A bit about Curry and Ginga

Perhaps the best way to introduce our blog is to say something about its title. 

On one hand, Curry and Ginga stands for the two cuisines discussed in this blog: curry, a staple Indian dish, represents our interest in that part of the world. Ginga, a Brazilian expression meaning to groove, speaks to our passion for Brazilian flavours (and our nationalities). On the other hand, we chose the name Curry and Ginga because our recipes often and unconventionally marry both culinary traditions - our curries have ginga and our Brazilian dishes are full of spice. 

What is more, these two cuisines are surprisingly compatible. Ingredients like peppers, coconuts, cashews, mangoes and banana leaves, for example, are prominent in recipes from either country. It seems that shared colonial histories (Brazil and regions of India were, in the past, Portuguese territories), a similar climate and maritime trade routes approximated India and Brazil's cuisines. As a result, not only do Brazilian and Indian flavours work harmoniously and deliciously well together, but they also make for the perfect opportunity to explore and discover new and interesting recipes. 

Ultimately, that is what Curry and Ginga is all about: borrowing from the best in Brazilian and Indian cooking to create original, mouth-watering dishes. 

Monday, 27 April 2009

Garam Masala

A masala, in India, stands for a mixture of spices and herbs which is traditionally either store-bought or hand crafted at home. A staple ingredient in Indian cooking, masalas (each made using a particular combination of fresh and dry spices) make cooking curries and other dishes substantially easier. Garam masala, in particular, made from spices such as cardamom, cinamom and pepper, is widely used and imparts dishes with a pleasing, warm, aroma. Garam, as a matter of fact, means hot in Hindi. 

Garam Masala

6 gr cinnamon
6 gr de clove
6 gr de black pepper
2 gr cardamon seeds
1 bay leaf
3 gr coriander seeds
3 gr cumin seeds

How to make:
1. In a frying pan, heat the seeds, cloves and pepper until they are lightly roasted.
2. Place the roasted ingredients and the remaining spices in a food processor or coffee grinder and grind the ingredients until smooth and powdery.
3. Store the garam masala in a air-tight container and use it within six months. 

The recipe given above should serve as a guideline for anyone interested in making their own garam masala. However, feel free to add your own spices to the list above. Fennel seeds and mace, for example, work beautifully with the standard spices already mentioned.

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