Garam Masala is the most frequently used and basic Indian spice powder.The “Subzi” or vegetable preparations made to be had with the various Indian breads or rice require this fabulous and aromatic spice powder to make them deliciously fragrant and tasty.After this powder is added,we only need to add some basic powders – like Turmeric and Chili powder and of course salt to complete the recipe!
There are some basic points which are to be remembered:
1.Buy whole spices.The double combination of from and taste will only come when whole spices are used.
2.Have a spice grinder at hand.Its wise to invest in one as the spices can be powdered and stored quickly.Exposing the powder or spices to too much open air can cause them to lose their aroma and flavour and cause them to cake(that is form hard lumps).In places of high humidity,the powder can develop fungus as well overtime.
3.Proper storage of spices as well as the powder is very essential.Always store both spices and powder in AIRTIGHT glass jars with plastic lids.Keep the jars tightly closed.
4.It is wise to make small amounts of Masala rather than a big batch as you will saver the freshness of the powder till the time it lasts.A big batch might lose its aroma overtime!
5.Always dry roast the whole spices.Never use oil for roasting as it will spoil the taste and aroma altogether.
6.Always use medium-low or preferably the lowest heat on the stovetop for roasting the spices.If possible do not roast the microwave.
7.Use a non stick pan for the roasting.
8.The most important point – All the spices should be roasted on medium heat for 3-4 minutes and low heat for 4-5 minutes.Follow this for perfectly roasted and beautifully fragrant Garam Masala powder.Too much roasting will result in a black coloured and burnt smelling powder.
NOTE – Garam Masala is not to be confused with Curry Powder which is available in other countries and even in Indian stores(also called Madras Curry Powder).
These were the main points to be followed for a perfect Garam Masala powder.These points are to be followed in all spice powder recipes(for example Chaat Masala,Chole Masala etc).Lets go on to the recipe now.
There are 8 main spices to be used in the making of standard Garam Masala!
Preparation Time – 30 minutes
Makes – 1 cup of Garam Masala to fill a small jar
4 tbsp Whole black pepper – Kalimirch
3-4 Bay leaves – Tejpatta
3 tbsp Cumin Seeds – Jeera
3-4 sticks of Cinnamon – Dalchini
2 Nutmeg – Jaiphal
3-4 Mace – Javitri(The outer covering of Nutmeg(Jaiphal) also used as a spice)
2 tbsp Cloves – Laung
3 tbsp Black Cardamom(approx 8-9) – Badi Elaichi
All the lovely spices….
Heat a non stick pan and roast all the spices except Nutmeg and Mace on very heat till the bay leaves turn crispy and the spices start emanating a wonderful aroma.
Leave to cool for 15 – 20 minutes or till the the spices come to room temperature.
In a spice grinder add all the spices including Nutmeg and Mace and powder in short bursts till reduced to a fine powder.Sieve the powder through a sifter and store in airtight glass jars.
Use clean spoons when using the Garam Masala!
A lovely jar of Garam Masala..