Showing posts with label cloves. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cloves. Show all posts

Apr 2, 2018

Madhur Jaffrey's Garam Masala

madhur jaffrey, recipe, garam masala, easy, indian, coffee grinder, spice mix, cardamom, cloves, cumin, nutmeg, pepper, cinnamon,

There are as many versions of garam masala as there are home cooks in India. This recipe for the versatile and aromatic spice mix is from the famed cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey. "Masala" means "spices" while "garam" means "hot," which refers to the body-warming properties of the spices in Ayurvedic medicine.

Madhur Jaffrey
For those of you who don't know who Madhur Jaffrey is - she's a Delhi-born actress credited with bringing Indian cuisines to the Americas with her debut cookbook, An Invitation to Indian Cooking (1973). She has written over a dozen cookbooks and appeared on several related television programs, the most notable of which was Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cookery, which premiered in the UK in 1982. Her recipes are not always authentic due to their being written for western home cooks and what would be available in a western supermarket in the 70's and 80's. But they are always beautifully written, easy to follow, and can be relied on to taste great!


Ms. Jaffrey's recipe for garam masala is quite lavish in its use of spices yet quite practical. Costly green cardamom takes center stage in this vibrant mix while the less expensive but equally flavorful cumin, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg are the supporting cast. This does not taste anything like the garam masala you'd typically buy readymade! No cheap fillers like coriander or fenugreek in this blend. Ms. Jaffrey has also scaled this recipe down to the perfect amount that will easily fit into an electric coffee grinder like you'd find in a western kitchen too. This is the perfect recipe if you wish to make just a few servings of this bold, versatile, and traditional spice mix.

Ingredients:
1 TBS green cardamom/elaichi pods
1 tsp cumin/jeera or black cumin/shahi jeera seeds
1 tsp whole black peppercorns/kali mirch
1 tsp whole cloves/laung
1-inch piece of cinnamon or cassia bark/dalchini, broken into pieces (or 1 tsp ground cinnamon)
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg/jaiphal or allspice

Here's what to do:
1) Place all the spices in a coffee or spice grinder and grind until to desired consistency.

madhur jaffrey, recipe, garam masala, easy, indian, coffee grinder, spice mix, cardamom, cloves, cumin, nutmeg, pepper, cinnamon,

2) Keep in a sealed airtight and light-resistant container in a cool dark place for up to 3 months.

madhur jaffrey, recipe, garam masala, easy, indian, coffee grinder, spice mix, cardamom, cloves, cumin, nutmeg, pepper, cinnamon,

Helpful Hints:
The original recipe specified cardamom seeds. I do not have the patience to sit there and peel an entire tablespoonful of green cardamom pods. Plus my frugal Prussian farmer and Scots-Irish cheapskate genes will not let me toss those gorgeously fragrant and EXPENSIVE green pods. So I just grind them up too!

Madhur Jaffrey does not recommend dry roasting this garam masala so I don't. Works for me! I usually end up frying or cooking whatever I'm using the garam masala in anyway.

Dec 20, 2016

Persimmon Cookies

Persimmon cookies recipe spicy soft easy fuyu hachiya nutmeg cinnamon cloves

Spicy, moist, and tenderly soft these persimmon cookies are truly a Fall and Winter treat! Lavishly laced with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, raisins, and walnuts this recipe is full of the flavors of the season. So simple to make and the easiest answer to the question, "What do you do with persimmons?"

Fuyu persimmons which can be eaten at the semi soft stage. 

You can use any type of persimmon for this recipe as long as it is ripe. Unripe persimmons are quite astringent and bitter tasting due to their tannic acid content. Ripe persimmons are quite sweet and mild in flavor.  If you are using the round Fuyu type persimmons as shown in the photo above you can use them when they've softened to about the firmness of a ripe tomato. If you are using the oblong, heart or acorn shaped Hachiya type persimmons you'll have to wait until they've ripened to the mushy pulp or jelly-like stage. A quick way to ripen any type of persimmon is to stick then in the freezer overnight. When you allow them to thaw the next day they'll be perfectly soft, sweet, and ripe!
Hachiya persimmons which must be allowed to ripen to mushy, jelly-like stage before they're edible.
This recipe uses pureed persimmon pulp. To make persimmon puree you can simply use a fork to mash them in a bowl or a mixie, food processor, or blender to puree them instantly. If using a mixie, food processor, or blender simply remove the stems and any debris and put them in the appliance skin and all. You might want give the persimmon flesh a bit of a going through before pureeing as there might be seeds. The seeds can be rounded like plum stones or oblong like date pits. Your mixie, food processor, or blender will NOT puree these rock-like seeds. You will hear them quite loudly bouncing off the blades and mixing container of your appliance.


And there you have it! Beautiful orange persimmon pulp ready to be eaten as is, enjoyed as frozen sorbet, or stored for your next baking project. I usually measure the pulp out by cupful and store it in Ziploc bags in the freezer. Persimmons will keep frozen for up to 8 months. You might see some separation or darkening of the persimmon pulp but the flavor will be the same as fresh.

Ingredients:
2 C all purpose flour
1/2 C butter, softened to room temperature
1 C sugar (both brown or white are fine)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg or allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg, at room temperature
1 C persimmon puree
1 C raisins or sultanas
1 C walnuts (pecans or dark chocolate chips work well too)

Here's what to do:
1) In a large mixing bowl beat butter, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices together until creamy. Add egg and persimmon puree to mixture and beat for about 3 minutes or until smooth.


2) Add flour and mix until combined. Gently stir in raisins and walnuts. The mixture should be a stiff batter. Cover batter with cling film and place in fridge while oven heats up. (Chilling the dough makes for cookies that taste and look better. The chilled batter will be easier to work with and less likely to spread. The extra time will also allow the pectin in the persimmon puree to thicken the batter and make it less likely to spread. this will  result in cookies that are round and puffed up rather than flat and misshapen like fried eggs.The spices will have a little extra time to lend their flavor to the batter too.)


3) When ready to bake heat oven to 325F/160C. Place tablespoonfuls of chilled batter two inches apart on baking trays lined with parchment paper or silicone mats. (I used a tablespoon sized scoop.)


4) Bake cookies at 325F/160C for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottoms. Remove cookies from tray using a spatula. Cookies will keep for up to 2 weeks in a sealed airtight container at room temperature. This recipe makes 32 cookies.



Helpful Hints:
For a nut free version of this recipe simply use dark chocolate chips in place of the walnuts. Dark chocolate chips don't sound like they'd work with persimmons but they are delicious in these cookies!

LOOK! It's snowing at the Taj Mahal!
Tacky souvenir begotten at the Taj Mahal by
Mr & Mrs KC&CO on their honeymoon

Alrightey then, so it's BIG FAT DESI WEDDING SEASON over here and we're heading hither, thither, and yon to attend all the festivities until January 2nd! So to all my friends who celebrate I hope you & yours have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


See ya next year,
Bibi


Aug 29, 2016

Ingredient of the Week: Cloves, Laung, Lavang, Grambu

Originating in the Moluccan Islands of Indonesia, cloves have been used as a spice and traditional medicine for thousands of years. Cloves are a unique spice with their fiery, sweet, aromatic flavor enhancing beverages as well as sweet and savory dishes. Because of their exceptional versatility and intense fragrance cloves have always been held in high esteem in the cuisines of Asia, Europe, and North Africa.

The name clove ultimately derives from the Latin word clavus meaning nail in reference to the nail-like appearance of the spice. The Hindi word for clove is laung, the Kashmiri word for clove is rong, the Gujarati word is lavang, the Bengali word for clove is  labango, and in Tamil the word for clove is grambu. All of these South Asian names have no discernible etymlogy in the Indo–Aryan or Dravidic languages.


Cloves are the dried flower buds of a twenty-four to forty foot evergreen tree in the myrtle family, Syzygium aromaticum. They are grown commercially in Bangladesh, Indonesia, India, Madagascar, Zanzibar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania. The flower buds of the clove tree initially have a pale green hue and are grouped in terminal clusters. Just before the buds blossom they turn a brilliant pink, at which point they must be harvested immediately. 


Cloves are harvested at one to two centimeters long and consist of a long calyx that terminates in four spreading sepals and four unopened petals that form a small central ball. One adult tree yields about a seven-pound harvest.


The freshly picked cloves are spread out to dry on mats in the sun until they turn a deep brown hue. They are then hand sorted for size and perfection. Cloves from Sri Lanka are considered the best in quality.


Eugenol is the oily the compound most responsible for the distinctive aroma of cloves. Although eugenol has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties it is toxic in relatively small quantities. For example, a dose of 5–10 ml has been reported as a near fatal dose for a two-year-old child. Eugenol or clove oil can also pit or dissolve plastic so it is best stored in a glass container.


Although cloves are native to Indonesia they do not play a major part in Indonesian cuisines. However, Indo­nesians are the main con­sumers of cloves and use nearly half of the world’s pro­duction.  In Indonesia clove flavored cigarettes called kretek are extremely popular and enjoyed frequently by nearly every Indonesian male.


In South Asian cuisines cloves are mainly valued for their heat and aromatic sweetness in savory dishes. Nearly every variant and regional blend of the spicy mix garam masala contains powdered cloves. Cloves are often used whole in sabut or khada masalas along with peppercorns, cassia bark, and cardamom to fragrantly flavor curries, biryanis, and pulaos. 

Mmmmmm...love my morning & afternoon cuppa!

My favorite use of cloves is in the traditional spicy milk tea called masala chai. A single clove and two green cardamoms per tablespoon of Assamese black tea leaves is my favorite chai blend for Spring and Summer. Although cloves work well in sweet dishes there aren't many Indian desserts that feature them. Most Indian desserts that do contain cloves are Mughal inspired such as the carrot based gajjar ki halwa, the fragrant rice pudding kheer, and the creamy vermicelli noodle dessert seviyan.

Helpful hints:
Use cloves sparingly, their bold flavor can quickly overpower a dish and will intensify the longer they are cooked.
Store cloves in a non plastic container as their volatile oils can dissolve plastic. Be careful when grinding cloves as their oils and sharp edges will pit and score a plastic top on an electric grinder too.
Equal amounts of allspice is a good substitute for cloves.
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