5 Spices

My friend Katie mentioned on her blog a while back that she would be interested in trying out some Indian inspired recipes at home. Well, that's one thing our whole family agrees on :) I haven't made too many different recipes, but I thought I would post our family's tried and true favorites.

First, you may need to stop off at the grocery store and pick up some additions to your spice cabinet. The main 5 spices in Indian cuisine are coriander, cumin, tumeric, mustard seed, red chili powder. A lot of the recipes I use also rely on ginger and coconut milk as well. You can always substitute an already pre-mixed curry powder for the individual spices, but many recipes call for each individual spice.

Also just as important is what kind of rice you use. Simple white rice lacks the flavor that the Indian rice called basatmi brings to the meal. We also love jasmine rice, but tend to save that for our traditional Thai dishes instead.


Here's a beginner's curry recipe that is quite simple:

Prep: 10 minutes; Cook: 15 minutes. This is a mild curry. To make it spicier, increase the ground red chili. You'll find all these spices at your local grocer or online at www.namaste.com.

4 servings (serving size: 3/4 cup)

* 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds, crushed
* 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
* 1 cup canned diced tomato, drained
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
* 1/4 teaspoon ground red chili
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 pound (about 1 3/4 cups) cubed cooked chicken breast
* 3/4 cup light coconut milk


1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mustard and cumin seeds. Cook 2 minutes or until seeds are fragrant, stirring frequently. Combine the tomato and oil in a small bowl; add to the seeds. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

2. Stir in the turmeric, red chili, and salt. Cook, stirring, for another minute.

3. Add chicken and cook for 1 minute. Stir in coconut milk; cover. Simmer over low heat 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

4. Serve hot, spooned over warm basmati rice.

This next recipe is our family favorite to put in the crock pot:

* 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1 inch strips or chunks
* 2 large onions, quartered and sliced thinly
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 tablespoon soy sauce or Tamari
* 1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
* 2 teaspoons chili powder
* 1 teaspoon turmeric
* 1 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/3 cup chicken broth or water
* hot cooked rice

Mix all ingredients, except rice, together in the slow cooker/Crock Pot. Cover and cook on low from 6 to 8 hours, or until chicken is tender. Serve over rice.
Crockpot chicken and rice recipe serves 4.


This is a recipe I am going to try next week, since our family eats so much poultry:


1 JENNIE-O TURKEY STORE® Classic Young Turkey Breast 1 to 1 1/2 lbs.
2 cups plain low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon each ground cumin, coriander, allspice and salt
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
Hot cooked rice or couscous (optional)
Chutney, cooked peas and chopped cucumbers (optional)

Place turkey roast in a recloseable plastic bag or non-porous container with cover. In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, ginger root, garlic, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, allspice, salt and cayenne pepper; mix well.

Pour yogurt mixture into bag or container with turkey. Seal bag and toss to coat turkey with marinade or turn turkey in mixture to coat well and cover.

Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight, turning turkey or spooning mixture over turkey occasionally.

To bake: Heat oven to 325°. Remove turkey from marinade; reserve marinade. In a small roasting pan, place turkey roast, pop-up timer on top. Bake, uncovered, until timer pops, 35 to 50 minutes. Brush roast frequently with marinade. Discard marinade.

To grill: Place roast 6 inches from medium coals, 15 to 25 minutes per side or until timer pops, brushing occasionally with marinade.

Serve sliced with rice, chutney, peas and cucumbers, if desired.

Serves 4.
I've eaten this at our local Indian restaurant, but haven't made it at home yet:


3 tbsp. vegetable oil or butter
3/4-1 c. raw cashew nuts or other nuts
1/2 c. finely chopped onion
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh hot green chili
2 tsp. coriander powder
1/2 tsp. cumin powder
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
1/4 tsp. fennel seed
3 whole cloves
2 cardamom seeds, peeled
1 bay leaf
Few sm. pieces cinnamon sticks
1 c. long grain or Basmati (Indian) rice
2 tsp. fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
Fresh lime juice (optional)
1 c. vegetables (carrot, green beans, potato, green peas, bell pepper), cut into sm. pieces or substitute frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/4 c. water

In a heavy pan, heat the oil on medium heat; fry the nuts until they turn golden brown in color. Remove from pan and set aside.

Brown onion; stir in ginger, garlic and green chili. Then stir in cloves, cardamom, bay leaf and cinnamon. Stir in coriander, cumin and turmeric powders and vegetables. Fry for 2 minutes. Add rice and salt; stir it well for 1 minute. Add water and increase heat. Boil it for 3 minutes and reduce heat to low; cover. After 15 minutes, stir it well and cover again. Cook for about 30 minutes and turn off heat; let it stand for 20 minutes without removing cover.

Remove from heat. Remove bay leaf, cinnamon sticks and 3 cloves. Stir in fried nuts and chopped coriander leaves. Sprinkle with lime juice according to taste.


And last, but not least, you have to have some Naan to go with your meal. This recipe is great, although I recommend actually rolling out your dough before you fry it, to get it flat. I just sort of smashed it with my hand and it did not have the same desired effect!

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten

2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons minced garlic (optional)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.
2. Punch down dough, and knead in garlic. Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
3. During the second rising, preheat grill to high heat.
4. At grill side, roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill. Place dough on grill, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from grill, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared.


I have a curry vegetable recipe that we love as well, but its in the Betty Crocker cookbook, not online :( I'll email it to you!

I hope Katie's family enjoys!


  1. Vince has some Indian neighbors that live in the apartment below him. He has had to complain 4 or 5 times about the stench in his apartment because of their ethnic cooking. His apartment complex has a rule in place that prohibits certain foods from being cooked. His apartment literally makes me gag when I walk in it after a weekend of their cooking. Ironically, when I eat at Indian food restaurants, they do not smell like that at all. What do you think they're using for that horrific odor that seems into all his clothes, carpet, etc., one floor up?

  2. Anonymous3:51 PM

    Those sound delicious! By the way, I've tagged you on my blog!

  3. The roast one sounds great!

    As far as your friend's(Dodi) comment about the odor, I think it may be the people use too much curry. I had the same problem with a neighbor and it was "gagifying".

  4. Awesome!!! Thanks for sharing!


Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting!

Popular Posts