Friday, October 7th, 2016
My passion lies with teaching Indian cooking, the most difficult part of cooking is the spicing, the reason people shy away are complicated spices.
Both my Masalas are home made, ground spices to allow you the freedom to create perfectly seasoned dishes in a flash. Why home made spices you may wander? The answer is simple, I wouldn’t use any other, I don’t feel that mass produced spices would consider cleaning, roasting and grinding those spices in the same way that I do. Did you know I have a special sieve which gives a slight texture in the garam masala? This process makes all the difference, I don’t just grind the spices to the finest powder, I take my time and don’t cut corners or scrimp on the quality or quantity of spices.
For me, it is so important to enjoy the spicing process, it’s by far one of my favourite kitchen tasks, life is always such a rush, but preparing spices slows me down and takes me to a special place. I have my own faithful recipe, lovingly tried and tested in my kitchen.
Garam Masala is a deeply aromatic spice which forms the base of all savoury dishes, with the exception of Saag and breads, it is used extensively in dishes from the Northern Punjabi region of India. Garam means hot, these particular spices have warming properties, according to the Ayurvedic practice of holistic health.
Usually, garam masala is added to the dish at the very end, when adding coriander. It is so versatile, add it to marinades, your dips, rice, all the usual Indian dishes. Try adding a pinch to cheese on toast, an omelette, cottage pie, soups, the dishes are endless and they come to life, with just a little pinch of this magical spice. It’s great in fruit cakes, banana loaves, try replacing a pinch where you would use all spice.
My favourite Cumin seeds, whole coriander sees, black peppercorns, cassia bark, black cardamom pods – with their deep smokiness, nutmeg, cloves (use sparingly), green cardamom pods (for a floral note to the mix) and the bay leaves to calm it all down, all I know is I love, love the freshness, the aromas and if I have ever brought ready made mixes, with a heavy heart I have throw them out. As a special gift to my clients, I offer an audit of spices and can “sniff” out the spice that doesn’t belong there.
Lucky you don’t need to worry about the masala making process as you can buy those magical little pots from http://www.lajinamasala.com/shop/
Lajina Leal, Founder, Lajina Masala
Lajina had a Corporate Career as an Accountant for many years and whilst discussing an impending redundancy in an Indian restaurant with her friends, they persuaded her to set up an Indian Cooking School.
The fun started in October 2013 and the business has grown from strength to strength.