Spice Mixes (Garam Masala)

1 Jan

Garam Masala is a blend of ground spices commonly used in Pakistani and Indian cooking. The literal meaning is ‘hot (or warm) spice’. If you like cooking Indian food you really need to make your own garam masala or marsala. It is easy to find in shops but buying ready ground spices is never a good idea, as so much of the flavour is lost. Shop bought garam masala is particularly bad, it has little flavour and a texture like sawdust, so what’s the point when you can easily make your own.

Garam Masala can be used during cooking, but unlike many spices, it is often added at the end of cooking, so that the full aroma and flavour of the freshly ground spices is not lost. There are many variations of the mix but most traditional mixes use just cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg/mace, black pepper and cardamoms. What you do need is an electric grinder, I use an old coffee mill, or a pestle and mortar and plenty of elbow grease.
Garam Masala I 
1 tsp cardamom seeds
 2 tsp cloves
 2 tbsp cumin seed
 2 tbsp corriander seed
 3 dried bayleaves
 3″ stick cinnamon
 1 tbsp black pepper

Garam Masala II 
1 tbsp green cardamom pods
 3 inch stick cinnamon
 2 tsp black pepper corns
 3-5 black cardamom pods
 1/4 nutmeg grated
 1 tsp whole cloves
 1 tsp black cumin seeds
 Dry roast the spices in a heavy skillet until aroma rises, cool slightly then grind in a coffee grinder.

Madhur Jaffrey’s Garam Masala 
1 tbsp cardamon seeds
 1-2 inch stick cinnamon
 1 tsp black peppercorns
 1 tsp black cumin seeds
 1 tsp whole cloves
 1/4 of a nutmeg grated
 Grind the spices to a very fine powder Once ground store in a clean airtight jar, away from sunlight. The ground spice mix will keep for two months or so before the flavour starts to deteriorate.

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