Recently our taster panel had the joy of trying out 2 different spice blends: Madras Curry and Garam Masala. Curries are very popular in British homes and Steenbergs aims to create authentic yet versatile curry blends to make enjoying Indian cuisine deliciously easy.
Madras Curry is a medium hot curry powder, blended to be used as an everyday spice mix. The core elements to Steenbergs Organic Madras Curry Powder are the sweet spices of cinnamon; pungent spices such as cloves, cardamom and cumin to add a depth of character; Indian chilli and organic fenugreek; Keralan organic black pepper and Sri Lankan organic ginger to give it some bite. These almost conflicting flavours are melded together by amalgamating spices – organic fennel seeds, organic coriander seeds and organic turmeric (which also gives it a characteristic yellow colour). At Steenbergs, we then add a little powdered organic garlic and organic onion to increase the versatility of the curry mix.
Our taster panel excelled themselves in finding different uses for the curry powder, adding it not only to traditional curries, but using it as a meat rub; on roast chicken; in a root soup; in homemade beans; in chilli con carne; in kedgeree; even on popcorn! We loved the sound of the ‘chicken curry with wild spring garlic’, adding it to ‘fried red onions with kidney beans’ and the delicious list of curries including aubergine, chicken, beef, lamb, prawn, balti style, fish, and cauliflower & potato.
89% of our tasters would use this blend again and the same number would recommend it to a friend. Many of them think it’s a great ‘store cupboard staple’ and pleasingly one taster commented that ‘it knocks the socks off bog-standard curry powders’. A few of our tasters will even be using it as their secret curry ingredient going forward!
Interestingly half of our panel don’t normally use spice blends, preferring to make up their own using individual spices. Here at Steenbergs we have all of the single spices for our customers to experiment and make their own blends but sometimes a quick and easy blend is just what is needed!
Garam Masala is a staple Indian spice blend used widely in Indian cooking. Steenbergs Organic Garam Masala comprises the sweet spice – cinnamon – and the pungent spices – caraway, cloves and cardamom powder. At Steenbergs we add some wonderful organic black pepper from organic growers in the Palghat region of Kerala in India to give it some bite. Then Axel Steenberg has used organic fennel seeds to bring the flavours together and add some anise tones to the blend.
It is a very versatile blend as shown by the wide variety of uses that our taster panel put it to. Whether it was sprinkled on beef & fish curry a few minutes before serving; to spice up pea & potato croquettes; in dhal; on scrambled eggs served with Arbroath smokies; to make a salad more interesting; Indian roast vegetables or on Hugh Fearnley Whittingstal’s sausage & parsnips, it shows how popular it was. We love the sound of the ‘roast butter garam masala chicken’ and the ‘marinated chicken breast with yoghurt & pepper’.
One of our panel adds it to sweet potatoes before baking and enjoys the faces of her guests thinking ‘I can taste some extra flavours but not sure what she’s added!’
A well known spice to many of you, 93% of you would use the Steenbergs Garam Masala again and 89% of you would recommend it to a friend. Many of our panel are avid curry fans, with some cooking curry at least twice a week but with the popularity of this sweet, warm and spicy blend, we hope to tempt you all to use it more often.