Garam Masala Recipe, the essential ingredient of Indian Kitchen | Recipe for the perfect Garam Masala for your Indian curries.
About the Recipe
Garam Masala is one of the most popular Indian Spice Mix that we add to enhance the flavor of Indian Curries and many other dishes.
Garam means Hot and Masala is Spice. 'Hot' here doesn't signifies the temperature but the body heat which it generates due to the ingredients used in this spice mix. It is increases the body heat, and which in turn increases the body metabolism.
Till a few years back, in north India this spice mix 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 it is used in almost all the North Indian Curries especially the restaurant style. Not only in curries you can also add it 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. I this spice mix only and any other spice mix except red chilli powder, like in Rajma, Mixed Vegetable Pulao, Dhuli Masoor ki Dal(Red Lentils), Dal Makhani . 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 never a part of in Indian Cuisine. It is a blend of North Indian and South Indian spice mixes. It was made famous by the British Cooks who took it to Britain and other Western countries. There it widely became popular due the fragrant blend of spices. and since it was used in curries, it became popular as curry masala.
One difference is that Turmeric is used in curry powder but not in garam masala. No one adds it at least in my family.
Benefits and uses of Garam Masala
Garam Masala is used in North India since ancient times. The combination of spices in this masala were used in treatment of various ailments. Few of it's health benefits:
- 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.
- It also helps in worm infestation.
- Many of the spices used in it are known slow down the aging and also aid in weight loss.
Homemade Spice mixes
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 dry roasting the spices to make mix, is followed 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, roasting 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 this homemade 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 grand mom to my mom, aunts and from them to our generation. We make it this way only.
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 about this masala is that 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 this masala at home easily with readily available spices in your pantry. In case you do not have any of the whole spices you can add powdered spices to the masala mix.
- Coriander Seeds/Dhania
- Cumin Seeds/Jeera
- Fennel Seeds/Saung
- Green Cardamom
- Black Cardamom/Moti or Kali Eilachi
- Black Peppercorns/Kali Mirch
- Star Anise/ Chakar Phool
- Cinnamon Stick/Dalchini
- Bay Leaves/Tej Patta
- Long Pepper/Pipali
- Dried Ginger Root/Snooth
Substitutions in the recipe
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. Later you can adjust the spices as per your preference.
Checkout the Recipe Card for the measurement of spices.
Easy steps to make Garam Masala
- Roast all the seeds, black peppercorns, cloves together.
- Roast bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, black cardamom, star anise and mace together .
- Cool completely, grind to fine powder.
- I used my coffee grinder to grind masala.
Other Spice mixes from the blog
- 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.
Do try this Homemade Garam Masala at home and make your everyday or restaurant style curries more special!!
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