Garam Masala is a mixture of spices, and the combinations vary with each household. It is basically Persian in origin, but is now indispensable in North Indian cuisine. “Garam” means “hot” and “Masala” means “spices”, so the mixture of spices are traditionally those that heat the body according to the ayurvedic system of medicine. They are all very aromatic as well. Commercial mixtures often cut down on the more expensive cardamom and fill up with the cheaper coriander and cumin. So, if you can, make your own (see below).
Generally, but not always, Garam Masala is sprinkled over food towards the end of the cooking to retain its aroma. The garam masala spices can also be used whole.
Garam Masala Blends
Dry roast all ingredients separately in a kadhai, wok or frying pan. Mix together and store in an air-tight container in the fridge. When required, grind the whole masala to a fine powder in a spice grinder or mortar, and use as directed. Store in an airtight jar.
- (Hyderabadi) Cinnamon, Peppercorns, Cloves, Green Cardamom, Bayleaf, Black Cardamom, Nutmeg, Mace, Fennel Seeds.
- (Anglo-Indian) Cinnamon 5 cm piece, Peppercorns 1 Tblspn, Cloves 1 Tblspn, Green Cardamom shelled, 2 tspn, Nutmeg, grated, 0.5 tspn, Mace powder 0.5 tspn. Mix, store in an airtight container and grind as required.
- (Dhansakh) Cinnamon, Peppercorns, Cloves, Green Cardamom, Cumin Seeds, Ajwain, Peppercorns, dried fenugreek leaves, Coriander Seed, curry leaves, bay leaves, Black Cumin Seeds.
- (Madhur Jaffrey’s) Cinnamon (5 cm), Peppercorns (1 tspn), Cloves (1 tspn), Green Cardamom (1 Tblspn), Black Cumin Seeds (1 tspn), Nutmeg (0.33 pod), Mace (1 curl)
- (Punjabi) Coriander Seed (5 Tblspn), Cumin Seeds (3 Tblspn), Peppercorns (Black, 2.5 Tblspn), Black Cardamom (2.5 Tblspn), Green Cardamom (1.5 Tblspn), Cinnamon (5 cm), Cloves (4 – 5), Nutmeg (0.2 pod)
From the A Note On Series
- On Chilli Powder, Cayenne Pepper and Paprika. Demystifying these Spices
- Spices: A Note on Chillies
- Spices: A Small Note on Cinnamon
- Spices: A small Note on Cloves.
- Ingredients: A Note on Coconuts, Young and Old, Cream, Milk and Water, Dessicated, Grated and Fresh
- Spices: A Note on Green Coriander and Coriander Seeds
- Spice Advice: A Note on Cumin – Brown and Black
- Ingredients: A Note on Curry, Curry Powder, and Curry Paste
- Ingredients: A Small Note on Dal, or Lentils
- Ingredients: A Short Note on Daikon Radish
- Ingredients: What to do with Olives