Garam Masala is traditionally used in Indian fare, being added at the end of cooking to enhance the other flavors of the meal. However, the spices in this mix lend themselves to many foods in this country. Try a sprinkle on hot oatmeal or other cereal porridge. Add it to applesauce or fruit compotes. Experiment with it in pumpkin bread, cakes, cookies or pies.
1 ½ cups yellow or green split peas, red or brown lentils, or split mung beans
4 cups of water
½ tsp. cumin seeds
½ tsp. turmeric
½ tsp. salt
1 or 2 whole, dried chili peppers (or flaked chili pepper to taste)
Ghee, coconut or olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 tsp. grated or finely chopped fresh ginger
Juice of ½ a lemon
1 tsp. Garam Masala
Optional: 1 cup chopped tomatoes and/or 4 cups chopped fresh spinach.
Simmer, covered, the yellow or green split peas, red or brown lentils, or split mung beans in water, to which you have added the turmeric, salt and the whole dried chilis or chili flakes.
Stir often until the legumes are tender (anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes), adding ½ cup of water at a time to prevent any sticking. The final consistency should be quite thick.
When the legumes are almost cooked, heat a little ghee or oil in a small pan, add the cumin seeds and cook for 15 seconds before stirring in the onions and fresh ginger. Continue cooking until the onions begin to brown.
Remove hot peppers from the dal, add the onion mix, lemon juice, Garam Masala and additional salt to taste.
You may also add the optional tomatoes and/or fresh spinach to the onion mixture after it has cooked for about 5 minutes.
Serve, passing additional Garam Masala to sprinkle on top as desired.
Dal may also be turned into a soup by adding more water and adjusting seasoning accordingly.
Brew up a cup of black tea, such as Assam or Darjeeling, or make a non-caffeinated tea with rooibos.
In a small saucepan or microwavable jug, heat an equal amount of your choice of milk—cow, soy, almond, hemp—and ¼ tsp. of Garam Masala, or more to taste.
Combine the hot milk and tea, using equal amounts of each, and sweeten if you like. This should make 2 servings.
The hot milk may also be frothed up to make a Chai Latté.