Purple Haze : 40 Days in my Drawers




Purple Haze, huh? When I first started doing my research for this piece and subsequent recipe, the only thing that came up was an illegal substance. Yikes!

However, when I went directly to the source of this 40 Days In My [spice] Drawers series, the Spiceologist Spice Block, I realized that it was quite simple a rub … easy!

Purple Haze

SO this one is another easy share. I chose to use this as a seasoning that complemented my daily asparagus and mushroom sautee. It is a sea salt seasoning, but it wasn’t overly salty. Instead it added a spunky sweet flavor that was quite yummy! The Spiceologists also recommend using it as a rub on chicken or corn, but I think next, I’ll try it over baked fish, in place of my normal smoked paprika.

Speaking of salt, what’s the deal with all of the varieties of salt, anyway? Is it just me, or do all of the options confuse you too?

Are you on Pinterest? Come follow my food boards .. which I call Soul Food. I drool every time I go through my pins to find a recipe. Do you have any food related pinterest boards? Link them up in the comments!

Smoked Paprika : 40 Days in my Drawers


Today’s post for the 40 days in my (spice) drawers is a bit apropos as today is the four year anniversary of the day I quit smoking. Smoked Paprika, get it?

Ok, maybe it’s a bit of a stretch, but it works out perfectly to celebrate my four years of clean lungs and at the same time, share a delicious way to infuse your normal with a bit of punch, without stressing yourself out at dinner prep time.

I started smoking when I was in my early teens and continued (heavily) smoking until 2010. I smoked over a pack of cigarettes per day for more than half of my life. So gross. It was hard to quit, I won’t lie, but I am so thankful that I am celebrating four years today! Cheers!

I can’t remember the first time I discovered smoked paprika but it has been a regularly stocked spice ever since. We sprinkle it on fish, chicken, rub it into beef, dash it over quartered onions (before baking – delic), and shake it on the top of our sauteed vegetables and I must admit, it’s on a subscription order from Amazon just so I don’t run out.

Smoked Paprika has a super warm taste with a hearty, smoky flavor that is hard to replicate with any other spice I’ve tasted. Do you have some in your cupboards? How do you use it? 

Garam Masala : 40 Days in my Spice Drawers creating Fruit Chaat

Since I promised in the blurb about Tandoor Cooking, you’ll be happy to know I’ve since posted the recipe for Chicken Malai Tikka and now THIS  is most likely my favorite. TODAY’S recipe (which so happens uses one of my favorite spice drawer items from my 40 Days series) WILL cause extreme salivation and your taste buds will beg you to make this delicious creation! Actually, to be honest, you may scratch your head after reading through the ingredients, but trust me and TRY this!

I have so much enjoyed experimenting with our new tandoor oven, after the original attempt at cooking Indian back in 2009 hasn’t quite prompted me to continue with the efforts. I find tandoor cooking much more satisfying and somehow MUCH simpler!  Of course, I still haven’t yet tried naan on my own, but I will soon when it’s time to post that recipe!



5 spoons mustard oil (or olive oil if the mustard oil is too strong for your liking)
3 spoons sugar
1 spoon crushed pepper
1 spoon black salt (we use Himalayan Pink Rock Salt)
3 spoons pomegranate seeds (although I always forget to buy these, so …)
1 spoon garam masala
1 spoon kosher / sea salt
1 spoon chili powder (deghi murg if you’re being specific)
3 spoons balsamic vinegar
1 spoon honey

Bell Pepper, Pineapple, Sweet Potato, Guava, Starfruit, Apple (our family simply prefers bell pepper and pineapple)

[Garam Masala is a blend of spices that is strong, but not spicy.  It typically includes black / white pepper, cloves, mace, cumin seeds, cardamom, nutmeg, star anise and coriander seeds]

Mix all of the ingredients together, add the fruit (cut into approximately 1-2″ squares or shapes) and let it sit for approximately 1-2 hours. Thread onto a skewer (using a piece of potato or onion at the end your skewer to prevent the fruit from sliding off) and cook for approximately 10 minutes.


Note : if you have kiddos who might find this too “spicy”, make the following adjustments : Reduce the garam masala to only a sprinkle, omit the deghi murgh or use olive oil instead of mustard oil

 40 DAYS

Chicken Malai Tikka

I wrote recently about our Tandoor Cooking Party in Delhi, India and promised some recipes.  First up? Chicken Malai Tikka.

Now, realize that we transcribed the recipes as the chef explained the process, so there is some room for potential error. Like when he said “1 teaspoon of salt” it actually is closer to 1 tablespoon.  It seems to me though that since most of the measuring concerns spices, you can play around and adjust, and experiment!


For the purposes of this recipe though, one heaping spoon is equivalent to 1 Tablespoon.

 Chicken Malai Tikka

Blend all below items into a paste for Marinade #1 :
5 slices amul cheese (processed cheese)
2 heaping spoons green chile
1/2 heaping spoon white pepper
1/2 heaping spoon green cardamom powder
30 grams cashews
1 heaping spoon salt
4 coriander stems


Marinate 1/2 kg of chicken, cut into large cubes (big enough to not fall apart on a skewer) and sprinkle a large spoonful of salt over all, as well as mixing in 3 heaping spoons of mixed ginger and garlic paste. Marinate for ONE hour and then drain any excess water.  

Add 4-5 heaping spoons of fresh cream to the #1 marinade.  Also add 2 heaping spoons of hung curd (I just use regular greek yogurt), salt to taste and white pepper plus black cumin (1/2 heaping spoon of each)

[hung curds in India, is yogurt that has been placed in cheesecloth or a very fine mesh colander and left to sit until all of the liquid has drained] … interesting to note : the salt in the marinade provides a breakdown in the meat in order to let the marinade penetrate and tenderize the meat! The cream and yogurt in the marinade is what helps the chicken retain its moisture when being cooked at such high temperatures!]


Add chicken and marinate for 5 hours before skewering and cooking.  Place in tandoori oven for approximately 8-15 minutes (depending on how hot your tandoor is!) or until chicken is cooked through.

Now, I can just imagine the question … do I HAVE to own a tandoor oven to make these recipes?  According to a quick google search I just did, the answer is NO!  The reason a tandoor works is because of the high temperatures it can achieve, so a very hot oven (500° F) or a very hot grill appropriately mimics the tandoor.  

I’d love to hear if any of you without tandoor ovens try these recipes with an oven or grill, and how they turn out!

Soon, I’ll share an amazing recipe for Fruit Chaat !!