Indian Essentials: How to Make Sambar Powder and Paste

Making spice powders at home is simple

Sambar is one of those beautiful unctuous creamy soupy dishes that are quintessentially South Indian. A sambar consists of mashed toor dal lentils cooked with fresh vegetables (optional), tamarind and spices. Eaten daily, the spice mixes used vary in content and flavour from house to house. Everyone claims to have the best recipe, and of course they are right. It is a very important dish to all South Indians, and vada sambar and idli sambar are popular breakfast foods.

Sambar powder can also be used in place of Rasam Powder when making Rasam.

Similar recipes include Sundakkai PodiRasam Powder, Malaysian Curry Powder and Sri Lankan Thuna Paha.

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You can find all of our Sambar Recipes and information here. Browse our other Spice Mix recipes. Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to browse our Late Spring recipes.

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How to Cook Basic Risotto

A great Italian classic.

Risotto is a wonderfully versatile Italian rice dish whose creaminess depends on the selection of the rice. The basics of cooking risotto are very very easy. Take rice. Add stock gradually. Stir for 20 minutes. Serve. Enjoy! Of course, there is slightly more to it than that.

Similar recipes include Beetroot Risotto, Parsnip Risotto with RosemaryCaramelised Roast Pumpkin Risotto, Asparagus Risotto, Eggplant Risotto and Tomato Risotto.

All of the Risotto recipes are here and our Italian recipes here. And check out our easy Mid Spring recipes too.

This is a vegetarian recipe from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can browse other recipes from this blog in our Retro Recipes series.

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Indian Essentials: How to Make Garam Masala

Garam Masala is a wonderfully warm and versatile mix of spices used in a range of Indian dishes.

If you are even the smallest bit familiar with Indian food, you will have heard of Garam Masala. It is a wonderfully warm and versatile mix of spices used in a range of Indian dishes. Not necessarily spicy hot, it consists of spices that warm and nourish the body, such as cardamom, cloves and cinnamon.

Garam Masala is a mixture of spices, and the combinations vary with each household. They say it is basically Persian in origin, but is now indispensable in North Indian cuisine.

Garam Masala is particularly loved in the North where the winters are cold. It is not a prescriptive mix – it is open to interpretation with each region of India creating distinct blends with flavours characteristic of the region. A teaspoon of Garam Masala gives a North Indian character to any dish – try it with Basmati rice, or sprinkle it over cooked dishes.

The variety in recipes is easily explained. The cuisine varies so much across India that the spices in Garam Masala are chosen to best compliment the local foods. Each region and each family adjusts their mix to suit the flavours of the cuisine, personal preference and the dish being made. When you have such a large canvas of spices to choose from, why would you not do that?

Generally, but not always, Garam Masala is sprinkled over food towards the end of the cooking to retain its aroma.

The garam masala spices can also be used whole, but more traditionally, they are ground together in a mortar and pestle. If you don’t have one, a blender or spice grinder will do. If you want to use whole Garam Masala, try a rice dish in which you grind only the nutmeg and add the other spices into the rice water as it boils.

Are you looking for spice blends? Try Sundakkai Podi, Rasam Powder, Sambar Powder, Malaysian Curry Powder and Sri Lankan Thuna Paha.

Browse our other Spice Mix recipes. Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to browse our Late Spring recipes.

Continue reading “Indian Essentials: How to Make Garam Masala”