeck is so right.:p

    our (Filipino) traditional cuisine is quite simple, and not many spices are used. i go to a Malaysian restaurant when i crave for masala. love your photo.:)

  4. one of my sisters introduced me to Indian cuisine and it wasn't actually love at first "bite". it somehow grew into me, though, specially when i noticed how all of that blend of spices makes you realize that meat is not a necessity in most everyday dishes.

    thanks so much for sharing and linking over at Food Friday, Nick
    enjoy the rest of the week!