Sunday, August 25, 2019

Garam Masala (Homemade Spice Mix W/Cinnamon, Cloves, Cardamom, etc)

Garam Masala is a very useful spice mix to keep in your pantry if you like to prepare a variety of complex curries which have Garam Masala as one of the essential ingredients. Garam Masala is used to flavor vegetable curries, various beans/lentil dishes, rice/grains and breads.

Although roasting is not necessary, most garam masalas are made with roasted spices. It is perfectly fine to use raw spices as they have their own unique flavor profiles. Raw and roasted spices contibute to different flavors and taste. So, the big question is .....

Roast or not? If you go the roasted route, there are two possibilities: lightly or until the spices become fragrant. 

If Roasting: Dry roast (without any oil) the spices in a small skillet/pan over low-medium heat very lightly for a couple of minutes OR until just beginning to be fragrant, about 5 minutes swirling the pan and stirring constantly. Pour onto a plate so the spices do not keep cooking in the residual heat of the pan. Cool completely. Grind and store in an airtight container.

If you don't want to expend the effort to make the recipe and only want a small amount for the time, use the following ground spices. Although quite good when made from good quality fresh ingredients, it will not be equal to the freshly ground masala from whole spices.

Instant Garam Masala: 1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon, 1/2 tsp freshly ground/milled black pepper, 2 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 pinch (1/8 Tsp) Each of  ground cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg.

Mix the spices together and store any leftovers in a small airtight container. The above quantities are merely a guideline; they maybe adjusted according to presonal prefernce.

Garam Masala - Freshly ground from whole spices


4 to 5 Big Cardamoms (Black/Brown)
1 tablespoon Small Cardamom pods (green)
1/4 cup whole Coriander seeds
1/8 cup whole Cumin seeds
3 to 4 pieces 2-inch Cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoons whole Cloves
2 Tsp Black Peppercorns
1/4 - 1/2 Nutmeg (optional)


Slightly crush both the big and small cardamom pods and gather the seeds, place the seeds in a bowl, and discard shells. 

Measure out the other spices and add to the bowl. 

Roast or not? You decide how you would like to proceed. 

Tip all the spices into the jar of a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder. Store in an airtight container for up to 3-4 months or freeze for longer storage.


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