Garam Masala is a spice mix, that we commonly use to prepare curry recipes. The spices that we use to prepare this spice mix are Cumin, Coriander, Green and Black Cardamom, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Bay leaves, Peppercorns, Fennel, and Mace.
We use this masala usually to prepare protein and fat-rich curry recipes. This spice mix boosts digestion and Metabolism. It also fights bloating and flatulence and even bad breath. While for the usual curries, which are easy to digest, we use curry masala. The curry masala mainly includes turmeric. But, for preparing Garam Masala powder, we never use turmeric.
Traditionally, it is recommended to add this spice mix at the end of the cooking process. At that time, when the curry is very hot. As we add it in a hot curry, thus it gets its name Garam Masala. Since in Hindi “Garam” means hot.
Garam Masala Uses
Although it is recommended to use this spice mix at the end. But, this is not a rule! I personally use this masala, some time in marination, while sometimes also in the middle of the cooking. But of course, this is a very unique spice blend that can be used to prepare a variety of recipes. Both veg and non-veg.
In India, every family and region has its own recipe for this masala. The blend that I am sharing here is Punjabi Garam Masala. As the traditional and popular protein-rich veg recipes, like Punjabi Chole, Pindi Chana, Rajma, Dal Makhani, Matar Paneer, Paneer Tikka Masala, etc. come from this region. This blend of masala works perfectly with every one of them.
Punjab is a province of both India and Pakistan. It is a province that is surrounded by non-veg lovers of Sindh, Balochistan, and Kashmir, etc. Hence, people of Punjab themselves are also lovers of non-veg recipes. So, recipes like egg curry, Tandoori Chicken, Chicken Biryani, Mutton Biryani, Kima recipe, etc. made with this masala blend, also turns delicious.
Even for veg curry recipes
Though this masala blend is used to prepare almost every Indian protein-rich recipe. But it is also used in preparing many veg curry recipes as well. Aloo Gobi, Dum Aloo, Veg Biryani, etc. are a few to mention here.
Thus, this blend of garam masala works excellently with veg, non-veg as well as curry recipes. Most of the popular masala brands, also follow this blend. But, they can not match the freshness, beautiful aroma of homemade masala. Obviously quality is an assurance, in homemade garam masala which turns your recipes even delish.
Before proceeding, here are a few tips to prepare it at home.
Tips for Homemade Garam Masala
- Always prepare Garam Masala in a small quantity. The quantity that you can consume within a month or two. This helps in retaining the freshness and aroma of the masala.
- While roasting the masala always roast them over low to medium heat. Never roast on high flame.
- While roasting, follow the instruction given in my recipe to avoid them from burning.
- After roasting, let the whole masala cool down to room temperature before grinding them in the grinder.
So let us proceed towards the step by step guide to prepare Garam Masala at home.
Garam Masala Recipe
Garam Masala Ingredients
- 1/2 cup coriander seeds (धनिया)
- 1/4 cup cumin seeds (जीरा)
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds (सौंफ)
- 2 tablespoon green cardamom (छोटी इलायची)
- 2 to 4 pieces black cardamom (बड़ी इलायची)
- 2 tablespoon cloves (लौंग)
- 1 tablespoon peppercorns (काली मिर्च के दाने)
- 6 to 8 pieces of cinnamon stick (दालचीनी) of approx 2-inch size
- 4 pieces bay leaf (तेज पत्ता)
- 1 piece nutmeg (जायफल) - small size
- 1 piece star anise (चक्र फूल)
- 3 strands mace (जावित्री)
Preparation for Garam Masala:
- Clean the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks with a dry or damp cloth to remove dirt.
- Shell the cardamoms. Break open the nutmeg and check worms.
- Pick and remove debris from all the spices.
- Spread the spices flatly on a big and wide plate and dry them for 4-5 hours under the hot sun.
- Or heat griddle or Tava over a low flame, when it is sufficiently hot add Peppercorns, black cardamom, Cinnamon stick, green cardamom, bay leaves, Nutmeg, star anise, mace, and cloves. Fry them tossing it three to four times until nice aroma releases. Transfer the mixture from griddle to plate.
- Now add coriander seeds to the preheated griddle and toss until they also start releasing the aroma. Transfer this too from griddle to plate.
- Mix and spread the spices flatly on a big and wide plate to cool down.
How to make Garam Masala
- After cooling the spices sufficiently. Add all the spices to a mixer or spice blender jar and grind to a fine powder.
- Sieve the mixture for coarse spices and grind the coarse spices again for a smooth fine powdered garam masala.
- Store the garam masala in a sun-dried, airtight jar.
- Since with time, the flavors become dull, so try to make it in small quantities, if you want to enjoy the fresh aroma of this spice blend in your everyday cooking.