Have you ever tasted, cooked, enjoyed an "exotic" dish that somehow made you feel right at home? Like the feeling you get when you're in your mama's kitchen, tasting and stirring and feeling complete. That's exactly how I felt when I made and ate this dish, and I'm the furthest thing from exotic, let me tell ya. Quite honestly I'm still very knew when it comes to Indian food and spices in general. I grew up in a meat 'n taters kitchen and it wasn't until I was out on my own that I began to experiment with spices and seasonings outside of salt, pepper and garlic salt. The warm and gentle spice in this dish made me feel like I was indulging some serious comfort food - though it's actually quite healthy, unlike a lot of my comfort foods.
I have a ritual in the morning, like most folks. I wake up ... several times ... brush my teeth, hop in the shower and before I flop back on the bed in an attempt to make my face presentable with various and sundry creams, powders and glosses, I turn the tube to the Cooking Channel and allow Bal Arneson to transport me to the Far East via "Spice Goddess". This lovely woman has me completely addicted to Garam Masala.
And really, it's that spice that is the key to this otherwise extremely easy curry dish. Garam Masala is a blend of several ground spices which varies regionally, but generally it contains white and black peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, black and white cumin seeds, black, brown and green cardamom pods. Grind these all up and you have Garam Masala. Or you can just as easily pick up a jar at the grocery store. The key in whatever spices that you're using - whether it's making your own or buying them from the store - is to only use FRESH spices. If the bottle has been in the pantry for more than a couple of months, toss it and start over. It's Bal's Tandori Garam Masala spice blend that makes this dish special. Warm, deep and savory, there's a lot of serious flavor going on here.
As I had lots of fresh eggs from the Colby Farm down the road, I whipped this up this week for dinner and served it over basmati rice, though I've eaten a couple cup-fulls for breakfast just on it's own. Fresh eggs and fresh spices are key to this flavorful, healthy Indian dish, so don't skimp on the quality.
Bal uses chickpea flour (along with the yogurt) to help thicken the dish. If you can find it, do use it, as I've not tried the recipe using any other flour. Otherwise, you'll just have to experiment with whatever flour you have on hand.
I really had fun photographing this dish. I used a little fresh, diced tomato and radish sprouts to garnish the dish for the pics. If you like Indian food but are hesitant to try cooking it, this is an easy and flavorful dish to start out with. Enjoy!
Recipe courtesy Bal Arneson (Cookingchanneltv.com)
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon Tandoori Masala, recipe follows
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup yogurt
2 tablespoons chickpea flour
Serving suggestion: Serve with rice.
1/4 cup garam masala
2 tablespoons coriander powder
2 tablespoons cumin powder
2 tablespoons Spanish paprika
Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
Gently place the eggs in a saucepan and add enough water to cover the eggs. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the eggs are fully cooked, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the eggs to cool. Remove the eggs from the pot and peel off the shells. Reserve.
Heat the oil in a shallow, wide pan over medium-high heat and add the ginger. Cook for 15 seconds and then add 1 tablespoon Tandoori Masala, the turmeric, fennel seed, salt, and pepper, and stir to toast for about 10 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
In a separate bowl, whisk the yogurt and chick pea flour together and then slowly stir into the tomato sauce. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and continue to cook for about 15 minutes. Slice the reserved boiled eggs in half and gently place them in the sauce to reheat. Serve the egg curry with rice.
To make tandoori masala:
Mix the garam masala, coriander, cumin, Spanish paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Store the mixture in a jar with a tight fitting lid.
Yield: about 1/2 cup