Friday night is a night for unwinding and relaxing and for me nothing is more enjoyable than cooking up a tasty feast to be relished with a bottle of wine. Last Friday I chose to make chicken tikka masala. I revisited Jamie Oliver’s recipe which had worked for me before and then realised that I had no garam masala (blend of warming, aromatic spices).
The last time I had made this dish I had used a blend that I bought from Green Saffron at the Farmers Market in Mahon Point, Cork. This time however I had to improvise and with a vague idea of what was included in garam masala I crushed some black peppercorns, green cardamom pods, cloves and a teaspoon of cinnamon. The dish turned out well but not as good as the first time so I have decided to educate myself on the contents of garam masala.
I hadn’t been too far off the mark with my choice of spices however the cardamom pods should have been black and not green! My ratio of cinnamon was also probably too low. I’ve been reading ’50 great curries of India’ by Camellia Panjabi and learning loads. This week I plan to visit the market and see if I can find out what combination of spices Green Saffron are using in their garam masala and then make my own. Camellia Panjabi says that a classic garam masala would have equal quantities in weight of cinnamon, cloves and black pepper with a little black cardamom and the rest depends on individual preference – she uses fennel seeds and cinnamon leaf.
I’m looking forward to Friday night already and it’s only Monday! Recently I’ve been feeding my family on chicken kiev, shepherds pie, chicken tikka masala, chilli con carne, lamb madras and the full Irish for Sunday brunch.
p.s. Last week I tried ‘chillionaire’ available from Rebel Chilli stall at markets in Cork and used it in the chilli con carne – I absolutely loved it however too hot for the kids – steam coming out their ears!.
Till next time, Sheila