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Garam Masala, that essential Indian spice mix is much, much easier to make at home than you think.
Garam – Warm or Hot
Masala – Spice Mix
So, garam masala is a warming (not spicy) spice mix and can be used as a cooking ingredient, like a curry powder and also and more importantly, to add a final flourish to your finished dish, just before or after turning the heat off.
Each cook will have a different recipe for his or her garam masala, so you see, the advantage of making your own is not only will you be getting a potent, fresh blend but you’ll also be getting one tailored to your taste!
More nutmeg, less nutmeg, more cinnamon, less cinnamon, it really is a matter of taste; but one does of course need to be a little sensible here and not pile one ingredient in next to minuscule portions of others!
Now, another thing that I do is also to make up my garam masala mix according to the recipe I intend to use it in. For example, if I plan to use it for Biryani, I add some organic dried rose petals to the mix, as it enhances the overall aroma and flavour, because of course, garam masala is really a natural flavour enhancer, isn’t it?
Technically, your garam masala should keep in a clean jar in a cool place for months, like any other spice you have. However, just like all those spices, it’s potency will decrease the longer you keep it. So, I would suggest making little and often.
- seeds of 10 cardamom pods
- 1 black cardamom
- 2 bay leaves
- half tsp black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp coriander
- 5cm/2in piece cinnamon
- 1 tsp cloves
- a tiny piece of nutmeg
- dried ginger
- organic dried rose petals
- mustard seeds
- fennel seeds
- Dry roast all the ingredients in a frying pan on low heat for a couple of minutes. You know it's done when a strong, lovely aroma hits your nose, not a burnt one.
- Transfer to a plate and let cool immediately.
- Place in a food processor and blitz to a fine powder.
- Store in a clean jar, in a cool place like all your other spices.
Your garam masala will keep for months but like any other spice, its potency starts lessening with age. To make more, just double or triple the quantities. Have fun experimenting and making your own mix.