Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Homemade Garam Masala Recipe

garam-masalaGaram Masala is almost always the secret magic ingredient that imparts most of the flavor to Indian food, and there's nothing like a homemade garam masala recipe! There are several recipes for curry powders, but this one is the most widely-used. A mix of several spices lightly roasted and ground into a fine powder, Garam Masala is much like all-spice, except with different flavors. This fragrant spice is best made fresh just before you begin cooking, but since most of us do not have the luxury of time, it works in our favor that Garam Masala can be stored for 3-4 months without losing its flavor and aroma! It is indeed very easy to make, and just adding a pinch will go a long way to give a lasting impression to your recipes. Every household has its own recipe, and here I share my mom's garam masala recipe, hoping that it will win you more accolades as a cook, just as it has done to me!

Garam Masala, which literally means "Hot and Spicy" is undoubtedly the heart of most Indian Cuisine, especially north indian and mughlai dishes. And almost every one has a "mom's garam masala recipe" to share. It is basically just a combination of different spices, and you can modify the basic recipe shown below to suit your taste by adding or omitting spices as required. It is best to add this spice towards the end of cooking your meal; and don't worry, unlike its name, this spice powder is more aromatic than spicy!

Ingredients
Makes about 4 tbsp of Spice Powder

1 tbsp cardamom seeds
1 2" long cinnamon stick
1 tsp black cumin (shahjeera)
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp black peppercorns
1/4 nutmeg
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp dried coriander seeds
1/2 tsp mace powder (javantari)
1 piece star anise
1 long bay leaf

Method
Roast all the aboe spices lightly on low-flame for about 2 mins. Now powder them in a clean, dry spice grinder until smooth. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

This Garam Masala can be added to any gravies or curries, and not just indian! The aromatic spices in this recipe add a subtle flavor to your dish. But remember to use this very sparingly, as it is very powerful in taste. Freshly ground garam masala can be stored for upto 3 months in an air-tight container in a cool, dry and dark place.

My mother has been my biggest inspiration in cooking, now surpassed by my husband. Upto this day, she deligently makes her signature garam masala and parcels it to me all the way from India, just so I wouldn't have to compromise on the taste of freshly-ground spices. If that doesn't convey love, what does?! So this post is dedicated to my mom, and I hope her recipe adds more "spice" to your life, just like it did to mine!:)

More Basic Recipes:
How To Make Paneer
Homemade Recipe for Marinara Sauce
Restaurant-Style Recipe for Indian Gravies

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