Recipes Using Garam Masala

Roast chicken masala
and potatoes

INGREDIENTS

For the marinade

  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp peeled, finely chopped root ginger
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped or crushed garlic
  • 3 hot green chillies, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala

For the chicken

  • 1.75kg (3lb 14oz) whole chicken, skin removed
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the roasted masala potatoes

  • 2 tbsp olive or sunflower oil
  • 5 medium potatoes, peeled, halved lengthways, and cut into 5x4cm/2×1½in chunks
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • ¾ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri (mild) chilli powder

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
  2. Place all the marinade ingredients into a blender and process to a paste.
  3. Using a sharp knife, make two deep, diagonal cuts into each breast of the chicken, going all the way down to the bone. Make two equally deep slashes in the thighs and two in the drumsticks as well.
  4. Place the chicken, breast side up, on a roasting tray lined with enough foil to cover the bird completely.
  5. Pour the marinade paste over the chicken, rubbing it well into all the cuts. Set aside for 30 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle the chilli powder and black pepper over the chicken evenly. Wrap up the chicken in the foil so it is completely covered, with the tightly closed seam at the top.
  7. Bake in the middle of the hot oven for one hour.
  8. Unwrap, without letting the juices run out, and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes, basting two or three times with the juices.
  9. Check the chicken is cooked by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh, between the leg and the body. If the juices run clear with no trace of pink, it is cooked. Continue to cook for a little longer if needed.
  10. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  11. Meanwhile, for the roasted masala potatoes, pour the oil into a large bowl. Add the potatoes and sprinkle in the salt and pepper. Ensure the potatoes are well coated, then transfer to a baking tray in a single layer. Place in the middle of the oven and roast for 20 mins.
  12. Spoon the coriander, cumin, turmeric and chilli powder on to a plate and mix well. Remove the potatoes from the oven. Using tongs, roll the potatoes in the spice mix, making sure all sides are covered.
  13. Return them to the oven for a further 20 minutes, or until lightly browned and tender all the way through when pierced with a knife.
  14. Set the chicken in a warm place to rest for 10-15 minutes, then carve and serve with the roasted masala potatoes.

Chicken tikka
masala

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 4 tbsp ready-made tandoori paste
  • 2 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil or ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 8 cardamom pods
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3cm/1¼in piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½–1 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on how hot you like it)
  • half a 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 150ml/5fl oz chicken stock or water
  • 1½ tsp garam masala
  • ½ lemon, juice only
  • ½ tsp salt

METHOD

  1. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and mix with the tandoori paste and yoghurt. Marinate in a non-metallic dish in the fridge for at least a couple of hours (or overnight), stirring occasionally.
  2. Heat the oil or ghee in a deep frying pan, and when it’s very hot add the cinnamon, cardamom pods and onion. Fry for 5–6 minutes, or until beginning to brown, then add the ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, turmeric and cayenne pepper.
  3. After the spices have cooked for about a minute, add the chicken with the marinade. Fry for 3–4 minutes, then add the tomatoes, chicken stock or water, garam masala, lemon juice and salt. Bring the curry to a simmer and cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve straight away with rice or naan bread.

Fish cakes with masala peas
spinach sauce

INGREDIENTS

For the fish cakes

  • 3 Maris Piper potatoes (500g/1lb 2oz total), cut into 2.5cm/1in chunks
  • 4 x skinless cod fillets (550g/1lb 4oz total)
  • 120ml/4fl oz vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 green finger chillies, finely chopped (deseed first if preferred)
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh root ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • 1 heaped tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 free-range eggs, beaten
  • 100g/3½oz dried golden breadcrumbs
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the spinach sauce

  • 25g/1oz butter
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh root ginger
  • ½ tsp hot chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 500g/1lb 2oz frozen chopped spinach
  • 100ml/3½fl oz single cream
  • 100g/3½oz full-fat Greek-style plain yoghurt

For the masala peas

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh root ginger
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 300g/10½oz frozen peas
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
  • 1–2 tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice

METHOD

  1. To make the fish cakes, half-fill a large saucepan with water and add ½ teaspoon of salt. Bring to the boil and add the potatoes. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until soft.
  2. Cut the fish fillets in half and put into a large, deep frying pan. Cover with just-boiled water and return to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, then drain in a colander.
  3. Put the fish into a large bowl. Drain the potatoes and add to the same bowl. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt and roughly mash together with a potato masher.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and fry the onion for 4 minutes, or until softened. Add the chillies, ginger and garlic and cook for a few seconds more, stirring. Add another tablespoon of oil with the coriander, cumin and garam masala. Cook for 20–30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  5. Add the spiced onions to the mashed fish and potatoes and mix well. Squeeze the lime juice over and mix in the coriander. Leave to cool for 30 minutes.
  6. To make the spinach sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the fenugreek. Cook over a medium heat for 30 seconds, stirring. Add the onion and cook for 3–4 minutes, or until soft. Stir in the chilli, garlic and ginger, all the dried spices and a good pinch of salt. Fry for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the frozen spinach and 200ml/7fl oz water and cook gently for 20–30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cream and yoghurt and blend with a stick blender until smooth. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
  7. To shape the fish cakes, divide the fish mixture into eight portions and roll each one into a ball. Flatten each into a fish cake shape, roughly 2.5cm/1in thick and 5cm/2in wide.
  8. Put the beaten egg in one bowl and the breadcrumbs in another. One at a time, dip the fish cakes into the beaten egg and then coat in the breadcrumbs, making sure they are fully covered. Put on a baking tray, cover and leave to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  9. To make the masala peas, heat the oil in a medium saucepan and add the cumin. As soon as they start to crackle, add the ginger and chilli and fry gently for a few seconds. Stir in the peas, ½ teaspoon of salt and 250ml/9fl oz of water and cook for 4–5 minutes, stirring until the peas are tender and all the liquid has evaporated. Season with ½ teaspoon of black pepper, add the coriander and mix well. Set aside.
  10. To cook the fish cakes, heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan and gently cook the fish cakes for 4–5 minutes on each side, or until golden-brown, crisp and hot through.
  11. Gently reheat the spinach sauce, stirring constantly and adding a little more cream if needed until the sauce is thick but spoonable.
  12. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the masala peas just before serving them with the fish cakes and spinach sauce.

Spicy chicken
kebabs

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tbsp low-fat natural yoghurt
  • 1 tsp garam masala or curry powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp lime or lemon juice
  • 2 tsp fresh chopped coriander, optional
  • 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped (optional)
  • 4 x 150g/5½ chicken breasts, cubed

To serve

  • green salad
  • pitta bread

METHOD

  1. Mix together the yoghurt, garam masala, chilli powder, lime juice, coriander and red chilli.
  2. Marinate the chicken in the yoghurt mixture for 5 minutes.
  3. Preheat the barbecue to hot. Alternatively, you can cook the chicken under a hot grill.
  4. Thread the chicken onto the kebab skewers and cook on the barbecue until the chicken is tender and cooked all the way through.
  5. Serve with salad and pitta bread.

RECIPE TIPS

If you are using wooden skewers soak them in water for 30 minutes.

Vegetable
pilau rice

INGREDIENTS

For the garam masala

  • 1 tbsp cardamom seeds (removed from cardamom pods)
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp black cumin seeds (you can use regular cumin seeds if black aren’t available)
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1/3 of a whole nutmeg (you can break a whole nutmeg by placing it on a cloth and bashing it with a meat mallet or rolling pin)
  • a medium stick of cinnamon, about 5cm-8cm/2in-3in, broken up into 3-4 pieces

For the pullao

  • basmati rice, measured to the 450ml/1 pint level in a measuring jug
  • thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger
  • 3 tbsp olive or groundnut oil
  • ½ tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 hot green chilli, finely chopped
  • 100g/4oz potato, peeled and cut into 5mm/¼in dice
  • ¼ carrot, peeled and cut into 5mm/¼in dice
  • 40g/1½oz green beans, cut into 5mm/¼in segments
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1¼ tsp salt
  • 570ml/1 pint water

METHOD

  1. For the garam masala, put all the garam masala spices in a clean coffee grinder or other spice grinder and grind as finely as possible. Store in a tightly lidded jar, away from heat and sunlight. This makes about three tablespoons.
  2. For the pullao, wash the rice in several changes of water then drain. Put the rice in a bowl, cover with water and leave to soak for 30 minutes, then drain again.
  3. Peel and finely grate the ginger.
  4. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan (with a tight-fitting lid) set over a medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the mustard seeds.
  5. As soon as they begin to pop – a matter of seconds – add the chilli, potato, carrot and green beans and stir.
  6. Add the turmeric and garam masala and stir for one minute.
  7. Add the ginger and saute, stirring, for another minute.
  8. Drain the rice and add it to the pan.
  9. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir the rice very gently to mix it into the other ingredients and coat it with the oil and spices. Cook this way for two minutes.
  10. Add the 570ml/1 pint water and the salt and bring to the boil. Cover the pan with a very tight-fitting lid (if you don’t have a very tight-fitting lid then cover the pan with foil then a lid) then turn the heat to very low and cook for 25 minutes. After this time try a grain of rice to see if it’s cooked – cook for a few more minutes if necessary.
  11. Once it’s cooked you can leave it with the lid on and the heat turned off for up to half an hour before serving. Or serve at once on a serving plate.

Vegetable
pakoras

INGREDIENTS

  • 250g/½lb gram flour
  • 50g/2oz self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp tandoori masala powder (optional), available from specialist Asian supermarkets
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 300g/10½oz potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 300g/10½oz onions, finely chopped
  • 3 spring onions, trimmed, finely chopped
  • 6-8 spinach leaves, finely chopped
  • handful fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 tsp chopped green chilli
  • 1 tsp salt
  • sunflower oil, for deep frying

METHOD

  1. Sift the gram flour and the self-raising flour into a bowl. Add the chilli powder, garam masala and tandoori masala powder, if using, and stir well to combine.
  2. Add the lemon juice, then gradually add enough water to form a smooth batter that is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Set aside for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add all of the remaining ingredients except the sunflower oil to the batter mixture and mix well to coat the potatoes and onions.
  4. Heat the oil in a deep heavy-based frying pan until a breadcrumb sizzles and turns brown when dropped into it. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.)
  5. When the oil is hot, carefully lower tablespoons of the batter mixture in batches into the oil and fry for 5-6 minutes, or until the pakoras are crisp and golden-brown and the vegetables have cooked through. Serve immediately.

Creamy lentils
and rice

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tsp ghee or butter
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • ½ tsp chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 green chilli, whole (optional)
  • ½ garlic clove, finely chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • 35g/1¼oz white basmati rice, washed
  • 35g/1¼oz split green lentils
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

METHOD

  1. In a large non-stick saucepan melt the ghee. Add the cumin and fry for 20 seconds, until the seeds have coloured and their aroma has been released. Stir in the onion and cook until soft.
  2. When the onion has cooked, add the chilli, ginger, garlic and salt and cook for a minute before adding the rice, lentils, turmeric and 400ml/14fl oz water.
  3. Bring to the boil briefly before lowering the heat and simmering gently until the rice and lentils are tender. This should take 20-25 minutes.
  4. Once tender, stir in the garam masala and pepper and serve.

RECIPE TIPS

Ghee is clarified butter and is used often in Indian cooking, if you cannot find it regular butter will work well.

Vegetable
biryani

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 small carrot, peeled, cut into small cubes
  • 1 medium potato, peeled, cut into small cube
  • ¼ green pepper, diced
  • ¼ red pepper, diced
  • 25g/1oz French beans, finely chopped
  • 50g/2oz frozen peas
  • 1 tsp tomato purée
  • ½ tsp finely chopped green chillies
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 225g/8oz cooked basmati rice
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 roasted cashew nuts, chopped
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds, toasted
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • yoghurt, to serve

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/235F/Gas 3.
  2. Cook the carrot, potato, peppers, French beans and peas in a pan of boiling water for 3-4 minutes, or until tender. Drain and return to the pan.
  3. Add the tomato purée, green chillies, garam masala and turmeric to the vegetables and mix until well combined.
  4. Place half of the rice at the bottom of an ovenproof dish, spread the vegetable mixture on top, and then place the rest of the rice on top, spreading it evenly.
  5. Sprinkle the top layer of rice with the chopped onions, cashew nuts, cumin seeds and red chilli powder. Cover with aluminium foil and bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Serve with yoghurt.

Meatball
curry

INGREDIENTS

  • 450g/1lb lean beef mince
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp black pepper, coarsely ground
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 1 tsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp finely chopped root ginger
  • 1 x 400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp tomato purée
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 60-90ml/2-3fl oz water (optional)
  • cooked brown basmati rice, to serve

METHOD

  1. Mix the beef mince, garlic, half of the onion, pepper, garam masala and egg together in a bowl. Using your hands, shape the meat mixture into 24 balls.
  2. Preheat the grill to hot. Line the bottom of a grill tray with aluminium foil and place the meatballs on the grill tray. (This will allow the fat to drain off into the lined tray, saving on washing up.) Grill the meatballs under a medium heat for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally, or until nicely browned.
  3. Heat the rapeseed oil in a frying pan, and add the cumin seeds and the remaining onion. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until softened, then stir in the ginger.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée and turmeric and cook for 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
  5. Add the cooked meatballs, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add 60-90ml/2-3fl oz water if the curry is a bit dry. Serve with rice.

Rogan
josh

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 7 black peppercorns, left whole
  • 3 black cardamom pods, left whole
  • 5 green cardamom pods, left whole
  • 4 cloves, left whole
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 piece of mace
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 750g/1½lb lamb or mutton, cut into pieces
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled, left whole
  • 2cm/¾in piece ginger, peeled and cut in half
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp ground fennel seeds
  • 1½ tsp garam masala
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 tomatoes, blended to a pulp in a food processor
  • 3 tbsp plain yoghurt, stirred
  • handful chopped fresh coriander, leaves and stalks

METHOD

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the black peppercorns, black and green cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon and mace and fry for 1-2 minutes, or until the spices are sizzling and fragrant.
  2. Add the chopped onion and fry for 8-10 minutes, stirring regularly, until golden-brown.
  3. Add the lamb pieces and fry for 3-4 minutes, stirring continually, until golden-brown all over.
  4. Meanwhile, in a food processor, blend the garlic cloves and ginger with one tablespoon of water to a fine paste.
  5. Add the garlic and ginger paste to the lamb mixture, stir well to combine, then reduce the heat and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring regularly.
  6. Stir in the powdered coriander, cumin, red chilli powder, fennel seeds, garam masala, salt, tomato pulp and yoghurt, cover the pan with a lid, then reduce the heat to a low heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until the sauce has almost completely dried out.
  7. Add 2-3 tablespoons of boiling water to the sauce, stir well and simmer for a further 7-8 minutes, stirring continually and adding splashes of water as necessary, until the volume of liquid has reduced and the sauce has thickened.
  8. Add enough boiling water to almost cover the lamb, bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer or 8-10 minutes, or until the lamb is cooked through.
  9. Stir in the chopped coriander just before serving.

Mixed vegetable
and almond biryani

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 3 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 300g/10½oz mixed frozen chopped vegetables
  • 300g/10½oz basmati rice
  • 50g/1¾oz flaked almonds
  • large handful fresh coriander
  • ½ lemon, juice only

METHOD

  1. Heat the oil over a medium heat in a large, heavy bottomed, lidded saucepan. Fry the onions with the salt for 10 minutes, or until soft and just starting to brown.
  2. Add the garlic and fry for 1 minute, until aromatic. Add the cumin, ground coriander, garam masala and cardamom pods. Fry again for another minute and crumble in the stock cube.
  3. Add the vegetables and rice, and stir until everything is well coated in the onion spice mixture.
  4. Add 600ml/1 pint of water and turn up the heat to bring the rice to the boil. Put on the lid and reduce the heat as low as it will go, then allow to steam for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat, and allow the rice to rest, lid on, for a further 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, toast the almonds over a medium heat in a small frying pan until golden, and roughly chop the coriander.
  7. Remove the lid from the rice, and pick out the cardamom husks that should have worked their way to the top. Fluff up the rice with a fork, and stir in the flaked almonds, chopped coriander and the lemon juice before serving.

RECIPE TIPS

Making the perfect biryani is dependent on a number of factors, especially how much control you have over your heat source (if you are cooking on a gas or electric hob, for example), how heavy the bottom of your pan is and how tight a fit the lid is. If your biryani is slightly undercooked, return it to the heat with a splash more water until it is all absorbed. If it is slightly sticky, reduce the quantity of water by 25ml next time you make it.

Spiced lamb burgers
with herbed yoghurt

INGREDIENTS

For the burgers

  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 4cm/1½ in piece fresh ginger
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 20g/¾oz fresh coriander, stalks and leaves
  • 2-3 green chillies, chopped or ½-1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 450g/1lb lamb mince
  • ¾ tsp ground cumin
  • 1½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 2 slices thick-cut white bread, processed to crumbs in a food processor
  • 2 tbsp oil, for greasing

For the herbed yoghurt

  • 200g/7oz Greek-style yoghurt
  • 30g/1oz fresh coriander leaves
  • 15g/½oz fresh mint leaves, or 1 tbsp good quality dried mint
  • 1-2 green chillies, finely chopped (optional)
  • salt, to taste
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

To serve

  • 6 hamburger buns
  • 1 onion, sliced crosswise into large rings
  • 2 ripe plum tomatoes, sliced crosswise
  • crunchy lettuce leaves

METHOD

  1. For the burgers, using a hand blender, roughly chop the onion, ginger, garlic, coriander and green chillies by pulsing, or chop them all by hand. Place into a bowl with the lamb mince, add the cumin, garam masala, salt, egg and breadcrumbs and mix well.
  2. Shape into six burgers and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes, or until you are ready to cook them. Take them out of the fridge 30 minutes before you start cooking.
  3. Meanwhile, for the herbed yoghurt, mix together all the ingredients for the herbed yoghurt in a bowl and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Preheat the grill to high. Place the burgers on a well-oiled baking sheet and cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side. They can also be cooked in an oiled non-stick pan for 8-10 minutes, turning halfway.
  5. While the burgers are cooking, heat the buns in the oven for the last 3-4 minutes of the cooking time.
  6. To serve, split the buns in two. Place a burger onto one half of each bun on a bed of lettuce. Top with the tomatoes and onion rings and a spoonful of the herbed yoghurt. Finish with the other half of each bun.

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