Garam Masala is a spice blend commonly used for cooking in the Indian subcontinent. The garam masala powder is a mix of 11 whole spices. The word ‘garam‘ refers to the intensity and heat of the spices. We are sharing a failproof garam masala recipe which is followed in our family from generations.
Garam Masala 101:
In this post, you will learn about:
-how to make garam masala powder at home
-purpose or uses of garam masala
-common myths about garam masala
What is Garam Masala Made of?
There are 11 whole spices in this Indian spice blend. These whole spices are dry roasted to release the aroma and then ground to a powder.
Grinding Garam Masala Powder at home is no tedious task; it is a monthly routine in my kitchen, which requires less than 30 minutes. For an authentic taste in Indian dishes, I rely on homemade garam masala instead of the store-bought package.
Ingredients For Garam Masala:
Bay Leaf (tej patta)
Star Anise (phool chakri)
Whole Black Peppercorns (sabut kalimirch)
Green Cardamom (hari/choti elaichi)
Black Cardamom (badi elaichi)
Coriander Seeds (sabut dhaniya)
Cumin Seeds (sabut jeera)
Step-By-Step Punjabi Garam Masala Recipe:
To prepare garam masala powder, dry roast the whole spices in a cast-iron skillet or a heavy bottom pan over medium heat. Roast until the aroma of spices is released. Keep on stirring the spices. Turn off the heat and let the spices cool down a bit before grinding.
Transfer the roasted spices to a grinder.
Blend the spices to a smooth or coarse powder. The garam masala is ready to use. Store it in an airtight box at room temperature. It is good to consume for a year.
Heavy Duty Mixer: You need a strong blade dry mixing jar for blending garam masala. Avoid using glass jars or smoothie blenders for making garam masala. Preethi Mixer is my personal favorite for the purpose.
Cast Iron Skillet: For dry roasting the spices you need a heavy-duty pan or cast-iron skillet. Avoid using a non-stick pan as the spices might get burnt quickly and not roasted properly.
How To Use Garam Masala In Indian Recipes?
Garam Masala is one of the key ingredients when it comes to rich, Mughlai style Indian recipes. It is mainly added in the curries for a rich aroma and an earthy, spicy flavor.
A teaspoon of this spice blend is sufficient to get the desired taste and aroma in any Indian dish. Too much of it can spoil the taste and makes the dish spicy.
The homemade garam masala is much more robust in taste and aroma than the store-bought one. So if any recipe suggests 1 teaspoon of garam masala, use 1/2 teaspoon of homemade garam masala.
How To Store Garam Masala?
It is best to store garam masala in a clean, sterilized airtight jar at room temperature. Make sure to use a clean and dry spoon every time you use it. A good homemade masala is safe for consumption even after a year. During rainy reason, make sure to put the masala jar under the direct sun for a day or two to keep the spice blend fresh.
Common Myths About Garam Masala:
Garam Masala is added in every Indian curry or dish. This is one of the biggest myth. It is only added in the rich Indian dishes mainly from the Northern and Central regions of India.
Garam Masala is added while roasting the curry paste. A wise cook always adds garam masala in the end. So that the aroma and the flavor of the spices enhance the taste of the dish. It is not added for color or texture, hence no need to fry or saute it with the curry paste.
Garam Masala and the curry powder are same. These two Indian spice mixes are poles apart. The curry powder is a turmeric-based spice blend mainly used for flavoring the curries and dals. Whereas, garam masala does not have turmeric, sharp in taste and can be used for various Indian recipes.
Adding a large amount of garam masala makes the dish tastier. It does just the opposite. Indian cooking is very complex, and the flavor of a dish are built at different steps while cooking. So adding double quantity of garam masala is not going to make your curry more tasty or flavorsome.
Other Indian Spice Powders You Might Like:
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Homemade Garam Masala Recipe
- 3 whole bay leaf (tej patta)
- 2 whole star anise (phool chakri)
- 1 whole blade of mace (javitri)
- 1 whole nutmeg (jaiphal)
- 2 one inch cinnamon sticks (dal chini)
- 1 tablespoon cloves (laung)
- 2 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorn (sabut kali mirch)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon green cardamom (hari elaichi)
- 4 tablespoon coriander seeds (sabut dhaniya)
- 2 tablespoon cumin seeds (sabut jeera)
- To prepare garam masala powder, first, dry roast the whole spices in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Roast until the aroma of spices is released. Keep on stirring the spices.
- Turn off the heat. Transfer the spices to a plate and let them cool down a bit before grinding.
- Add the roasted spices in a grinder. Blend the spices to a smooth or coarse powder as per preference.
- Garam Masala is ready to use. Store it in a clean and dry airtight jar at room temperature.
- If the blender motor becomes hot while grinding, turn it off and wait for some time before starting it again.
- Do not roast spices for too long as they might get burnt and taste bitter.
- Use good quality whole spices for making the spice blend. Avoid using stale or moist whole spices for the purpose.
- After grinding if the garam masala powder is warm to touch allow it cool down completely before storing.
- Recommended Equipments: Mixer Grinder (Buy it here), Cast Iron Skillet (Buy it here)