Garam Masala Recipe, the essential ingredient of Indian Kitchen | Recipe for the perfect Garam Masala for your Indian curries.
Garam Masala is one of the most popular Indian Spice Mix that is added to enhance the flavor of Indian Curries and many other dishes.
Garam means Hot and Masala is Spice. The Hot or Garam doesn't signify the temperature but the body heat that is generated with the ingredients used in this spice mix. It is commonly known to increase the body heat, and which in turn increases the body metabolism.
Till a few years back, in north India garam masala was used mostly during winters as the spices used in it increase the body heat.In summers due to hot weather and high heat it was used in limited curries. But, nowadays Garam Masala is used in almost all the North Indian Curries especially the restaurant style. Not only in curries garam masala can also be add to cakes, cookies(Garam Masala Cookies) or energy balls for a strong flavor.
There are many dishes on the blog where I have used only garam masala to maintain the authentic flavour of dish. too many spices can spoil the real taste of a dish. Like in Rajma Masala, Mixed Vegetable Pulao, Dhuli Masoor ki Dal(Red Lentils), Dal Makhani I add only garam masala. Try it my way and you will know!!
Garam Masala vs Curry Powder
Many people confuse Garam Masala with Curry Powder. As per my knowledge and various online resources, curry powder was not used in Indian Cuisine. It is a blend of North Indian and South Indian spice mixes. It was made famous by the British Cooks and was taken to Britain and other Western countries with them as widely became popular due the fragrant blend of spices.
One difference is that Turmeric is used in curry powder but not in garam masala. At least in my family no one adds it.
Garam Masala has been used in North India since ancient times. The combination of spices in Garam Masala was used in treatment of various ailments. Few of the health benefits of Garam Masala..
- It is anti-inflammatory
- Generates body heat and keeps body warm in winters
- Lowers down the cholesterol
- Stimulates the secretion of saliva and promotes digestion
- Eliminates bloating from abdomen and reduces abdominal pain.
- Also known to help in worm infestation.
- Many of the spices used it are known to slow down the aging and also aid in weight loss.
Spices in Indian Cuisine- Masala Dabba
Spices have been used in India since ancient time in cooking and even in Ayurveda. Spice trade from India flourished all over the world and we Indians take pride in introducing the spices to the world.
One hand spices add flavour and take a simple dish to another level, the use wrong spices and the wrong measurement can spoil the taste and texture of the dish. So proper knowledge of which spice to use and how much to use is very important.
Go anywhere in world and in almost every Indian home you will find a Masala Dabba or Spice Box. This one box contains 5-6 essential spices that are used in everyday cooking. It is this magic box that creates the everyday flavours.
Masala Dabba is this week's theme for our foodies facebook group. This wonderful theme was suggested by Preethi who blogs at Preethi's Cuisine. She has prepared Manglorean Spice Mix Kundapur Masala Powder that is sued in Mangalorean Cuisine..also check out this cool raita with Raw mangoes from her blog.
I am linking the quintessential Indian Spice mix Garam Masala to the theme.
How to Make Garam Masala
Most of the spice mix in Indian homes are made using Dry Whole spices. The spices are dried in sun for 1-2 days then lightly roasted and grind to fine powder.
The practice of roasting dry spices to make mix, has been continued since olden times. One reason that my elders tell me, as during those times the spices were picked up from markets, washed then sun dried. Any kind of moisture or humidity will give damp masala that won't stay for long. Also, aoasting kills any kind of worms or bugs' eggs if present.
Roasted spices are then ground to fine powder and then packed in airtight jars or bottles. It stays good for about 2-3 months and even longer when refrigerated.
There is no 1 standard recipe for Garam Masala or any of the spice mixes . Each family has their own versions. And every recipe is different from the other. Homemade Masala recipes in Indian homes are passed down from one generation to the other and each family may have a different set of spices with different measurements.
The recipe has been passed down from my grandmom to my mom, aunts and from them to our generation. We make it this way.
It is mildly spiced. If you want a more spicier version, you can add a tsp of additional black pepper to it.
One important thing to always keep in mind while using garam masala. It can make or spoil the flavor of the dish. Always use it in balance in curries.
List of Spices used in Garam Masala
You can make garam masala easily with readily available spices in your pantry. Most the spices are easily available in our pantry. In case you do not have any of the whole spices you can add powdered spices to the masala mix.
Black Cardamom/Moti or Kali Eilachi
Black Peppercorns/Kali Mirch
Star Anise/ Chakar Phool
Bay Leaves/Tej Patta
Dried Ginger Root/Snooth
In the recipe, I skipped long pepper, nutmeg and dried ginger (powder) as I ran out of and it was also not available at the nearby store..
Pipali or Long Pepper is a very strong spice and has hot potency. Avoid it in summers.I have skipped it as it is not available in the store. Use 1 tsp in the whole masala mix if adding.
I suggest you to first try the recipe in small amount. It is perfect for those who like mild heat or spice. Then you can adjust the spices as per your preference.
Checkout the Recipe Card for the measurement of spices.
Roast all the seeds, black peppercorns, cloves together.
Roast bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, black cardamom, star anise and mace together .
Cool completely and then grind to a fine powder.
I used my coffee grinder to grind masala.
- Pan to roast/toast spices
- Mixer/Coffee Grinder
- 1/4 Cup Coriander Seeds
- 1/4 Cup Cumin Seeds
- 1 tbsp Black Peppercorns
- 3-4 Bay Leaves
- 4-5 Black Cardamom Pods
- 2 2" Cinnamon Sticks(small)
- 1 tbsp Cloves
- 2 tbsp Fennel Seeds
- 1-2 tsp Green Cardamom pods optional
- 3-4 Mace
- 1 Nutmeg or Powder 1 tsp
- 2 Star Anise
- 1 tsp Long Pepper/Pipali optional(do not use black pepper then)
- 1-2 tsp Ginger Powder or Dry Ginger(1-2)(optional)
- Lightly roast cumin seeds, coriander seeds, black pepper, cloves and fennel seeds together. Once aroma starts to come , take out in a bowl or dish and keep aside. Takes about 3-4 mins. on low flame.
- Toast lightly bay leaves, cinnamon stick, star anise,mace and black cardamom very lightly for few seconds..
- Do no roast green cardamom.
- You can also dry all the spices in bright sunlight a day before making the masala.
- Use a spice grinder or coffee grinder( as I did) , grind to a fine powder.
- Grind bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, star anise and black cardamoms together.
- Grind rest of the spices and then mix all grind well.
- Transfer in a clean and dry glass jar bottle and close the lid tightly.
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