A couple of weeks ago they sent me a recipe for lentil soup that called for two ingredients I'd never worked with: garam masala and turmeric.
|The beautiful book I used as the backdrop of these photos is New Good Food: Essential Ingredients for Cooking and Eating Well by Margaret M. Wittenberg. It's an excellent resource for learning how to identify and use whole ingredients.|
It turns out that garam masala is nothing more than a mix of spices that I already have in my cabinet, such as peppercorns, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, and cloves. Turmeric, on the other hand, is its own feisty little guy. And I mean feisty. I tasted it raw. Yowza! It tasted like how I imagine those musky perfumes at hippie stores might taste. Anyone from where I grew up in Vermont knows what I'm talking about. Patchouli, sandalwood... one of those. Like most spices, turmeric isn't a flavoring agent that's very pleasant on its own, particularly uncooked. But with broth, lentils and other spices, it's pretty nice! In fact, garam masala and turmeric together are very much like their own curry powder.
I think the lentil soup recipe needs some tweaking before I'm ready to share it, but it may be blog ready someday.
A word of caution: This stuff stains. I had to use chemicals, the rough side of a sponge and a lot of elbow grease to get the yellow out of my Silestone counters. I have a wooden spoon that hasn't recovered.