What Is Garam Masala?
Garam Masala is an aromatic and complex flavored spice blend. “Garam” in Hindi translates to warm or warming or hot in English. The word “Masala” means a blend of spices. Hence the term garam masala means a warming spice blend – which is true since the whole spices added in making garam masala are warming and heaty. Thus adding this spice blend in your food does make the body warm. The spices also are good for the tummy as they have both medicinal and digestive properties.
Garam Masala Variations
There are regional variations of this ground spice mix in India. The proportions and types of spices used are different. The recipe of Punjabi garam masala uses more coriander seeds and aromatic spices. Like Punjabi garam masala must have coriander seeds and some even add dry ginger powder , Kashmiri garam masala typically contains fennel seeds, and Bengali garam masala contains just three C (cinnamon, cardamom and cloves), Khandeshi (Maharashtrian) garam masala (contains two types of dry red chillies), South Indian garam masala (coriander seeds, chillies and fenugreek sometimes) and so on. In fact, every home has their unique secret blend of garam masala.
Garam Masala Vs Curry Powder
Garam masala is totally different than curry powder. Authentically and traditionally in India, curry powder has never been made or used in any recipes. In fact most Indians are not even aware of what curry powder is, but all Indian homemakers will know about garam masala. Curry powder is the invention of british traders. Curry powder is a blend of many aromatic and sweet spices as compared to garam masala which has lesser spices. Curry powder also has turmeric powder in it. Curry powder is also mild with sweet notes unlike garam masala which is strong and intense.
Tips For Making Garam Masala
- Check all spices individually for stones, husks, mold, fungi or hidden insects and discard the bad ones.
- Try and source the best quality of spices. This is for your home, so why not the best!
- Always use fresh spices.
- Sun dry or roast the spices in a pan or oven before grinding.
- Make in smaller batches as the below.
- If you are making a bigger batch to save time and effort, reserve 3/4th of the masala in a ziplock pouch or a airtight glass jar and freeze it.
- Always keep small quantities in a bottle in your kitchen for daily use. Store the rest in the fridge. This will ensure that the aroma doesn’t fade away.
Ingredients: Makes 200 gms approx.
75 gms coriander seeds,
50 gms cumin seeds,
25 gms pepper,
10 gms green cardamom,
10 gms clove,
10 gms cinnamon,
5 gms bay leaves,
5 gms fennel seeds,
5 gms black cardamom,
5 gms star anise,
5 gms mace (javitri),
1 whole nutmeg
- Dry roast each item individually. Roasting heightens the flavours of the spices.
- Allow them to cool down completely.
- Put all the spices together in the grinder and powder them finely.
- Sift the powder to get a superfine texture.
- Store in an air tight container to retain the flavours.
I love the beautiful blend of all the spices. Each ingredient has its importance and flavour. Its exotic!!!