Garam masala inspires steak and rice dish

DINNER TONIGHT

August 16, 2006|By JOE GRAY | JOE GRAY,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Reading through cookbooks, and sometimes testing recipes, can be lots of fun. A recipe for garam masala from India with Passion, by Manju Malhi, caught my eye recently.

The traditional spice blend has many variations, "depending on the region and personal taste," he writes. Make a batch and keep it in the cupboard for inspiration.

In this recipe, that inspiration began with steak. I added onions, sauteed just enough to still have plenty of crunch, and some cooling yogurt and tart pineapple, and a new dish was born.

Joe Gray writes for the Chicago Tribune, which provided the recipe analysis.

Steak curry with onions and pineapple

Serves 4

2 boneless sirloin steaks, about 6 ounces each

1 teaspoon salt (divided use)

Freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 each, medium, diced: red onion, white onion

2 teaspoons garam masala, see note

1 container (6 ounces) plain yogurt

1 cup each, fresh: diced pineapple, chopped cilantro

rice, cooked according to package directions

Prepare grill for high heat; season steaks with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and pepper to taste. Grill, turning once, to desired doneness, about 6 1/2 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest on cutting board 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large, heavy skillet; add onions and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Cook until onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle garam masala over the onions; cook another 5 minutes. Cut steak into 1/2 -inch chunks; stir into the onions. Add yogurt and pineapple chunks; cook over low heat until warm, 3-5 minutes. Serve over rice; garnish with cilantro.

Note: To make the garam masala spice blend (adapted from a recipe in India with Passion, by Manju Malhi), heat a small skillet over medium heat; add 1 teaspoon whole cloves, 2 green cardamom pods, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and 6 black peppercorns. Cook, stirring, until aromatic, 30 seconds; remove from heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg; grind to a fine powder in spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.

Per serving: 293 calories, 14 grams fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 79 milligrams cholesterol, 21 grams carbohydrate, 20 grams protein, 650 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber

Menu suggestion

Steak curry with onions and pineapple

Steamed rice

Mango and red pepper salsa

Fresh apricots and sesame cookies

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