PERFECT HOMEMADE GARAM MASALA
Garam Masala is the holy grail of Indian food and like most things in Indian cooking there is no single recipe for making this spice blend. Every region/family has their own special recipe and I would like to share one that I have been using for years.
‘Garam’ in Hindi means warm and ‘Masala’ means spice mixture. Garam Masala is a fine balance of a number of ingredients where every spice adds a different dimension or flavour to the spice blend. It is never used in large quantities, so a small batch will last a long time. I always like to use garam masala as a garnishing spice and add it to the dish when it’s nearly cooked. This helps in enhance the flavour of dish as well as add beautiful aroma.
WHY IS IT GOOD FOR YOU?
Most of the individual spices that go into making this blend have their own unique anti-inflammatory or anti-bacterial properties. In fact, as per ancient Ayurveda, garam masala is used to provide the right balance of warmth and heat needed for optimal metabolism. Without it, our bodies become sluggish and accumulate toxins. Garam masala also helps with boosting immunity, assisting the digestive processes, alleviating pain and lowering blood sugar levels.
MYTHS – THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT GARAM MASALA
- Shop bought Garam Masala isn’t really good – that’s not always true but you have to be careful as some brands will try and use cheaper spices which dilute the aroma.
- Garam Masala is meant to be very hot – not really as you can control the heat by altering the quantity of hot spices like black peppercorn and black cardamom.
- Use good quality whole spices and buy in small quantities so you can make a fresh batch every time as ground spices lose aroma easily.
- Roasting spices on gentle heat releases their oils which enhances the flavor and aroma.
- Two spices that should be avoided while making garam masala are turmeric and chillies.
Whole coriander – 50gms
Cumin – 25gms
Cinnamon – 25gms
Green Cardamom – 12gms
Cloves – 12gms
Black Cardamom – 12gms
Caraway seeds – 5gms
Bay leaves – 2/3
Black pepper – 12gms
Mace – 5gms
Nutmeg – 1 (grated separately)
Star anise – 2/3
Place everything but the nutmeg and mace in a wide bottom pan and toast for about ten minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time to keep everything cooking evenly. When the ingredients have darkened slightly and give off a rich, toasty aroma, remove them from the pan and allow them to cool.
Grind the mixture in a spice or a coffee grinder along with mace. Lastly mix in the freshly grated nutmeg. Store in an airtight container away from heat.