Hello Readers! It’s been quite some time since my last post–too long, actually. Since returning from India I’ve found myself incredibly swamped. Between unpacking from our trip and entertaining for the holidays, I simply haven’t had the time to sit down and blog. I also haven’t had time to moderate comments/emails, so please bear with me. I’m getting there!
Tonight I am going to show you how to make my version of Garam Masala–arguably India’s most popular spice mix.
If you’ve never heard of garam masala before, no worries! Many people I’ve met have no idea what it is or what it’s used for. Instead, they think that all Indian curries are made with a singular, yellow spice called “Curry Powder.” Interestingly enough, this mysterious “Curry Powder” doesn’t actually exist in most Indian kitchens.
In it’s place is the extremely fragrant and warm spice mix known as garam masala.
The name garam masala literally means “hot spice mixture,” but don’t be confused. The “hot” refers to the intensity and warmth of the spices and not it’s chili content–so even those with the most sensitive of taste-buds can enjoy dishes made with this spice mixture (eh hmmm…mom!).
Actually a lot of garam masalas don’t include chili at all! ..and there are a lot of garam masalas out there! There are more recipes for this particular spice blend than there are stars in the sky–each family has their own, usually passed down through the generations.
Ingredients will also vary depending on the part of the country the family resides, thereby changing the flavors of the same dish family by family and region by region.
So, toss out that funky, yellow “curry” powder you have sitting in your pantry (trust me, that stuff doesn’t make a good curry), grab your spice grinder and let’s get started!
Making the spice mixture doesn’t take a lot of time, but I completely understand that not everyone will want to use the time they do have to mix and grind a bunch of spices together.
In that case, take a trip to your local Indian grocer and pick yourself up a box of the pre-made stuff. Each brand varies in flavor, but I’ve found most of them to be great substitutions for the homemade stuff (MDH, Shan and Everest are three of the most popular brands available in the States. I’d recommend any of them to use for making curries).
Garam Masala Recipe
Makes about 4 cups. Store in airtight containers and the masala should last for 6+ months. If you don’t use garam masala often, cut the recipe in half or quarters.
NOTE: you can add a few dried, red chilies to the mixture if you like spicy food and that’s your thing. I omit the chilies and instead add them when making the actual curry–this way each dish can be spiced to my guests’ liking.
- 200 g whole coriander seeds
- 130 g black peppercorns
- 55 g whole cumin seeds
- 25 g cinnamon (about 6 whole sticks)
- 25 g whole cloves (about a heaping 1/4 cup)
- 25 g green cardamom pods (about a heaping 1/4 cup)
- 25 g whole nutmeg (about 1/2 a small nutmeg)
- 2 g whole mace
- 2 g whole bay leaf
- Measure spices and mix together in a bowl.
- Dry-toast the spices in a large pan over medium heat until the spices become very aromatic and begin to turn color (about 5 minutes of stirring often).
- Grind spices using a spice or coffee grinder. Run the masala through a fine sieve and grind any large particles down until they are a fine powder.
- Store the masala in a air-tight container (mason jars work great!).
I started by measuring and weighing my spices and mixed them together in a large bowl.
I then grabbed my little coffee grinder.
And when I say little, I mean little! Unfortunately, my other, larger grinder was ruined by cloves (long story) and this is all I have. I meant to get a nice stainless steel one while in India, but I always have to forget something! 😀
Anyway, I scooped the spices into the grinder and ground everything to a fine powder.
And finally, I had my homemade Garam Masala!
I scooped this powder into a couple air-tight mason jars and now it’s ready to be turned into a bunch of delicious curries!
Stay Tuned to the blog! In the next few months I’ll hopefully have some exciting changes happening. The first is that My Fancy Pantry will be moving to it’s own server and will no longer be hosted by WordPress. Unfortunately, that means any wordpress.com subscribers to my blog will be lost!
If you’re a wordpress.com subscriber, please consider following My Fancy Pantry on Facebook and Twitter or click the Subscribe button on the upper-right side of the screen so that you can keep up with any updates to the site. I’m not sure when this change will be taking place, but I’ll do my best to post about it well before we move the site.
Secondly, I’ll be sharing this awesome recipe for Chicken Dum Biryani sometime in the near future! You won’t want to miss this!