Kyle Coburn

Garam Masala

# What's in it

From greatest to least quantity, I use cinnamon, coriander (cilantro) seed, cumin seed, red chilies, cardamom pods, star anise/fennel seed, peppercorns, and whole cloves. Many varieties and substitutions can be used though too. I love how differently the melange turns out each time – nothing compares to freshly ground spices!

# Favorite uses

Since I gave out garam masala over the holidays, I've been meaning to write up a suggested recipe to go with it. It goes great stirred into anything sweet and savory (oatmeal, apple sauce, mulled cider), but my favorite has to be curry.

# Curry

Garam Masala curry

There are endless varieties to explore, but this is the most straightforward curry for me to make from scratch, and a delicious balance of sweet, savory, and spicy.

For meat, I prefer boneless chicken thighs, but chicken breast (less moist), beef, etc work well too. You can easily make this dish vegetarian by substituting roasted squash/eggplant/tofu/etc. All veggies are flexible, get creative with whatever you have (kale is my favorite addition, cauliflower, tomatoes, etc.).

(You can use tomato paste instead of sauce, just add it before the liquids so it can fry for a few minutes, and add some water later if desired.)

  • Coconut/vegetable oil (½ Tbsp)
  • Onion/leek (1 lg)
  • Chicken ( lbs)
  • Garlic (3–4 md cloves)
  • Ginger (½ Tbsp)
  • Red bell pepper (1 md)
  • Carrot (3 md)
  • Potato (3 md)
  • Tomato sauce (1 can)
  • Water (1 cup)
  • Coconut milk unsweetened (1 can/>1.5 cups)
  • Garam masala (1 Tbsp)
  • Curry powder (1 Tbsp) / Turmeric (1 tsp)
  • Soy sauce (2 Tbsp)
  • Fish sauce (2 tsp) / Worcester sauce (1 Tbsp)

Prep ingredients, cutting meat and veggies into medium chunks (opens new window), and start the rice (or substitute with toasted naan/pita). In a large pot, add ingredients in the above order, cooking for about an hour in total (or until potatoes are cooked through). Add garam masala to the desired spiciness, coconut milk to the desired consistency, and salt if needed.

# Serving

Curries are great with cilantro, green onion, or sour garnishes like pickled radish. Pineapple is a favorite for green curry.

For breakfast the next morning, slide an egg over easy on top of another bowl!