You could use peaches (or nectarines) at any stage of ripeness–the cooking time will be less the more ripe the fruit. Garam masala is a blend of toasted spices of Northern India origin. It is added to a dish near the end of cooking or sprinkled on the dish just before serving. I’ve included a quick version of the mixture that can be made at home. Rice, along with raita or plain yogurt are nice accompaniments.
1/3 c light vegetable oil
1-1/2 t whole cumin seeds
3/4 t fennel seeds, or anise, caraway or dill seeds
3 T shredded or minced fresh ginger
1-1/2 c chopped onions or scallions
2 – 3 fresh chilies, chopped, or 1/2 t red pepper flakes, or to taste
1-1/2 T ground coriander
2 T ground almonds
1-lb unripe, hard peaches, peeled, pitted and thickly sliced
1-1/2 c cooked garbanzo beans, drained
1 T lemon juice
1/4 c water or broth, if necessary
1/2 t garam marsala
salt, to taste
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add cumin and fennel seeds and cook, stirring, for 10 seconds or so, just until they darken some. Add the ginger and let sizzle for 10 to 15 seconds. Add the onion, turn down the heat, and stir to incorporate with the spices and ginger. Sauté onion, stirring frequently, for about 8 minutes. Add the chilies or red pepper flakes, ground coriander, and ground almonds and cook, stirring, for a couple of more minutes.
2. Add the peaches and toss to coat. Stir in the garbanzo beans and lemon juice. If the mixture seems too dry or thick, add up to a quarter cup of water or broth. Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes or until the peaches are cooked through. Stir in the garam marsala and salt. Serve.
Quick Garam Marsala:
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t ground coriander
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/2 t ground cardamom
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground cloves
1. Toast spices in a small skillet until fragrant, just a minute or two. Store tightly covered in a jar.