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Tag: ginger (page 1 of 1)

Chai Masala

In this household, we greatly revere the daily cuppa of chai. After years of experimenting with chai masala recipes, I have finally concocted a formula that works, yayayay! So, here it is

5 tbsp dry ginger powder (soonth)
2 tbsp green cardamom
1 tbsp cloves
1 stick cinnamon
2 tbsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tbsp mace (javitri)

Roast the cardamoms (skin on), cloves, cinnamon, and peppercorns until lightly toasted. Once cool, grind the mix to a medium-fine powder. Mix in the dry ginger, nutmeg, and mace. Store in an airtight container.

Note: The cinnamon sticks I have at home measure under 3 inches in length.

Fresh Ginger Spice Cake

Fresh Ginger Spice Cake

Ginger is one of my favorite spices. I adore it in all forms. Fresh ginger is something I add to almost everything Indian I cook. Dal, khichdi, curries, soups… all of them get a generous addition of ginger – chopped or shredded. My daily cup of masala chai depends on fresh ginger for the zing and sharpness. Last India trip, I brought back to the U.S. a big knob of fragrant dried ginger (“chukkuh” in Malayalam). It liberally perfumed the plastic bag it came in. I add generous doses of dried ginger powder (“soonth”) to spice cookies and cakes. We are loyal consumers of all manner of herbal ginger teas (Yogi, Traditional Medicinals, Pukka, etc.)

I think I waited too long to make this cake, no?

Here is the original recipe. I have tweaked quantities and substituted ingredients in my version, so please read both recipes before you start baking!


80g fresh ginger, peeled
2/3 cup organic unsulphured molasses
1 cup raw cane sugar
1 cup olive oil
2 1/2 cups spelt flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup water
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 large eggs, at room temperature (I used Ener-G egg replacer)


  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a loaf pan with oil or non-stick spray.
  • Chop the ginger finely. Or you can use a mixer/grinder to shred it finely.
  • Combine the shredded ginger, molasses, sugar and olive oil in a large bowl.
  • Mix the flour, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper in another bowl.
  • Bring the water to boil in a saucepan, add baking soda. Stir the water into the molasses mixture.
  • Incorporate the dry ingredients in to the molasses mixture.
  • Add the egg replacer to the batter. Mix well until combined thoroughly.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for an hour until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. If the top of the cake starts browning before the cake is done, cover with a piece of aluminum foil and continue baking.
  • Let the cake cool for a good 30 minutes.
  • Cut into wedges, enjoy.


  • This cake is a beautiful blend of the sweet and spicy. The dark sweetness of the molasses perfectly complements the warm spices.
  • I used spelt flour in place of whole wheat flour.
  • The original recipe called for 120g of fresh ginger. However, the kind of fresh ginger we buy is very intense, so I reduced the quantity to 80g instead.
  • I used a loaf pan that was clearly the wrong size. The cake swelled up and started overflowing down the sides of the pan. The original recipe calls for a 9-inch springform pan or a 9inch x 3inch cake pan, neither of which I own. Well, the cake swelled like crazy, finally collapsing in the center. Next time, I will use a larger baking utensil.
  • I think this cake could benefit from the addition of dried cranberries and/or black raisins.

Simplest and Prettiest Turmeric Pickles

Turmeric is a member of the ginger family, an antiseptic, and a staple in Indian cooking. During winter, fresh turmeric is harvested, dried and powdered into a vibrant yellow powder, also called haldi in Hindi. I add a teaspoon or so of turmeric powder to almost every Indian dish I cook. It adds such a pretty color to dals and curries (and I use the word ‘curry’ in the Indian context – you knew that already, didn’t you?) and renders them utterly fragrant. The antiseptic/digestive properties don’t hurt either!

Mom makes turmeric pickles in winter. She makes them using white and yellow turmeric. These are possibly the simplest AND prettiest pickles you can ever find, believe me! I found a stack of both turmeric varieties at the local Indian store last week and got some home. Soaked them in water for a couple of hours, peeled them, cut into tiny slivers. Actually, I took the photographs and Dad did all the dirty work!


So pretty right? Dad is a master vegetable chopper, so skilled and graceful in his work. That’s what I call a real engineer… 🙂

Squeeze a liberal dose of lemon juice, add salt, mix well. You can also use lime juice if that’s your preference. Last year, when Mom made these pickles, she threw in some fresh green peppercorns as well. This year, she is captivated by the pink peppercorns, and so they’re part of the recipe.

Store the pickles in a glass container. They can be stored in the refrigerator indefinitely. If they appear too dry, add some lemon/lime juice, mix well.

These are pleasantly tangy pickles, not spicy or overly acidic. They go splendidly with rice dishes, pilafs, curries and other vegetable dishes. Go make a batch today… 🙂