Garam masala is one of the blends of ground spices originated from South Asia that I fell in love with. It is not made only for Indian or South Asian curries, I like to sprinkle it in vegetables, meat or fish to get a depth flavour. Garam means "warm/hot" while masala means "spices". There are many versions of garam masala, some are spicy, very pungent and hot but they all tend to have sweetness in them. You can buy an already blended garam masala in the store but nothing beats it when you blend them yourself. I thank Chef Vikram Vij who inspired me to make my own blend of garam masala. Since then, it is in my repertoire to have a collection of spices,
"Once you have them; you own them"
You will come across many uses and benefits of each spice. Roasting your spices before grinding makes the best quality of the spice blend. But before you start roasting all the spices, make sure there is proper ventilation. Closets, bathrooms and bedroom doors should also be closed. The aroma from roasting will be quite strong and pungent.
- pestle and mortar or spice blender
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon green cardamom
- 6 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 2 cinnamon sticks, broken into smaller pieces
- ¼ teaspoon ground mace
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg, finely grated
- Heat a heavy-duty frying pan in medium heat. Add the cardamom, cumin seeds, cloves and cinnamon stick, stirring constantly. When the cumin seeds turn to a darker shade of brown, remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl to cool. Using a spice grinder or a coffee grinder, place the nutmeg, mace and the roasted spices and grind until you have the consistency of a store-bought ground black pepper. This can be kept in an airtight glass container in a dark place for 6 months.
This mushroom and ground meat stir fry started by accident. I supposed to seasoned with porcini powder for extra umami flavour but I used garam masala instead and it was bliss. Use any kind of meat available, any kind of vegetables and any kind of starches you want to use. Use ground chicken, ground beef or ground lamb in place of ground pork. Green beans, broccoli, etc. instead of runner beans. Serve it over rice, oatmeal, quinoa, pasta, sweet potatoes or bread........they all marry one another, I tried it all. Cook it, create it as your own recipe, this is the beauty of a homecooked meal. With this recipe, we used ground pork but any form of meat of your choice will do. Some of you might replace garam masala with another kind of seasoning that is available or your preference, you're welcome to do so. But if you want to have a different flair at the tip of your tongue, warm and sweet that tickles the back of your throat, then this South Asian blend of spices is just perfect.
Mushroom and ground pork with garam masala
- 400 grams mixed mushrooms
- 400 grams runner beans, cut into 2"
- 500 gram ground pork
- 2 large shallots, coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 knob of ginger, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup white wine or chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
- mint leaves to serve
- Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Place the mushrooms, sprinkle ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and continue cooking - allowing the mushroom to caramelize. Transfer the mushroom into a bowl.
- Using the same pan, cook the runner beans and ½ cup water in high heat stirring until the water evaporates and the beans soften. Remove the beans and add them to the mushroom.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, add shallots, ginger and red pepper flakes and saute until you smell the fragrance. Add the ground meat and break into large pieces, add garlic and mix to combine. continue cooking without stirring until the bottom of the pan creates a brown crust. Pour the wine or chicken stock and stir, de-glazing the bottom of the pot. continue cooking for two minutes over high heat, add the mushroom and beans, and two tablespoons of garam masala. Stir, cook for another minute and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over roasted or boiled sweet potatoes for awesomeness, scatter mint leaves on top and serve