The Perfect Toasted Indian Garam Masala

Home made Garam Masala, from fresh spices, seeds, and leaves, is well worth the short time it takes to make, the much improved aroma, and taste in your curries, is well worth the effort. The dry toasting, releases the oils and aroma from the spices, which can be then stored for up to 3 months in an air tight container, ready to add to your curry recipes.

Image of  Indian spices for a Garam Masala Mix

Ingredients - 2-curry servings, increase proportionally for more servings.

.2 bay leaves
.handful of curry leaves
.3 inches of cinnamon bark broken up
.3 cardamom pods
.1 tsp, fenugreek seeds
.1 tbs. coriander seeds
.1 tbs. cumin seeds
.1 star anise broken up
.3 cloves
.1 tsp. black pepper corns
.1 tsp. brown mustard seeds
.1/2 tsp. mace, nutmeg
.1 tsp. fennel seeds


.Place all the ingredients in a dry wok or solid pan, and heat on a medium heat for 1-2 minutes, until the seeds start to pop, and aroma is released from the spices. Taking care not to burn them.
.Allow to cool and grind to a fine powder, then put in a clean airtight container ready for use with your curries. Use 1-2 tsps. when cooking and 1 tsp. sprinkled over finished curry.

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Is This The Best Chicken Curry Recipe You Will Ever Taste

I have been making curries for many years now, and this recipe being quick, easy to follow, matches most of mine, and other ones, and beats most. This madras hot curry, is easy to adapt to your own degree of heat requirement, by simply  adjusting type, and amount of chilli used, also coconut can be added to change flavour, texture, and heat of the curry gravy, Any meat, poultry, or fish, crustacean, prawn can be used.

Image of chicken curry cooking

Ingredients- 2 servings. Cooking time depends on main ingredient used

.4 chicken thighs or 2 breasts, skinned
.1 inch fresh green ginger
.1 red bell pepper( fried with some extra sliced onions till caramelised as a side dish if required)
.2 onions, peeled and finely sliced 
.3-4 garlic cloves, peeled
.4 cardamom pods, crushed
.2 inch cinnamon bark
.1 tsp. cumin seeds
.1 tsp. fennel seeds
.1 tsp. coriander seeds
.1 tsp. fenugreek seeds
.1 tsp. black pepper corns
.3 cloves
.8 curry leaves
.1 tsp. mustard seeds
.1 star anise
.1 tsp. sea salt
.1 tsp. turmeric
.1 tsp. paprika
.1 tsp. cayenne pepper or hot red chilli powder
.3-4 green finger chillies, or ones of personal choice eg. Naga, Scotch bonnet etc.
.1 tbs. mango chutney and 2 tsp of tamarind paste if you like a sweet and sour taste to you curry, or either one of each alone.Optional.
.1 tbs. of either lemon juice or malt vinegar
.400 g. tin of chopped Italian tomatoes
.2 tsp tomato puree
.1/2 cup of coconut milk/cream if you are using this, or plain yoghurt
.a bunch of washed and chopped coriander leaves to add at end of cooking
.water as needed
.cooking oil as required, I prefer coconut oil for taste and high heat cooking, but expensive to buy

. rice, Nan bread, chapatti to serve with curry
. sliced tomatoes and cucumber, with Greek yoghurt as a side dish to cool the mouth
.bell pepper and onions


Put  a wok or large solid pan, on a medium heat and add all the spice seeds, star anise, cinnamon,cardamom pods and heat gently for 1-2 minutes until the aromas are released and mustard seeds start to pop. Be careful not to burn the spices.

Remove and cool seeds and spices etc, then grind to a fine powder, put 1 tsp of this spice garam masala to one side to sprinkle in the finished curry.

Put 1/2 of the sliced onions in a blender, tomato puree, vinegar/lemon juice, dry powder spices, and ground toasted spice garam masala, 1 -2 tbs. water and blend to a smooth pulp.

Put wok/pan back onto a medium heat add enough oil to slowly fry the remainder of the onions till start to go a golden brown and caramelise, this gives the curry sauce it's taste and colour. Add the ginger and garlic, curry leaves, chillies, ( put small knife slits in the flesh of the chillies to release there flavour) cook stir frying for 2 minutes .Add onion spice blended mix and stir fry for 5 minutes to cook the mixture.

Add chicken and stir fry till browned, add more oil if needed.

Add tin chopped tomatoes, and tamarind and mango chutney if using. add a cup of cold water, 1 tsp salt and bring to the boil, stir well and turn down to a low simmer, Cook till chicken/ meat is cooked through, adding more water as required, also if you like a more oily textured curry add a little more oil to the sauce.

If using coconut milk or yoghurt add and cook for 5 minutes. Adjust and taste for salt if needed.

The sauce should be fairly thick and this is achieve by adding water as needed during cooking so should now be right at end of cooking time. Add chopped coriander and stir in.

Note * If cooking prawns or lobster etc. add near end of cooking, also depends if raw or cooked being used. eg. if you add raw prawns to the sauce add about 5 minutes towards end of cooking and have sauce really hot to burn off the water in the prawns or they can water the sauce .

Butternut Squash-Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Curry

I love this, nourishing vegetable recipe, using roasted butternut squash, baked sweet potato, cauliflower, red onions, coconut cream, garlic, bell pepper and toasted  Indian spices. A warming dish, now the weather is getting colder. Pumpkin could be used in place of squash or sweet potato.


The first step is to roast the squash, onions, bell pepper, carrots, garlic bulb, tomatoes and sweet potato till soft.

Next dry toast the seed spices and bark for about 1 minute until they release their aroma, be careful not to burn them.

Ingredients- 2 Servings

.a medium size butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise, scrape out seeds and fibres to form a hollow
.a medium size sweet potato, skin washed
.1 large red onion, skin removed and left whole
.6 cauliflower florets
.1/2 each of red and yellow bell peppers
.6 baby sweet corns
.2 spring onions, washed and chopped for decoration on finished curry
.1 large carrot sliced
.2 tomatoes left whole
.1 garlic bulb, left whole
.1/2 inch fresh green ginger, finely chopped
.1 dessert spoon mango chutney
.2 tsp. tomato puree
.6 black pepper corn crushed
.1 tsp. sea salt
.handful of curry leaves ( optional but use if you have them)
.handful of fresh coriander, chopped to add at end of cooking
.1 tsp. cumin seeds
,1 inch of cinnamon bark
.4 cardamon pods, slightly crushed
.1 tsp. fenugreek seeds
.1 tsp. turmeric powder
.1 tsp. fennel seeds
.1 tsp. paprika
.1 tbs. curry powder, of choice, use more as required
.1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
.1 bay leaf
.1 tsp. mustard seeds
.1 tsp coriander seeds
.1 sachet of Patak's cream coconut, or a cup of coconut milk
.1 star anise
.1 tsp garam masala
.2 chillies, of choice, de-seeded and finely chopped
.oil to cook with, about 2 tbs., I use extra virgin coconut oil, I love it but it's expensive at £6 for a small jar.
.water as required
.1tsp. garam masala to sprinkle over finished curry
. My curry is shown served with quinoa for a healthy meal, but any rice, couscous, Nan bread can be used
.other veg, can be added as required


a) Roast squash, peppers, tomatoes, garlic bulb, sweet potato, carrots on a baking tray in a preheated oven at 200*C or 180*C fan oven, till soft, remove garlic, tomato and pepper earlier when cooked before squash and potato is fully cooked, put to one side
b) Put all seeds and bay leaf, cinnamon bark, fenugreek, curry leaves, in a wok or large pan over a medium heat and warm till spices release their aroma, about 1-2 minutes, taking care not to burn them, remove and allow to cool. These can now be left whole ( I prefer them whole in a curry as it gives lots of burst of different spice flavour as you eat the curry) or for a smoother sauce, grind them to a powder
c) Add oil to the wok and heat over a medium heat, add toasted spices, and gently heat for 1 minute
d) Add tomato puree, garlic pulp squeezed out of roasted bulb, fresh ginger, chillies and stir for 1 minute to take rawness out of puree, add roasted tomato, and all the dry powder spices, stir fry for 2 minutes
e) Add a cup of water, coconut, mango chutney, salt and pepper, heat to the boil adding more water if needed, turn down to a slow simmer, stirring occasionally and adding more water if needed to obtain a fairly thick gravy, cook till gravy and spices infuse about 1 hour

f) Now add peppers, squash, sweet potato, ( cauliflower florets that have been softened by pre cooking) adjust seasoning to taste
g) Cook on a medium heat while stirring till veg. is completely heated through, about 10 minutes, add coriander and stir in, and sprinkle a tsp. of garam masala over and stir in , add more chopped chilli or cayenne pepper if more heat required

Serve with rice etc. 

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