Garam Masala ~ Indian curry spice

>> Wednesday, July 8, 2009

garam masala homemadeSpices are the most important ingredient in Indian cuisine. One of those spices or rather spice mixture you'll come across most often in Indian recipes is Garam Masala. I've come across so many variations that I get the feeling that every family or region has their own unique recipe. These days you can find ready made mixtures in virtually any store. But the commercially prepared doesn't even come close to the aromatic freshly ground home made Garam Masala. Ground or crushed spices don't have the same aromas as their whole counterparts, ground spices have a shorter shelf life than whole and generally whole spices are cheaper. Also some of the lower quality curry brands will substitute cheaper spices for the more expensive ones like cardamom or nutmeg.

This combination of 9 spices is what has worked best for me, and since it doesn't include chili it works well for people that don't want spicy curries because you can decide how much "kick" you want it to have later.

home made curry powder
Spice you'll need:
2 TBS. coriander seeds
4 TBS. cumin seed
1 TBS. black peppercorns
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks or 1 TBS of ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. green cardamom seed(measured after you remove the shell)
2 bay leaves

You will also need a pan, a mortar and pestle or coffee bean grinder or spice grinder.

1. Warm the pan on the stove over medium low heat, then add all of your whole spices to dry roast for a couple of minutes. Just until the spices start to release their fragrance be careful not to burn them.
2. Then you will transfer the spices from the pan to a dish to cool off for a few minutes. Now you can peel the cardamom and throw out the shells.

mortar and pestle curry3. Add all of your spices to your mortar or coffee/spice grinder. I like to use a mortar and pestle to easily control how fine I want the mixture. Now time to use those muscles and start grinding the spices.

You've just made your first Garam Masala and by now your kitchen and house will come alive with all the wonderful smells. The slight sweetness from the cinnamon, the spiciness of the pepper and cloves, a hint of citrus from the coriander seeds, a little lemony scent from the cardamom. Go ahead taste it, now tell me that doesn't taste 100 times better than the prepackaged stuff?, not even a comparison.

You'll get hooked on making your own mixture, once you see the difference in your curries. You can double , triple or quadruple this recipe to have extra to store ~ just remember the ground spices will start to loose their freshness. Lots of curry recipes coming ......

aromatic fragrant spice mixtures


Padmaja August 29, 2009 at 10:25 PM  

Your blog looks awesome. Indian recipes garam masala is most important ingredient. May be i will try to prepare garam masala.

Nancy August 31, 2009 at 4:58 PM  

Hi Padmaja,
Thanks, Yes if you do try my recipe please come back and tell me how it worked out for you:)


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