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Archive for the ‘Spice Blends’ Category

My husband and I just love Indian food!!  I cook it every other week and sometimes even more often.  There are garam masala blends available for sale ready-made, but like other blends, they can vary widely in flavor from bottle to bottle.  I haven’t found any commercial blends I like and most have been tossed out.

After experimenting with so many garam masala recipes, this is one that we keep coming back to and that has now become my “permanent recipe”.  This mix is well worth adding to your spice rack.  It is a little heavy with cinnamon, but we like that to round out the sharp coriander, which can be too strong in some recipes for this blend.  You won’t be sorry you added this to your arsenal of culinary “secrets”.   I have found it to be good in all curries, on all grilled meats and even on broiled or grilled seafood and Indian vegetable recipes.  It is also nice in a few dessert applications. Nearly 1,000 followers have copied this recipe and none have come back to complain, so I think you’ll like it.  As you get familiar with its flavor profile, you may want to increase one spice or perhaps decrease another to your liking.  That’s what makes cooking fun!

Type “Indian” in the search box to see an array of Indian recipes here on my site to try this spice in sometime. They are all tried-and-true recipes I’ve cooked many times.  Give them a try some time!

This spice mixture, like most herbs and spices, is Induction friendly.  If you like to explore other Garam Masala spice combinations, take a look at this list of other Garam Masalas:

More delicious low-carb recipes can be at your fingertips with your very own set of Jennifer Eloff and friends’ best-selling cookbooks LOW CARBING AMONG FRIENDS.  She has collaborated with famous low-carb Chef George Stella and several other talented chefs to bring you a wealth of delicious recipes you are going to want to try.  Even a few of my recipes are in her cookbooks! Order your 5-volume set TODAY! (available individually) from Amazon or: http://amongfriends.us/order.php

INGREDIENTS:

6 T. coriander seeds
3 T. cumin seeds
2 T. black peppercorns
1 T. whole cardamom pods (outer part and seeds inside)
5  small cinnamon sticks broken into small pieces
2  tsp. whole cloves
1  whole grated nutmeg (about 1 tsp)

DIRECTIONS:  In a dry skillet, over low heat, heat the first 6 spices until they become very fragrant. This step is most important, so do not skip it or your results won’t be as good.  When fragrant, turn off heat and remove pan from stove.   Using a spice/coffee grinder (I have a cheap dedicated coffee grinder for spices only), grind all toasted spices to a pretty fine grind, but it doesn’t have to be as fine as salt.  Add grated nutmeg at this point.  When adding this spice to curry recipes, I once again heat the dry skillet and reheat these until they become fragrant and then proceed with whatever recipe I’m making. This is outstanding in all chicken, beef and fish curries.  It’s great on charcoal grilled, buttered  fish and chicken, too!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION: Each teaspoon contains:

6  calories, 0.31 g.  fat, 1.1 g.  carbs, 0.6 g.  fiber, 0.23 g.   protein, 0.5 g. NET CARBS

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We just love Indian Chai tea.  Having lived in Tehran, Iran for a couple of years when I was 10-12 years old, I just loved drinking their unspiced plain hot tea from the little 2″ tall sipping glasses they serve tea in there.   It always reminded me of my childhood days, playing “house” and having “tea parties” with my dolls.

In Iran, sugar was sold in huge solid blocks and they would just hammer off chunks, pop a piece into their mouths and sip the hot tea right through that sugar “cube”.  At age 10, what fun!  Pure sugar in your mouth!  🙂  What can I say?  My views on sugar sure have changed.  🙂  I very quickly learned considerable Pharci language at age 10, mostly from our maid, Fatimeh, who spoke little English.  When we would pass a tea shop in the bazaar she would make a sipping gesture and ask:  “Chai meekhawheed?” (sp?) which I quickly figured out meant “Do you want some tea?” I learned the proper response in no-time flat “Adeh, chai meekhawham” (sp?), “Yes, I want some tea!”.  I also knew in that setting, I’d get it served Iranian style, with those fun chunks of rock sugar, something my mother would never  allow at home.  Wasn’t I a naughty little 10 year old?   Mom was always worrying about that evil, Mr. Tooth Decay (those old enough, remember him from the Colgate TV commercials in the late 50’s?).  Moms always over worry, don’t they?  My teeth haven’t all fallen out after all!  LOL  Wonder if Chai tea is served with rock sugar in India?  Sorry, I digress with my boring nostalgia trip………..

Cardamom Pods, cloves, black peppercorns and cinnamon sticks

Cardamom Pods, cloves, black peppercorns and cinnamon sticks

It was not until today, looking on the internet for the origins of the word CHAI, that I learned Indian hot chai tea, infused with all its lovely aromatic spices, actually gets its name from the Persian word for tea, CHAI (pronunced in Iran with second syllable stressed  CHA – EEEEEE )   Ya learn something everyday!

I really avoid commercial spice preparations as much as I can, what with all the “extras” they add to those prepared mixes, beaucoup salt and sugar.  So I decided to take the most common spices I can taste in a cup of chai tea and just make up my own, using equal amounts (roughly) of the likely spices.  I quickly learned it needs to be a little top-heavy with cinnamon and doubled that 1 ingredient.  The final spice blend, brewed into a 2-cup pot of tea, was DELICIOUS!  So I thought I’d share my new blend here with my readers.

I’m a lazy cook by nature and don’t like the nuisance of shelling cardamom seeds from those big pods, so once I saw that Penzey’s sells it already shelled, well you know I was on that one like a fly on flypaper!  🙂  I order already shelled cardamom seeds from Penzey’s Spices on-line or their catalog.  Therefore, I have no earthly idea how many cardamom pods it will take to yield 1 tsp. seeds, but probably around 10-15?  There are about 8-10 little black seeds in the average green cardamom pod.

More delicious low-carb recipes can be at your fingertips with your very own set of Jennifer Eloff and friends’ best-selling cookbooks LOW CARBING AMONG FRIENDS.  She has collaborated with famous low-carb Chef George Stella and several other talented chefs to bring you a wealth of delicious recipes you are going to want to try.  Even a few of my recipes are in her cookbooks! Order your 5-volume set TODAY! (also available individually) from Amazon or here: http://amongfriends.us/order.php

INGREDIENTS:

¼” slice of fresh ginger root (about 1 tsp.)

6 black peppercorns

10 whole cloves

2 tsp. cinnamon (or 1 3″ stick broken up)

1 tsp. cardamom seeds

3/4 tsp. fennel seeds

DIRECTIONS:  Place all ingredients in a blender or spice grinder (I use a dedicated cheap coffee grinder for spices) and grind until all is pretty fine.  Store in a lidded jar in a dark cabinet or your refrigerator if you’re worried about the ginger.   To make tea from this spice blend, boil your water in a proper teakettle and add your teabag(s) or loose tea in an infuser (my pot has a built-in infuser that lifts in and out).  Add 1 tsp. Chai Spice Blend to the infuser along with your tea for every 2 cups of water/tea you want to serve.  Steep for 5 minutes with the lid on and serve in cups with milk or cream and sweetener of your choice.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:    Makes about 9 tsp. of spice blend, each teaspoon (amount to brew 2 cups chai tea) contains:

3 calories, 0.1 g  fat, 0.75 g carbs, 0.45 g  fiber, 0.3 g  NET CARBS, < 0.1g protein

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This aromatic herbal blend I created to bake chicken, but I’ve since discovered it’s nice on baked fish or pork, too.  I figure since I tend to reach for the same herbs and spices to bake chicken over and over, why not create my own blend?  This blend, of course, would be suitable for all ketogenic diets.

More delicious low-carb recipes can be at your fingertips with your very own cookbooks from LOW CARBING AMONG FRIENDS, by Jennifer Eloff and low-carb friends.  Chef George Stella also brings you a wealth of delicious recipes you will love!  Order yours TODAY! from Amazon or our direct order site: http://amongfriends.us/order.php

DISCLAIMER: I do not accept payment for this book promotion. I promote the books because they are GREAT cookbooks anyone would be proud to add to their cookbook collection.

INGREDIENTS:

Shallot-HerbBakedChicken

Shown on my delicious Shallot-Herb Baked Chicken

1 T. dried tarragon leaves, crushed

1 T. dried rosemary leaves, crushed

1 tsp.dried thyme leaves, crushed

2 T. dried parsley, crushed  (or ¼ c. fresh, chopped fine)

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes or dash cayenne pepper (optional)

1 tsp. Victoria Gourmet No-Salt Lemon Pepper

DIRECTIONS:   Mix all ingredients well in a bowl.  Stir well.  Spoon into a tightly lidded jar.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes 16 teaspoons.  Each teaspoon has:

3.5 calories

0.03 g  fat

0.62 g  carbs; 0.09 g  fiber, 0.53 g NET CARBS

0.06 g  protein

210 mg sodium

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Ranch Dressing Powder Blend

Ranch Dressing Powder Blend

My husband loves Ranch Buttermilk Dressing on his salads, so I decided to take equal amounts of the herbs I had on hand that I suspect are in the Hidden Valley commercial blend and see what I could come up with.  Since the onion and garlic taste are so pronounced, I have added a lot of those two ingredients.  🙂

You will find dehydrated buttermilk powder in a small can in the baking aisle of your grocery store.  Most carry it.  If you can’t find it, just mix the herbs and spices.  There won’t be a buttermilk taste in the spice blend, but if using to make dressing, you can follow this Ranch Salad Dressing recipe, which I will be posting very soon.

This recipe is suitable for Atkins Induction, Keto dieters and Primal followers that consume some dairy.  One tablespoon of this blend should be equivalent to 1 envelope of the commercial powder mix.  1 envelope is enough to season 1 cup of the mayo-sour cream base for making the well-known salad dressing.  Of course, you can always add more if you like, since the net carbs are low.

TIP:  You can use fresh herbs for a better taste, but I’d make up half as much as it won’t keep so well using fresh herbs.  Use approximately double the shown amounts below if you use fresh herbs.  But know that it won’t keep in your refrigerator longer than the fresh herbs keep, the fresh parsley will be the first to spoil on you.  For this reason,, I double bag mine in plastic and freeze.  Then I break off a clump and defrost when I want 1 T. or so for a recipe.  If you use dried herbs as listed below, this blend should keep a long time in a tightly lidded jar in your spice rack/cabinet.  The buttermilk powder is room-temperature stable.

More delicious low-carb recipes can be at your fingertips with your very own set of Jennifer Eloff and friends’ best-selling cookbooks LOW CARBING AMONG FRIENDS.  She has collaborated with famous low-carb Chef George Stella and several other talented cooks to bring you a wealth of delicious recipes you are going to want to try.  Even a few of my recipes are in the cookbooks! Order your 5-volume set TODAY! (also available individually) from Amazon or: http://amongfriends.us/order.php

DISCLAIMER: I do not get paid for this book promotion or for the inclusion of my recipes therein.  I do so merely because they are GREAT cookbooks any low-carb cook would be proud to add to their cookbook collection.

INGREDIENTS

1 T. dried chives  (or 2 T. fresh)

1 tsp. – 1 T. dried dill weed  (I prefer 1 tsp., personally, as I’m not fond of dill)

1 T. dried parsley (or 2 T. fresh)

½ tsp. dried thyme (or 1 tsp. fresh)

1 T. onion powder

1 T. garlic powder

1 tsp. coarse black pepper

1 T. dehydrated buttermilk powder

¼ tsp. salt (more if you like, but I’m salt sensitive)

DIRECTIONS:  Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process to a fine powdery mixture (won’t be so powdery if you use any fresh herbs).  If fresh herbs are used, you need to refrigerate and use this mix up in about a week, or freeze it flat in a plastic bag.  Then you can just pinch/break off (still frozen) what you need for a small batch of dressing or a recipe. 🙂

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes 8 T. each contains:

12.3 calories

.11 g  fat

2.42 g  carbs, .38 g  fiber, 2.04 g  NET CARBS

.73 g  protein

80 mg sodium

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Chai Tea Spice Blend

We just love Indian Chai tea.  Having lived in Tehran, Iran for a couple of years when I was 10-12 years old, I just loved drinking their unspiced plain hot tea from the little 2″ tall sipping glasses they serve tea in there.   It always reminded me of my childhood days, playing “house” and having “tea parties” with my dolls.

In Iran, sugar was sold in huge solid blocks and they would just hammer off chunks, pop a piece into their mouths and sip the hot tea right through that sugar “cube”.  At age 10, what fun!  Pure sugar in your mouth!  🙂  What can I say?  My views on sugar sure have changed.  🙂  I very quickly learned considerable Pharci language at age 10, mostly from our maid, Fatimeh, who spoke little English.  When we would pass a tea shop in the bazaar she would make a sipping gesture and ask:  “Chai meekhawheed?” (sp?) which I quickly figured out meant “Do you want some tea?” I learned the proper response in no-time flat “Adeh, chai meekhawham” (sp?), “Yes, I want some tea!”.  I also knew in that setting, I’d get it served Iranian style, with those fun chunks of rock sugar, something my mother would never  allow at home.  Wasn’t I a naughty little 10 year old?   Mom was always worrying about that evil, Mr. Tooth Decay (those old enough, remember him from the Colgate TV commercials in the late 50’s?).  Moms always over worry, don’t they?  My teeth haven’t all fallen out after all!  LOL  Wonder if Chai tea is served with rock sugar in India?  Sorry, I digress with my boring nostalgia trip………..

Cardamom Pods, cloves, black peppercorns and cinnamon sticks

Cardamom Pods, cloves, black peppercorns and cinnamon sticks

It was not until today, looking on the internet for the origins of the word CHAI, that I learned Indian hot chai tea, infused with all its lovely aromatic spices, actually gets its name from the Persian word for tea, CHAI (pronunced in Iran with second syllable stressed  CHA – EEEEEE )   Ya learn something everyday!

I really avoid commercial spice preparations as much as I can, what with all the “extras” they add to those prepared mixes, beaucoup salt and sugar.  So I decided to take the most common spices I can taste in a cup of chai tea and just make up my own, using equal amounts (roughly) of the likely spices.  I quickly learned it needs to be a little top-heavy with cinnamon and doubled that 1 ingredient.  The final spice blend, brewed into a 2-cup pot of tea, was DELICIOUS!  So I thought I’d share my new blend here with my readers.

I’m a lazy cook by nature and don’t like the nuisance of shelling cardamom seeds from those big pods, so once I saw that Penzey’s sells it already shelled, well you know I was on that one like a fly on flypaper!  🙂  I order already shelled cardamom seeds from Penzey’s Spices on-line or their catalog.  Therefore, I have no earthly idea how many cardamom pods it will take to yield 1 tsp. seeds, but probably around 10-15?  There are about 8-10 little black seeds in the average green cardamom pod.

More delicious low-carb recipes can be at your fingertips with your very own set of Jennifer Eloff and friends’ best-selling cookbooks LOW CARBING AMONG FRIENDS.  She has collaborated with famous low-carb Chef George Stella and several other talented chefs to bring you a wealth of delicious recipes you are going to want to try.  Even a few of my recipes are in her cookbooks! Order your 5-volume set TODAY! (also available individually) from Amazon or here: http://amongfriends.us/order.php

DISCLAIMER: I do not get paid for this book promotion or for the inclusion of my recipes therein.  I do so merely because they are GREAT cookbooks any low-carb cook would be proud to add to their cookbook collection

INGREDIENTS:

¼” slice of fresh ginger root (about 1 tsp.)

6 black peppercorns

10 whole cloves

2 tsp. cinnamon (or 1 3″ stick broken up)

1 tsp. cardamom seeds

3/4 tsp. fennel seeds

DIRECTIONS:  Place all ingredients in a blender or spice grinder (I use a dedicated cheap coffee grinder for spices) and grind until all is pretty fine.  Store in a lidded jar in a dark cabinet or your refrigerator if you’re worried about the ginger.   To make tea from this spice blend, boil your water in a proper teakettle and add your teabag(s) or loose tea in an infuser (my pot has a built-in infuser that lifts in and out).  Add 1 tsp. Chai Spice Blend to the infuser along with your tea for every 2 cups of water/tea you want to serve.  Steep for 5 minutes with the lid on and serve in cups with milk or cream and sweetener of your choice.  Rock sugar, too, if you can get it!  (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) LOL Just kidding, I don’t eat real sugar anymore.  🙂

NUTRITIONAL INFO:    Makes about 9 tsp. of spice blend, each teaspoon (amount to brew 2 cups chai tea) contains:

3 calories

.1 g  fat

.75 g carbs, .45 g  fiber, .3 g  NET CARBS

< .1g protein

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This is my version of the ever popular Cavender’s Greek Seasoning.  My brother, a professional chef before he retired, just LOVES his Cavender’s, in salad dressings, on fish and chicken, and even on vegetables.  My version is real close to the popular commercial product, but it has a more pronounced garlic/onion flavor and has no salt in it (I’m very sodium sensitive). I think you’ll  like my mock up of this flavorful blend.  This spice blend is suitable for all phases of Atkins, other Ketogenic diets and Primal-Paleo lifestyles as well.

More delicious low-carb recipes can be at your fingertips with your very own set of Jennifer Eloff and friends’ best-selling cookbooks LOW CARBING AMONG FRIENDS.  She has collaborated with famous low-carb Chef George Stella and several other talented chefs to bring you a wealth of delicious recipes you are going to want to try.  Even a few of my recipes are in her cookbooks! Order your 5-volume set TODAY! (available individually) from Amazon or: http://amongfriends.us/order.php

DISCLAIMER: I do not get paid for this book promotion or for the inclusion of my recipes therein.  I do so merely because they are GREAT cookbooks any low-carb cook would be proud to add to their cookbook collection

INGREDIENTS:

1 T. dill seed

1 T. black peppercorns

1 T. dried basil

1 T. dried oregano leaves

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 T. granulated garlic

1 T. granulated onion

1 T. dried parsley flakes

1 T. dried rosemary

2 tsp. dried marjoram leaves

DIRECTIONS:   Mix ingredients in a bowl and transfer to a grinder (or your blender).  This may take several batches if using a dedicated coffee grinder like I use.  You want the blend fairly fine.  Store in an airtight jar in a dark cabinet with all your other spices.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes about 9 Tbsp. or 27 tsp.  Each teaspoon contains:

4.6 calories

.09 g  fat

1.0 g  carbs, .34 g fiber, .66 g  NET CARBS

2.1 mg potassium

1 mg sodium

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Recipes abound for mock ups of this very popular spice blend that McCormick created in their “Grillmates” line of seasonings, all varying by an ingredient or two, or the amounts of those ingredients. There are, however, similarities from one recipe to the other.  Those ingredients are in my blend below.  I’m not so fond of the chicken blend, but absolutely adore the steak blend.  For my blend, I have used less dill and coriander seed, (spices I’m not so fond of) and I use Smoked Spanish Paprika over regular paprika.  My blend is quite similar to the original but is more to my taste.  This is my favorite recipe with this spice blend:   Montreal Baked Chicken

INGREDIENTS:

2 T. whole black peppercorns

2 tsp. dill seed

1 tsp. coriander seed

2 T. Smoked Spanish paprika (or regular)

1 T. granulated garlic

1 T. minced dried onion

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

DIRECTIONS:  Place all ingredients into a spice grinder or blender and pulse a couple times to coarsely grind.  Place in airtight, lidded jar and store.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes 20 teaspoons.  Each tsp. contains:

7.4 calories

.18 g  fat

1.6 g carbs, .59 g  fiber, 1.01 g  NET CARBS

.33 g  protein

1 mg sodium

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