Masala refers to a spice blend that can be as simple as two or three ingredients, or a complex blend of ten or more ingredients. Indian traders introduced masala when they settled on African shores and it is used throughout the country to flavor soups and stews and as a marinade for meats.
¼ cup olive oil
One 3-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems
2 jalapeño peppers, remove some seeds for less heat
2 green onions, sliced, both green and white parts
1 tsp. cardamom seeds
1 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. kosher salt
Juice of 1 lime
2 lb. beef, such as top sirloin or tri-tip, cut into 2-inch cubes
To make the masala paste, place all ingredients except the beef into a blender or food processor (a mini-chopper is perfect for this task) and process until everything is blended well. This will be used to marinate the meat and does not have to be fully pureed until smooth.
Place the meat cubes into a large zip-lock bag and pour in the masala paste. Massage everything around so that all the meat is covered well and refrigerate for at least four hours before using.
Thread the meat cubes onto skewers and grill over medium-high heat for about three minutes on each side, for a total of about six minutes. You can also broil the skewers if you prefer, which will take about the same amount of time. The meat should be about medium-rare when you pull it off the grill or broiler, but it will continue to cook for several more minutes and rise in temperature to medium.
Notes and Instructions
Recipe contribution from Linda McElroy, adapted from: “The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa,” by Marcus Samuelsson
Photo credit: Linda McElroy