So it’s winter again. That balmy St. Patrick’s day that got us all so excited for Spring now feels like a distant memory today. Luke saw a snowflake yesterday, which for Atlantans is worthy of a text message.
Even though I am a big fan of cold weather, this latest blast of Siberian wind has me longing for warmer climes. In place of adequate vacation time and a robust bank account, I turn to two trusted means of escapism: books and food. In books, I’ve retreated to the humid Dutch port in Nagasaki, Japan, summer 1799. In the kitchen, I’ve been dabbling in spices. A couple days ago, I ground up a batch of my own curry blend.
The mortar and pestle may be my new favorite kitchen tool. There’s something so witch-doctory and cathartic about bashing away at your chosen concoction, rendering a powdery dune of kitchen magic and, breathless, saying, “I did that.”
Homemade Curry Powder
2 Tablespoons coriander seeds
1 Tablespoon cumin seeds
1 Tablespoon fennel seeds
1 Tablespoon mustard seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons peppercorns
2 dried red chilis (cut into small pieces or 1 Tablespoon red chili flakes)
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Using a pan large enough that the spices can spread out, roast all the ingredients except the turmeric on medium-low heat. Toast for about 12 minutes, shaking the pan often, until the spices turn color and become fragrant.
Cool the spices. Using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle, grind into a powder. If using a M&P, you may have to grind the seeds in two waves. Add in the turmeric and blend a final time.
Store in an air tight container.
Enjoy in curry, roast veggies, soups… so many dishes!