Masala-ish, Introductory Dish

First of all, how are you at onions? I am terrible. There he (she?) is. Looking innocent and full of potential. Then, I start chopping, and next thing you know,

I’m worse than any other woman watching Steel Magnolias or reading The Kite Runner or thinking about aging.

No, really. It’s bad.

Before we begin, let me give you a little background. My mom hates hates the smell of curry. I believe I may have mentioned this before (here, in fact). I didn’t grow up with it or any Indian-influenced dishes. I’m trying to learn about them gradually. I’m scared (remember, I’m a wimp) of diving in too quickly to uncharted food territory. But I’m excited to peek and ease into it.

So, I give you the furthest from masala masala dish you’ve ever had. I really do recommend this dish for those of you, like me, who are venturing into these tastes. And maybe no one else in the world needs to go so slowly into this fantastic world of complex, beautiful flavors. Let me introduce you to a friend I just met: Tumeric. And I had NO idea we had so many friends in common! You see, Turmeric gets along super well with Cumin, whom we met in Hummus but then ran into in all sorts of Mexican dishes, Ginger, who doesn’t just show up during the holidays like we thought, and Paprika and Cayenne. Wow. I mean wow. It’s crazy to see so many worlds collide here.

Thank you so much to food blogs and people who cook whom I admire: Deb, at SmittenKitchen, Aarti, from the Food Network Star, and my roommate Zach, who sometimes infuses the whole house with interesting food smells.

Masala-ish, Introductory Dish

largely inspired by Smitten Kitchen

1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
3 medium tomatoes (or two large), diced, juices saved
1/4 t ground cayenne pepper (add more for more heat)
1/4 t paprika
3/4 t ground turmeric (It’ll dye everything a beautiful shade of yellow. Enjoy.)
Dash of coriander seed
1/4 t ground ginger
1/2 t cumin

Put your olive oil at the bottom of a large sauce pan or dutch oven over medium high heat.

Then. Chop an onion. Breathe a sigh of relief once you’re finished and wash your hands a few times.

Mince the garlic and throw it on in. Sprinkle in the ginger and half the cayenne pepper. Let them hang out and sizzle together for about five minutes. During this time, you can chop your tomatoes.

Oh, man. They look so good. Don’t you love summer?

Turn the heat down to medium-low. And add the remaining spices, including the second half of the ground cayenne pepper. Let simmer for at least five minutes.

Serve by itself, with chickpeas, or chicken.

Remember, you can adjust spices as you would like. Play!

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