Garam Masala Hummus


Hummus is a great side dip for parties and gatherings; however, store bought hummus can be expensive for the amount you receive. Eating out at Indian restaurants can be expensive as well. Solution? Homemade Hummus–it’s inexpensive and extremely versatile. From garlic to roasted bell pepper, hummus can be appreciated by all taste buds. The garam masala hummus today brings a big bite of the Mediterranean home.

Garam Masala is a popular Indian spice consisting mostly of black and white peppercorn; cloves; black and white cumin seeds; cinnamon and black, brown and green cardamom pods. Some masala may be toasted before use to extract flavor and aroma. Garam refers to the intensity of spices, which one can sense from just a whiff. Surprisingly, there is no single garam masala. Recipes and ingredients differ according to region as well as a chef’s individual preferences. From turmeric to fennel seeds, variations can arise to accompany the dish’s flavor; consequently, most pre-made spice mixes in grocery stores contain the basic ingredients.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. I used homemade tahini, but you can use store bought. Most kinds of tahini are found in the healthy, ethnic or refrigerated sections of your supermarket.
  2. I used bottled lemon juice. If you use fresh, be sure to squeeze the lemon over a mesh colander to keep the seeds and strings from falling into your hummus.
  3. You may want to use more olive oil depending on the consistency of the hummus.
  4. Feel free to add more than a pinch of paprika to balance out the garam masala. I
    love paprika.
  5. Use about ¾ tsp of garam masala and add more to your tasting. It can be a potent spice if you are unfamiliar with the flavors.

garammasalahummus2Again, hummus makes the perfect party platter or side at lunch.  Pair hummus with chips and crackers or add to a wrap for an extra umph.  There are several variations of hummus to keep your stomach happy. Experiment to find your favorite recipes after trying the garam
masala hummus.

Leave a comment with your favorite hummus dip recipes. Follow my Pinterest for more recipes. Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from the Cooking Bug.


Winter Vegetable Dal


Cold days call for warm soups. This winter vegetable dal delivers a warm deliciousness to your tummy. Full of notable Indian spices and deep flavors, it provides a sensational dish without tedious hours of cooking. Within an hour, you can easily create a dish worthy of family night and friendly parties.

Dal refers to a thick stew prepared from dried lentils, peas or beans that have been stripped of their outer hulls and split. The dish is normally paired with rice or bread as a soaking agent to the soup. Dal is a staple food for much of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal known as Dal Baht–literally dal and rice. Dal has an exceptional nutritional profile. It is typically around 25% protein by weight, particularly for those adopting vegetarian diets. It is virtually fat-free and rich with B vitamins, folic acid, iron and zinc.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. I suggest using coconut oil for the natural health benefits.
  2. I was unable to find brown mustard seeds; I believe mine were simply called mustard seeds but were yellow.
  3. I used a bay leaf in place of curry leaves. It was what I had in the pantry; the point is to create spice flavor.
  4. Dice the Serrano pepper finely and remove the seeds.
  5. I suggest grating the ginger finely rather than chopping it. The pieces become too small and are difficult to chop.
  6. I used red lentils found in the natural section of my grocery store, but you can use any type of lentils available.
  7. Use “lite” coconut milk whenever possible. The point is to create creaminess without killing your waistline.wintervegetabledal2
  8. Tumeric and garam masala are the important spices to achieve the Indian flavors. Tumeric provides a distinctive, yellow color, and garam masala adds the punch of spice.
  9. Peel, de-seed and cube the butternut squash. The pieces need to be small enough to cook in 20 minutes.
  10. Cube the potato in similar fashion because they will have the same cook times.
  11. I broke my cauliflower into roughly one
    inch florets.
  12. Heating the spices brings their flavors to life and makes the room smell scrumptious.
  13. Frequently stir the ingredients to keep them from burning. Cooking it uncovered keeps the temperature in your control.

I love recreating Indian dishes. Rarely people make these inspiring meals because they are heavily dressed in spices; however, I love the depth of flavor that is created in every inch of the dal. I am constantly surprised at the ease of making such dishes. I am even more shocked to find a way to make the meal healthier. The dish accomplishes both while maintaining flavor and integrity.

Leave a comment with your favorite Indian recipes. Follow my Pinterest for more recipes. Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.