Garam Masala

Garam masala is the most popular Indian seasoning that will bring an incredible flavor to any dish. This spice blend can be made in just few minutes.
There is no one recipe for Garam Masala. The composition of garam masala differs regionally, with many recipes across the Indian subcontinent according to regional and personal taste, and none is considered more authentic than others. Most common ingredients of all the garam masala blends are cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, and black pepper though.

A typical Indian version of garam masala contains: fennel (saunf) black and/or white peppercorns (kali/safed mirch), cloves (laung), cinnamon (darchini), mace (outer covering of nutmeg) (javitri), black and green cardamom pods (elaichi), cumin (jeera), coriander seeds (dhania) and dried chilies.

The component of the blend are first roasted until they become aromatic releasing their essential oils and then ground together. According to the other method, the spices are not roasted or “cooked” but they are sun-dried to make them more dry and the ground. It makes the blend lightly more crisp.

Garam masala is deeper in color, sweeter in taste and spicier, compared to typical yellow curry powder - a result of the addition of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves and dried chilies.

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  • 2 tbsp cardamom seeds
  • 2 inch stick cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds (optional)
  • 10-15 cloves
  • 1-2 dry red chilies
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp grated nutmeg, powder (optional)

How to make Garam Masala:

  1. Preheat a small skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add all the spices and the bay leaves and toast shaking the skillet every few seconds until coriander and cumin turn reddish brown, the cloves, peppercorns and cardamom turn ash black, the cinnamon and bay leaves appear brittle and crinkly and the mixture is fragrant. (1 to 2 minutes)
  3. Immediately transfer the nutty smelling spices to plate to cool.
  4. Once they are cool to the touch, place them in a spice grinder and grind until the texture resembles ground black pepper.

The ground blend will be reddish brown and the aroma will be sweet and complex very different form that of the pre-toasted and post-toasted whole spices.

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