A culinary online center dedicated to promoting the importance and the joy of American home cooking with an emphasis on local products and talent, celebrating the unique spirit and energy of the new food world ethos, especially in Vermont.

amuse bouche

I love quotes that add meaning to my life. Here are a few to live by:

We can dramatically increase global food availability and environmental sustainability by using more of our crops to feed people directly and less to fatten livestock.
—Jonathan A. Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment, U of MN

Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.
—Michael Pollan

Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love.
—Craig Claiborne

People who eat according to the rules of a traditional food culture are generally healthier than those of us eating a modern Western diet of processed food.
—Michael Pollan

Three New Must-Haves For Your Spice Cabinet

When I asked a friend from India if she would give me some recipes, she generously made me mountains of delicious homemade Indian food.  But you know the adage, give a man fish vs teaching him to fish – I wanted to know how to make it myself!

I asked her to join me in my new kitchen (yes, NEW! We just bought our first home!)  While teaching me to cook, she told me about her childhood in India, how strictly she and her friends do or don’t follow tradition, and her family and friends.  I love hearing people’s stories.  The world becomes both smaller and larger at the same time, and these are things you can’t learn by just reading a recipe.

And now, I have three new must-haves for my kitchen repertoire!

#1. Cumin Seeds

I regularly keep ground cumin on hand, but cumin seeds take it to a whole new level.  They are best used by heating oil in a pan, then stir in cumin seeds until aromatic (1-2 minutes).  It’s that easy! Continue making your meal/following your recipe as planned.  Don’t worry – there are no hard to chew seeds or husks in the end result.

Don’t know where to start? Try the basic curry recipe below!

#2. Garam Masala

Garam masala is a blend of many spices that are toasted prior to being ground together.  The name means “warming spices,” not by adding spicy heat, but because in Ayurvedic medicine, these spices “warm” the body, meaning they are said to increase the metabolism.

Typical spices included, though there are multiple variations, and this list is not comprehensive: coriander, cumin, cardamom pods, cloves, peppercorn, star anise, turmeric, and fennel.

#3. Ginger-Garlic Paste

Easy and delicious, this aromatic blend is perfect for cooking meat.

To make – add equal parts fresh ginger and garlic, plus a sprinkle of turmeric, purée in a blender or food processor.  Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Chicken or Chickpea Curry

Ingredients:

1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Onion

1 Tbsp Cumin Seeds

2 Tomatoes

1 1/2 lb Chicken or 1-2 cans garbanzo beans

Garlic and Ginger Purée (see method above)

Spices to taste: garam masala, paprika, coriander, turmeric, and either red chili or cayenne if you like some heat

Method:

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.  While pan is heating, dice an onion.  Add cumin seeds to pan, and stir until aromatic (1-2 minutes).  Add onion and sprinkle with salt.  Stir occasionally until onion is cooked through (about 12 minutes).  While onion is cooking, dice two tomatoes and cut chicken into cubes.  Add tomato and stir gently for 30 seconds.  Add chicken or chickpeas and a generous spoonful of garlic and ginger puree.  Cook uncovered until “raw” smell is gone.  Cover and cook until almost done, stirring occasionally.  Uncover and stir in garam masala, paprika, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, and salt to taste.  Cook until done.  Right before removing from heat, add small handful of chopped cilantro and stir until wilted.

Jeera Rice (Coriander Rice)

Ingredients:

1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Tbsp Cumin Seeds

Handful Fresh Cilantro

Salt to taste

1 cup rice

2 cup water or broth

Method:

Heat olive oil in a small pan.  Add cumin seeds and stir until aromatic (1-2 minutes).  Meanwhile, chop a small bunch of cilantro.  Add to cumin and oil and stir until wilted and coated with olive oil (about 15 seconds).  Add cumin and cilantro mix, plus salt to taste, to whatever vessel you plan to cook your rice with.  Prepare rice the same as you normally would (we use our pressure cooker).

Posted: 7-14-2019

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When I asked a friend from India if she would give me some recipes, she generously made me mountains of delicious homemade Indian food.  But you know the adage, give a man fish vs teaching him to fish - I wanted to know how to make it myself!

I asked her to join me in my new kitchen (yes, NEW! We just bought our first home!)  While teaching me to cook, she told me about her childhood in India, how strictly she and her friends do or don't follow tradition, and her family and friends.  I love hearing people's stories.  The world becomes both smaller and larger at the same time, and these are things you can't learn by just reading a recipe.

And now, I have three new must-haves for my kitchen repertoire!



#1. Cumin Seeds

I regularly keep ground cumin on hand, but cumin seeds take it to a whole new level.  They are best used by heating oil in a pan, then stir in cumin seeds until aromatic (1-2 minutes).  It's that easy! Continue making your meal/following your recipe as planned.  Don't worry - there are no hard to chew seeds or husks in the end result.

Don't know where to start? Try the basic curry recipe below!

#2. Garam Masala

Garam masala is a blend of many spices that are toasted prior to being ground together.  The name means "warming spices," not by adding spicy heat, but because in Ayurvedic medicine, these spices "warm" the body, meaning they are said to increase the metabolism.

Typical spices included, though there are multiple variations, and this list is not comprehensive: coriander, cumin, cardamom pods, cloves, peppercorn, star anise, turmeric, and fennel.

#3. Ginger-Garlic Paste

Easy and delicious, this aromatic blend is perfect for cooking meat.

To make - add equal parts fresh ginger and garlic, plus a sprinkle of turmeric, purée in a blender or food processor.  Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.



Chicken or Chickpea Curry

Ingredients:

1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Onion

1 Tbsp Cumin Seeds

2 Tomatoes

1 1/2 lb Chicken or 1-2 cans garbanzo beans

Garlic and Ginger Purée (see method above)

Spices to taste: garam masala, paprika, coriander, turmeric, and either red chili or cayenne if you like some heat

Method:

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.  While pan is heating, dice an onion.  Add cumin seeds to pan, and stir until aromatic (1-2 minutes).  Add onion and sprinkle with salt.  Stir occasionally until onion is cooked through (about 12 minutes).  While onion is cooking, dice two tomatoes and cut chicken into cubes.  Add tomato and stir gently for 30 seconds.  Add chicken or chickpeas and a generous spoonful of garlic and ginger puree.  Cook uncovered until "raw" smell is gone.  Cover and cook until almost done, stirring occasionally.  Uncover and stir in garam masala, paprika, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, and salt to taste.  Cook until done.  Right before removing from heat, add small handful of chopped cilantro and stir until wilted.

Jeera Rice (Coriander Rice)

Ingredients:

1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Tbsp Cumin Seeds

Handful Fresh Cilantro

Salt to taste

1 cup rice

2 cup water or broth

Method:

Heat olive oil in a small pan.  Add cumin seeds and stir until aromatic (1-2 minutes).  Meanwhile, chop a small bunch of cilantro.  Add to cumin and oil and stir until wilted and coated with olive oil (about 15 seconds).  Add cumin and cilantro mix, plus salt to taste, to whatever vessel you plan to cook your rice with.  Prepare rice the same as you normally would (we use our pressure cooker)."
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When I asked a friend from India if she would give me some recipes, she generously made me mountains of delicious homemade Indian food.  But you know the adage, give a man fish vs teaching him to fish - I wanted to know how to make it myself!

I asked her to join me in my new kitchen (yes, NEW! We just bought our first home!)  While teaching me to cook, she told me about her childhood in India, how strictly she and her friends do or don't follow tradition, and her family and friends.  I love hearing people's stories.  The world becomes both smaller and larger at the same time, and these are things you can't learn by just reading a recipe.

And now, I have three new must-haves for my kitchen repertoire!



#1. Cumin Seeds

I regularly keep ground cumin on hand, but cumin seeds take it to a whole new level.  They are best used by heating oil in a pan, then stir in cumin seeds until aromatic (1-2 minutes).  It's that easy! Continue making your meal/following your recipe as planned.  Don't worry - there are no hard to chew seeds or husks in the end result.

Don't know where to start? Try the basic curry recipe below!

#2. Garam Masala

Garam masala is a blend of many spices that are toasted prior to being ground together.  The name means "warming spices," not by adding spicy heat, but because in Ayurvedic medicine, these spices "warm" the body, meaning they are said to increase the metabolism.

Typical spices included, though there are multiple variations, and this list is not comprehensive: coriander, cumin, cardamom pods, cloves, peppercorn, star anise, turmeric, and fennel.

#3. Ginger-Garlic Paste

Easy and delicious, this aromatic blend is perfect for cooking meat.

To make - add equal parts fresh ginger and garlic, plus a sprinkle of turmeric, purée in a blender or food processor.  Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.



Chicken or Chickpea Curry

Ingredients:

1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Onion

1 Tbsp Cumin Seeds

2 Tomatoes

1 1/2 lb Chicken or 1-2 cans garbanzo beans

Garlic and Ginger Purée (see method above)

Spices to taste: garam masala, paprika, coriander, turmeric, and either red chili or cayenne if you like some heat

Method:

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.  While pan is heating, dice an onion.  Add cumin seeds to pan, and stir until aromatic (1-2 minutes).  Add onion and sprinkle with salt.  Stir occasionally until onion is cooked through (about 12 minutes).  While onion is cooking, dice two tomatoes and cut chicken into cubes.  Add tomato and stir gently for 30 seconds.  Add chicken or chickpeas and a generous spoonful of garlic and ginger puree.  Cook uncovered until "raw" smell is gone.  Cover and cook until almost done, stirring occasionally.  Uncover and stir in garam masala, paprika, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, and salt to taste.  Cook until done.  Right before removing from heat, add small handful of chopped cilantro and stir until wilted.

Jeera Rice (Coriander Rice)

Ingredients:

1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Tbsp Cumin Seeds

Handful Fresh Cilantro

Salt to taste

1 cup rice

2 cup water or broth

Method:

Heat olive oil in a small pan.  Add cumin seeds and stir until aromatic (1-2 minutes).  Meanwhile, chop a small bunch of cilantro.  Add to cumin and oil and stir until wilted and coated with olive oil (about 15 seconds).  Add cumin and cilantro mix, plus salt to taste, to whatever vessel you plan to cook your rice with.  Prepare rice the same as you normally would (we use our pressure cooker)."
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When I asked a friend from India if she would give me some recipes, she generously made me mountains of delicious homemade Indian food.  But you know the adage, give a man fish vs teaching him to fish - I wanted to know how to make it myself!

I asked her to join me in my new kitchen (yes, NEW! We just bought our first home!)  While teaching me to cook, she told me about her childhood in India, how strictly she and her friends do or don't follow tradition, and her family and friends.  I love hearing people's stories.  The world becomes both smaller and larger at the same time, and these are things you can't learn by just reading a recipe.

And now, I have three new must-haves for my kitchen repertoire!



#1. Cumin Seeds

I regularly keep ground cumin on hand, but cumin seeds take it to a whole new level.  They are best used by heating oil in a pan, then stir in cumin seeds until aromatic (1-2 minutes).  It's that easy! Continue making your meal/following your recipe as planned.  Don't worry - there are no hard to chew seeds or husks in the end result.

Don't know where to start? Try the basic curry recipe below!

#2. Garam Masala

Garam masala is a blend of many spices that are toasted prior to being ground together.  The name means "warming spices," not by adding spicy heat, but because in Ayurvedic medicine, these spices "warm" the body, meaning they are said to increase the metabolism.

Typical spices included, though there are multiple variations, and this list is not comprehensive: coriander, cumin, cardamom pods, cloves, peppercorn, star anise, turmeric, and fennel.

#3. Ginger-Garlic Paste

Easy and delicious, this aromatic blend is perfect for cooking meat.

To make - add equal parts fresh ginger and garlic, plus a sprinkle of turmeric, purée in a blender or food processor.  Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.



Chicken or Chickpea Curry

Ingredients:

1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Onion

1 Tbsp Cumin Seeds

2 Tomatoes

1 1/2 lb Chicken or 1-2 cans garbanzo beans

Garlic and Ginger Purée (see method above)

Spices to taste: garam masala, paprika, coriander, turmeric, and either red chili or cayenne if you like some heat

Method:

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.  While pan is heating, dice an onion.  Add cumin seeds to pan, and stir until aromatic (1-2 minutes).  Add onion and sprinkle with salt.  Stir occasionally until onion is cooked through (about 12 minutes).  While onion is cooking, dice two tomatoes and cut chicken into cubes.  Add tomato and stir gently for 30 seconds.  Add chicken or chickpeas and a generous spoonful of garlic and ginger puree.  Cook uncovered until "raw" smell is gone.  Cover and cook until almost done, stirring occasionally.  Uncover and stir in garam masala, paprika, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, and salt to taste.  Cook until done.  Right before removing from heat, add small handful of chopped cilantro and stir until wilted.

Jeera Rice (Coriander Rice)

Ingredients:

1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Tbsp Cumin Seeds

Handful Fresh Cilantro

Salt to taste

1 cup rice

2 cup water or broth

Method:

Heat olive oil in a small pan.  Add cumin seeds and stir until aromatic (1-2 minutes).  Meanwhile, chop a small bunch of cilantro.  Add to cumin and oil and stir until wilted and coated with olive oil (about 15 seconds).  Add cumin and cilantro mix, plus salt to taste, to whatever vessel you plan to cook your rice with.  Prepare rice the same as you normally would (we use our pressure cooker)."
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4 responses to “Three New Must-Haves For Your Spice Cabinet”

  1. This is a great primer on how to cook Indian cuisine and I remember when -many years ago- I invited a neighbor to join me in my newish kitchen so she and I could make an Indian curry together. It was my Indian friend who taught me that curry is not just a single powder that comes out of jar but an assortment of spices….toasting them in a hot pan filled my kitchen with the essence of her native country…such a treat!

    • Corrie Austin says:

      Hello Bronwyn!
      I only recently, a little over a year ago, learned the same about curry not being a single spice. It also helps explain why there is such variance in the flavor. How fun we both have such pivotal experiences in our new kitchens!
      Take care,
      Corrie

  2. Maria Brandriff says:

    When I was in India, I learned that garam masala means “merchant’s spice mix”, so in essence every merchant has his own blend, hence another reason for the variations.

  3. Kellie Kutkey says:

    Ok, if I let the cumin seeds roast in my skillet with oil, then I can use the seeds just like the powder? That sounds amazing!
    Thanks 🙂

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