Zucchini and Garam Masala


Back in April Nick from Macheesmo invited me to judge the first in a series of virtual cooking contests. Of course I was pumped to review bloggers’ attempts to create something interesting with potatoes and lemons, but I wanted to be on the other side.

Last week I was picked to be in this month’s fight. It’s a very simple duel, use two ingredients and make something awesome. That’s it. Except when one of the ingredients is something I’ve never worked with before: garam masala. (Zucchini is my favorite summer vegetable, so I was pretty excited to use it.)

I’ve messed around with curry a ton, but only a pre-mixed, commercial curry powder. I never really thought about making my own, of course until now. And I was seriously close to buying one, but just leaving another challenge that was all about using what’s on hand, I investigated my spice rack.

Using the link Nick provided for garam masala, I wrote down all of the ingredients that could possibly combine to create the spice blend. I then went to my kitchen and figured out I owned 11 of the spices and seeds.

Fuck it, I’m making my own.


Zucchini and Chickpea Spring Rolls with Garam Masala Dipping Sauce

I’m not an educated, trained cook. I really just make shit up. I blend culinary cultures like radio stations play MJ tributes. That is to say, yes, this dish is not authentic at all. But it’s totally fucking delicious, especially for summer. It’s light, takes advantage of seasonal produce and comes with a dipping sauce.

In a dry pan, toast whole peppercorns (I used black, white, pink and green), cumin seeds, cinnamon, coriander, turmeric, mustard seeds, dried red chili pepper, sesame seeds and caraway seeds.  Transfer to a mortar and pestle (can that be a verb?) the spices, crushing the whole seeds into pieces.

Pour the garam masala into a thick yogurt and stir to combine.

Slice zucchini into rounds, salt and pepper one side and place the seasoned side down in a hot oiled pan. Once browned in spots, flip the rounds over until softened, just a few minutes per side.

In the same pan that housed the spices, throw in canned chickpeas and let them brown and soften.

Pull some parsley leaves off a stem and thinly slice a scallion for the rest of the roll’s filling.

To work with the spring roll, soak it in hot water for about 15-30 seconds, or until pliable. Cut into quadrants and place two zucchini slices, three chickpeas, a parsley leaf a few scallion slices and pull the corners over top the filling and then tuck in the top and bottom to create a pillow of food.

Dip zucchini pillow into garam masala yogurt. The end.

Hey, like my zucchini and garam masala creation. Well, you should check out my competition. But then still vote for me, of course.

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  • Maids June 29, 2009  

    beautiful… i’m glad you made your own garam masala

  • Nick June 30, 2009  

    Good call on the Garam. Good luck against the other fighters 😉


  • crankycheryl June 30, 2009  

    Anyone moved to obscenity by their feelings about food is a-ok in my book. [Kicking self … why oh why didn’t I just make my own damn spice mix …]

  • Gee June 30, 2009  

    So. You made your own Garam Masala, but used Canned Chickpeas. Something doesnt sound right here. I usually use pre-mixed garam masala and fresh chickpeas. Ha.

  • Bliz June 30, 2009  

    I made these for my lady friend last night. She loved them and I thought I scored some big bonus points. I gave you full credit and she was very impressed. Later that evening I didn’t even mind when she screamed your name instead of mine.

  • Sandra June 30, 2009  

    That looks soo good that I’m going to try it. Funny how chickpeas, zuchinni and garam masala go together so well. That’s great that you made your own garam masala mixture. I did not have all the spices, so went with the cheaper premixed version. Like Gee I used fresh chickpeas. Actually, don’t know how fresh they were since they were sitting there dry for awhile before soaking.

  • Kris July 2, 2009  

    These look awesome. As soon as I saw your entry I kicked myself for not making my own garam masala. I had all the spices, I guess I was just cutting corners.

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