Saturday, January 18, 2014

Another round of making ingredients or, "Oh shit, pot luck!"

In my new job, I work with some great people and have recently transitioned onto a new team. It's both a happy and sad occasion, because while I'm looking forward to new challenges to go along with my current project a person I'd become very fond of took a job elsewhere. 

So a couple weeks ago, someone said, "Let's do a pot luck!" And then someone said, "Spicy!" and I said, without thinking, "I'll make aloo gobi." 

Three of the guys on the team are Indian. Can you say, "Oh shit?"

I was also long out of garam masala, so this was a nice excuse to make a new batch. After several uses, I decided I could do better than the last one--in retrospect, it seemed heavier on the black peppercorns than it needed to be.

So in the grand Knives, Fire, and Fun tradition, I explored some recipes and then made up my own. Into a dry pan on medium-low heat went:

  • 1 T cardamom pods
  • 1t whole cloves
  • 1 t black peppercorns
  • 2 t cumin seeds
  • 1 2" cinnamon stick
  • 1 t coriander seeds
  • 1" dried chile
  • a medium-sized bay leaf, broken into bits.
Toasting spices is one of my favorite culinary things. I get to make the house smell heavenly and I get to shake a pan to mix the ingredients as if I knew what I was doing. Anyway, I did this until the seeds started to make popping noises and then turned off the heat.

I began to break the ingredients down first in a mortar and pestle and then to a fine powder in my spice grinder. I also added a teaspoon of powdered nutmeg, which is something I always have in the house (and why can't I have egg nog all year round?).

This went into my aloo gobi, which I hadn't made in a while. The following morning, I packed it up and navigated the bus, the Metro North train the subway to get to work. At lunchtime, I heated it up and waited nervously.

Success! I was given a pass by the Indian guys, all of which brought some delicious food of their own. 

This has the slight disadvantage of setting the bar a little higher next time . .  . I think I'll go for the cabbage recipe. If I can find it. There were mustard seeds involved . . .

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