Squash Sweet Potato Soup with Turmeric Trail’s Madras Masala
Everything about this soup screams Fall but the flavors will take you to the sultry south – in India that is. Redolent with a spice blend that balances robust chiles, nutty yellow peas, and perfumed but slightly bitter fenugreek seeds, this masala creates manna in every spoonful. There are so many varieties of squashes out there – use whichever is readily available.

Serves 6
Vegan; Gluten-free

1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
3 large cloves garlic
1 to 2 fresh green Serrano chiles, stems discarded
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 cups diced squash (Hubbard, pumpkin, acorn)
2 cups diced sweet potatoes
6 to 8 medium to large fresh curry leaves (optional)
2 teaspoons Turmeric Trail’s Madras Masala
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt
4 cups water or low-sodium vegetable stock
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup diced peeled tomatoes (including juices)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leave and tender stems

1. Plunk the onion, garlic, and chiles into a food processor. Pulse the mélange to mince it, making sure you do not let the blades run incessantly.
2. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Scrape the onion medley into the pan and stir-fry the pungent-smelling mix until light brown in color, about 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the squash, sweet potatoes, the optional curry leaves, Turmeric Trail’s Madras Masala, and salt. Stir fry the vegetables to roast them a bit, 3 to 5 minutes.
4. Pour in the water and scrape the bottom to release any browned bits of onion, spices, and squash, effectively deglazing the pan. Cover the pan and lower the heat to medium, allowing the contents to simmer, stirring it occasionally, until the vegetables are fork-tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
5. Pour in the coconut milk and stir in the tomatoes. Let them warm up, uncovered, 2 to 4 minutes.
6. Transfer half the pan’s contents into a blender jar and puree the mix. Pour it into a serving bowl. Repeat with the remaining squash and liquid, adding the puree to the first batch.
7. Ladle the soup into individual bowls and serve sprinkled with the cilantro.


Yogurt “Cheesecake” with Turmeric Trail’s Chai Masala
Many moons ago when I was visiting Calcutta in eastern India, home to India’s confections, I happened to stick a spoon in a small clay pot filled with something creamy called bhapa doi at a well-known sweetshop. It was love at first bite. Decadent, velvet-smooth, devoid of any spice, it appeased my cheesecake urges instantly. Imagine my surprise when I found out there was neither any eggs nor any cream cheese in it. Just sweetened house made condensed milk and plain yogurt baked until set. So here’s my rendition, equally simple with my signature chai masala.

Makes 6 individual “cheesecakes”
Lacto-vegetarian; Gluten-free

2 cups Greek-style plain yogurt
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon Turmeric Trail’s Chai Masala
Seasonal fresh fruit (cut-up in bite-size pieces) for topping each ramekin (see tip)

1. Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 350°F.
2. Make sure you have six small ramekins (or similar-sized bowls) (each about 3 1/2-inches in diameter and 2-inches deep) placed in a rectangular baking dish (like a cake pan) large enough to contain them without overcrowding. Pour hot tap water around the ramekins into the baking dish enough to come up to about halfway up the sides of the ramekins to create your water bath to keep the yogurt moist while baking.
3. Whisk together the yogurt, condensed milk, and cardamom in a medium-size bowl. Pour this finger-licking batter into and evenly among the individual ramekins, making sure you fill them at least half way. You probably will have enough to fill the bowls three quarters of the way. Sprinkle each of them with a light dusting of nutmeg.
4. Bake them on the center rack, uncovered, until a knife inserted in its individual centers comes clean, about 25 minutes.
5. Remove the baking dish with the ramekins from the oven and allow them to cool at room temperature. Chill them at least two hours or even overnight.
6. Serve them topped with the cut-up fresh fruit.

For an added dimension, toss your fresh fruit with a tablespoon of powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of Turmeric Trail’s Chai Masala.


Mac and Cheese with Turmeric Trail’s Madras Masala
Everyone’s comfort food in America, this bowl of bubbly, cheesy addiction elevates mac and cheese to appease even the sophisticated adult at the table. The haunting aromas from the blend are enough to draw your household to that table before you can say, “dinner is served.”

Serves 4
Lacto-vegetarian; Gluten-free (if you use gluten-free macaroni)

3 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons Ghee or butter
1 cup finely chopped red onion
2 to 3 fresh green Serrano chiles, stems discarded, finely chopped (do not remove the seeds)
2 tablespoons chickpea flour
1 tablespoon Turmeric Trail’s Madras Masala
2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon coarse kosher or sea salt
2 cups shredded cheese (a mix of cheddar, jack, mozzarella, Colby or anything else)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems

1. Bring a large saucepan filled more than halfway with water to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. If you like salting your water for boiling pasta, by all means use as much as you need at this juncture. Add the macaroni to it and bring it to a boil again, stirring once or twice. Continue boiling vigorously uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are cooked just right (tender but not mushy), 8 to 10 minutes.
2. While the noodles cook make the cheese sauce. Heat the ghee in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the nutty-smelling clarified butter appears to shimmer, stir in the onion and chiles. Stir-fry the medley until the onion is light brown around the edges and the chiles smell pungent, 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Sprinkle in the chickpea flour and stir it in. Roast the flour light brown, stirring constantly to allow the flour to cook evenly, and the aromas that waft from the pan to smell nutty, about 1 minute. Now sprinkle in the spice blend and stir it in. Pour in the half-and-half, a little at a time, whisking it in quickly to make sure there are no lumps. Bring the sauce to a boil, still uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens a bit, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the salt, cilantro, and the cheese; turn off the heat.
4. By now the macaroni should be cooked just right. Drain the noodles giving the colander a good shake. Transfer this back to the pan you cooked them in. Scrape the lip-smacking cheese sauce (trust me you will stick a finger in while you are making it to taste it) over the noodles and stir the two together to coat the ho-hum pasta with the zesty blanket.
5. Spoon or scrape the mac and ooey gooey cheese into a serving dish. Serve warm and bubbly, oozing with chiles-heat and addiction that brings out the sophisticated toddler in all of us.

1. You can easily turn this into more of a substantial pasta meal by folding in slightly steamed broccoli or asparagus, ribbons of fresh spinach or mustard greens, and yes cooked meats too (like that left-over oven-roasted chicken with a few pieces of meat stuck to the bone, a picked-over turkey after the holiday gathering, maple-glazed ham, crispy bacon, or browned ground beef.)
2. There are many versions of mac and cheese that are baked, especially with a bread crumb crust on top. I usually don’t care for that since the starchy pasta has a tendency to suck up all that sauce and render the meal dry. You would almost have to double the sauce quantity and bake it to leave behind some succulence that makes your mouth happy.


Spiced Lamb Chops with Turmeric Trail’s Mumbai Masala
This elegant, blow-your-socks-off-delicious offering sets the bar for an alternative approach to your holiday table. Fortunately nowadays one can purchase racks of lamb at most supermarkets. If you do not want the hassle of cutting your own chops from the rib rack, have the butcher do it for you. This is a great dish to serve even as an appetizer at the buffet table because it requires no silverware — your guests can hold the convenient rib bone and munch away on the tender, succulent, full-flavored meat. Licking your fingers is perfectly acceptable – in fact, it’s the best way to relish every bit of lingering flavor.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons Turmeric Trail’s Mumbai Masala
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon coarse kosher or sea salt
1 pound rack of lamb (from ribs), cut into chops
2 tablespoons mustard oil or canola oil

1. Thoroughly combine Turmeric Trail’s Mumbai Masala, garlic, and salt in a small bowl, stirring to make a slightly damp (and potent) rub. Sprinkle and press in the rub on the lamb chops on both sides and refrigerate, covered, for at least 10 minutes or as long as overnight if you wish.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the lamb chops, rub and all, to the hot oil and sear each side until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to a serving platter and serve warm.


Smashed Potatoes with Turmeric Trail’s Madras Masala
When I was growing up in a vegetarian family, this curry was our hands-on favorite. It was a perfect accompaniment to puffy fried breads (pooris) on long train journeys or on daylong picnics to one of the beaches that dot Mumbai’s coast. Pleasantly hot, potent, and highly addictive, these smashed potatoes make you see red in more ways than one.

Serves 4

1 pound russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, diced, and submerged in a bowl of cold water to prevent browning
2 tablespoons Ghee (clarified butter) or 1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon Turmeric Trail’s Madras Masala
1 teaspoon coarse kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems

1. Fill a medium-size (or larger) saucepan with water and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Drain the potatoes and add them to the boiling water. Bring it to a boil again. Lower the heat to medium and cook, partially covered, until the potatoes are very tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain the potatoes. Transfer them to a medium-size bowl and smash them. You may use a potato ricer if you wish.
2. Fold in the remaining ingredients and serve warm.


Spinach Greens with Garlic and Raisins with Turmeric Trail’s Garam Masala
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, mustard greens and collard greens are called saag in Hindi, India’s national language. You can use any of these greens in this recipe. When tossed with golden raisins, an extremely simple stir-fry of fresh greens becomes sweetly intriguing.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 small to medium red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
5 medium cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 bag (12 ounces) washed fresh spinach, chopped
1 teaspoon Turmeric Trail’s Garam Masala
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Heat oil in wok or deep 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add raisins; stir-fry about 1 minute or until raisins plump up.
2. Add onion and garlic; stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes or until onion is golden brown.
3. Mix in spinach; toss 2 to 3 minutes or until wilted.
4. Stir in Turmeric Trail’s Garam Masala and salt and serve warm.


Avocado and Pomegranate Guacamole with Turmeric Trail’s Mumbai Masala
I served this at our Thanksgiving table and all my friends uttered “sexy!” It was, I agreed, with that light green background of buttery avocado perked up with plump, juicy, and succulent teardrops of ruby red pomegranate seeds. All it needed was a kettle-cooked potato chip for bliss and I was all too happy to provide that – a whole bagful that disappeared in eight minutes. I’m not one to keep track of time, really.

Makes 2 cups (brimming)
Vegan; Gluten-free

1/4 cup firmly packed fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
1 teaspoon coarse kosher or sea salt
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
3 large cloves garlic
1 to 2 fresh green Serrano chiles, stems discarded
2 teaspoons Turmeric Trail’s Mumbai Masala
3 large ripe Haas avocados, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (see tips)
1/2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds or red raspberries (see tips)

1. Pulse the cilantro, lime juice, salt, onion, garlic, and chiles in a food processor bowl. Using the pulsing action, mince the mélange. Letting the blades run incessantly will create an unwanted chunky puree, full of liquid.
2. Scrape this into a medium-size bowl and fold in Turmeric Trail’s Mumbai Masala, avocado, and pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately. If you are planning on serving it later, press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the dip’s surface, making sure there are no air bubbles in-between the wrap and the surface (this slows down the dip from oxidizing and turning a wee bit black.) You can store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.


Chai: Darjeeling Tea with Turmeric Trail’s Chai Masala
There is no escaping this ubiquitous beverage that forms the basis of every social gathering in India. Chai is Hindi for “tea,” so adding the word tea after chai, as is so often seen in coffee and tea houses in this country, is redundant. Chai is always brewed in milk, giving it that rich creamy flavor. Oftentimes, chai is sweetened with cane sugar or jaggery, a raw form of sugar, making it an ideal marriage partner to many an Indian dessert. Chai is never served during a meal, but when brewed with spices presents digestive relief after. When served with spicy savories, chai offers soothing relief.

Makes 4 cups

2 cups water
1/4 cup loose Darjeeling tea leaves or 5 tea bags black tea
2 cups whole or 2% milk
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Trail’s Chai Masala
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk or 4 teaspoons sugar

1. Heat water to a rapid boil in 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add tea leaves; simmer 2 to 4 minutes to blend flavors.
2. Stir in remaining ingredients except sweetened condensed milk. Heat to boiling, taking care not to let milk boil over.
3. Stir in condensed milk. Strain tea into cups.