Simple Garam Masala

Simple Garam Masala-

I LOVE Indian food. I love going out to eat it, cooking it, and eating more of it! I’m a sucker for buffets. I am able to try a bit of everything and get inspiration for recreating them myself and make it with much healthier oils.

Garam masala is a fragrant blend of spices commonly used in Indian cooking. Garam masala translates literally as “warm spice mix”. Garam means “heat” but not the type of heat that you would expect from a chile pepper but the warmth you feel as you eat a dish with the spices in them.

Every cook has a slightly different variation. The basis is generally cardamom, clove, cinnamon, and black pepper. I based my simple garam masala of a recipe in my favourite Indian cookbook “Aarti Paarti: An American Kitchen with an Indian Soul“.

Garam Masala may be most common is India but it I also had it on  chicken shwarma when I was in Bethlehem a few years ago. I love how versatile it can be- in a pinch I have even been known to use it with black tea to make a quick cup of chai!

If you buy garam masala from the store there are often fillers added to cut costs. Be sure to read the ingredients to be sure it is an unadulterated blend.

I bought most of my spices at Mountian Rose Herbs, but my Ceylon cinnamon came from the local Mexican market. You can also find it on Amazon. I chose to start with ground herbs, you can buy them pre-ground or grind them yourself in a spice grinder, but I just use a coffee grinder. If you really want to get a work out you can grind them by hand in a mortar and pestle.

Simple Garam Masala-

Other Indian Inspired Dishes to Try:

5.0 from 2 reviews
Simple Garam Masala
  • 3 TBS ground cardamon
  • 2 TBS ground Ceylon cinnamon
  • 1 TBS ground cloves
  • ½ TBS ground pepper
  1. Mix all the spices together and save in a glass container.

Simple Garam Masala

3 TBS ground cardamon
2 TBS ground Ceylon cinnamon
1 TBS ground cloves
1/2 TBS ground pepper

1. Mix all the spices together and save in a glass container.

 What is your favourite Indian dish?

Chai Chocolate Chip Ice Cream


Once the calendar changes to September I want to rush to the kitchen and begin making all things that smell and taste of fall. Autumn is on it’s way but there are some days that feel like summer is still in full force. There is no desire for hot drinks or baked goods on those hot days.

Thankfully I came up with a solution, fall infused iced treats! I already had a couple up my sleeve like chai tea fauxccino and pumpkin pie fauxccino.What I really wanted though, was ice cream.

Chai is a fun thing to make and cook with so when I set off to make an ice cream it was the obvious choice! It gives you the flavor of fall with the refreshing coolness that you crave on a hot day!

Join me at Gnowlfglins to learn how to make this tasty almost fall treat!

Tandoori Chicken Sandwich With Mango Chutney


Last summer while spending a few days on the Northern California Coast I had the most delicious sandwich in the little village of Duncan Mills. Tandoori Chicken Sandwich with Mango Chutney popped out from the menu at first glance. I knew it was destined to be my lunch that day. The rich and flavorful spices of the tandoori chicken mingled with the sweet mango chutney, the smooth creaminess from the aioli brought the sandwich to perfection. From the first bite I was in heaven.

Ever since that day I have been dreaming about that sandwich and when I could make the 500 mile trip to eat it again. Last fall when Kimi posted a recipe for DYI Mango Chutney I knew my sandwich was within reach. I excitedly rummaged through my cupboards and refrigerator and prepared recreate the sandwich.

This has become one of my signature sandwiches over last several months. The first time around a lot of prepping is involved. I have found that if  make extra aioli, chutney and spice rub  to keep on hand then this sandwich takes less than 20 minutes of active cooking to make.

Join me at the Nourishing Gourmet to read the recipe.

Homemade Chai Concentrate


It’s raining here again. I’m ready to curl up with my comfy jeans and sweater with a warm cup of tea and watch the rain dance down my windows. Adding a book to the mix would make it all the more delightful! Recently we’ve had warmer weather. I’m glad that winter desired to show it’s face again for awhile.

There is nothing like a cup of tea to sooth the soul and warm the body. While I may be an avid mint tea drinker there are days when I need to add some spice to my life. How do I do that with chai tea of course!


When I make chai tea I like to use fresh spices that I grind myself. The flavors are much more bold and popping with flavor. Every time I make chai I make a large concentrated batch and store it in a quart jar. That way when the mood strikes I can mix some with an equal part of milk and reheat or drink cold.

Making your own chai is cheaper and so much better for you! You will only find good, whole ingredients in this recipe unlike it’s counter part at the store. This recipe makes one quart of strong concentrate but you can always make a second batch with the tea for weaker brew or you can put it in a small crock pot with some water for a natural fragrant potpourri.


I prefer most things slightly sweetened so please feel free to adjust to your personal preference. When I make this for myself I use about 3 TBS of raw honey.

Homemade Chai Concentrate

8 tsp of black or roobois tea
15 allspice berries
12 black pepper corns
8 cloves
5 green cardamom pods
4 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 inch fresh ginger
1 vanilla bean
5 cups of water
small muslin bag, cheesecloth or fine mess strainer
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar or 1/4 cup raw honey (if desired)

1. Crack the allspice, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom and anise. If desired place all the ingredients including the tea in a small muslin bag or chessecloth tied up.

2. Add the spice/tea mixture, ginger, cinnamon sticks and vanilla to a medium sized pot of boiling water. Turn the burner down to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the muslin bag/ cheesecloth or strain through a fine mesh strainer.

3. Now is the time to add the sweetner if desired. Stir until completely disolved.

Makes about one quart. The concentrate will stay fresh in the fridge for up to one week. When ready to drink mix one part chai with one part raw milk, almond milk or coconut milk.



This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday,  Pennywise Platter Thursday,

Malaysian Chicken Curry

I absolutely love ethnic food! I am so glad that my parents thought it important to have us stray from the typical American diet growing up. My love of eating ethnic foods quickly developed into a love for learning to cook them. By the age of 10 or so I made many failed attempts at cooking Chinese food. My poor parents and siblings suffered through them. I still haven’t perfected my Chinese skills, I kind of put them on the back burner for a while. Instead I have been learning from the nationals themselves.
At the beginning of the summer a wonderful, sweet woman invited my mom and I to her home to learn to make traditional Malaysian food. Vasi is an amazingly talented woman who grew up in Malaysia, studied violin in Saltzburg, Austria (how cool is that?!!!) and moved to the states about 20 years ago. She teaches Suzuki violin from her home, which is pretty cool for me because I grew up learning Suzuki piano. Vasi’s son goes to school with my sister, when she heard that I was wanted to learn how to cook Indian food (which has many similarities to Malaysian) she invited my mom and I to come over and learn from her. We had a blast and learned so much! Today I’m going to share Vasi’s chicken curry with you.
Hopefully I will find the time to share the other dishes with you soon! If you love curry then trying this recipe is a must! I am addicted now! I did my very best not to stray far from how I was taught, I just made a couple changes to make it a bit more nutritious.

Vasi’s Malaysian Chicken Curry

1 1/2 pounds chicken
1 cinnamon stick or 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
3 whole cloves
1/4 tsp cardamom powder or 2-3 cardamom pods
1 star anise
6-10 curry leaves(optional)
1 large onion chopped
4 cloves garlic crushed
1 inch piece ginger grated (I cut it into smaller pieces and put it in the garlic press)
1 tsp turmeric
2 TBS Malaysian curry powder *
1-2 tsp cayenne powder
1 TBS tomato paste
1 cup whole fat coconut milk
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 TBS lemon juice
2 TBS coconut oil
salt to taste (I used about 1 1/2 tsp)

1. Heat oil in a large skillet. Put in cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and anise. Stir-fry for about a minute.

2. Add onions, garlic and ginger. Fry until the onions are soft.

3. Add turmeric, curry powder, cayenne and tomato paste. Stir-fry until the onion mixture has absorbed the spices and has a paste-like consistency.

4. Add chicken pieces and stir to coat with the spices. Let cook for about five minutes in the spices stirring occasionally so that all parts of the chicken is well coated with the spices.

5. Add coconut milk. Stir to mix well and bring to a boil. Cover skillet and allow to simmer for 30-40 minutes. Stir occasionally.

6. Once cooked add the lemon juice and stir. You can remove and debone the chicken like I prefer to do or you can serve it with the bone in. Serve over rice.

* Vasi told me that is very hard to find Malaysian curry powder in the states. If you look for it in your local Asian market you will most likely find one from India.  She also said that they will tell you that there is no difference in taste while their actually IS, even though I can’t remember what that difference is. Vasi gets hers straight from Malayasia when she, her sister or her friend visits. She blessed me with a bit of her cherished curry. She also told me that if I couldn’t find any more that the Indian curry would do. So good luck!