Welcome to the next installment of my Meet the Spice Blend series, where I'm sharing the inspiration for, back stories of, and uses for my ever-expanding collection of small batch, handcrafted spice blends. Next up, let's meet Warming Edition (formerly known as Garam Masala)!!
The Inspiration - Garam Masala
Garam masala, which translates to "hot spice," is a quintessential blend in the vast world of Indian cuisine. Its history is deeply rooted in the subcontinent's culinary traditions, dating back centuries. The blend's components vary across regions and households, but common ingredients include cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, cumin, coriander, nutmeg, and black pepper. The art of blending these spices is passed down through generations, and each family often holds its own secret recipe. Culturally, garam masala epitomizes the essence of Indian cuisine: a symphony of flavors, aromas, and traditions that converge to create dishes that are both flavorful and healing. Its widespread use across various Indian dishes is a testament to its deep cultural significance and its enduring role in connecting past traditions with present-day culinary innovations.
I call my take on garam masala Warming Edition in honor of all the amazing warming spices it contains and as an ode to NPR's Morning Edition, the radio show that my husband and I listen to each and every morning. Warming Edition is my homage to the tradition of household garam masala recipes that connect generations and cross cultures, much like the stories we listen to every morning on the radio.
Flavor Profile - Warming Edition
Warming Edition pays a sophisticated homage to the traditional garam masala, artfully interweaving the piquancy of black pepper, the earthiness of coriander and cumin, and the sweet warmth of Ceylon cinnamon. The inclusion of clove introduces a bold, slightly astringent quality, while fennel adds a delicate hint of licorice. Nutmeg imparts a subtle sweetness, marrying well with the elusive, slightly minty notes of cardamom. Star anise, with its deep licorice undertones, amplifies the blend's aromatic character, making each pinch a fragrant journey through the spices of the ancient Spice Route. Each taste of Warming Edition envelops the palate with a symphony of flavors, warming both the body and soul.
Versatility in the Kitchen - Warming Edition
Warming Edition offers a rich tapestry of flavors, making it a versatile addition to your kitchen repertoire. Here are some ways to incorporate it into your home cooking:
1. Roasted Vegetables: Toss your favorite veggies in olive oil, sprinkle with Warming Edition, and roast until tender. This gives a comforting, fragrant twist to classics like carrots, potatoes, or winter squash.
2. Warm Beverages: Add a pinch of Warming Edition to your morning coffee or hot chocolate for a warming, spiced kick.
3. Baked Goods: Experiment with muffins, cookies, or bread by adding a touch of Warming Edition. Pumpkin or apple muffins with a hint of Warming Edition could become a fall favorite, and it is the not-so-secret ingredient in my Warming Edition Peanut Butter Cookie Mix.
4. Grilled Meats: Season chicken, lamb, pork or beef with Warming Edition before grilling. The aromatic spices will complement the charred flavors of the grill.
5. Rice Dishes: When cooking rice or grains, add a pinch of Warming Edition for a fragrant touch. It pairs especially well with basmati rice or quinoa.
6. Stews & Soups: A dash of Warming Edition will add depth and warmth to hearty stews, lentil soups, or even broths.
7. Breakfast: Sprinkle some Warming Edition on your oatmeal, or mix it into your pancake or waffle batter for a warm, spiced twist.
8. Marinades: Blend it with yogurt or coconut milk, garlic, ginger, and lemon juice for a creamy, spiced marinade perfect for meats and poultry.
9. Desserts: Enhance the flavors of poached fruits, ice creams or homemade chocolate bark by adding a sprinkle of Warming Edition.
Remember, the key to using Warming Edition is to start with a little and adjust according to taste. Given its rich and layered flavor profile, a pinch can go a long way in enhancing your dishes. Happy cooking!
A Bite of Good Recipes that use Warming Edition
Looking for some more concrete guidance on how to use Warming Edition? Check out these A Bite of Good recipes!
Indian-ish Pork Ribs - BBQ and Indian cuisine traditionalists alike may hate me for this one, but life is too short not to try new things, and this spin on sauce for pork ribs has my heart.
Spiced Peanut Butter Banana Muffins - Typical peanut butter banana muffins get amped up with the addition of Warming Edition. Make a batch and freeze them for a quick weekday breakfast option.
Ready to get your own Warming Edition? Get it here.