Over the last month, I’ve been cooking up Indian food at home. Up until this month, I had only tried making Indian food at home once, so this is all a fairly new experience for me. I have loved experiencing such new flavors. One thing that I’ve learned more about this past month is Garam Masala.
I had heard of Garam Masala before, but I never really knew what it was. Garam Masala is a spice mix used predominately in Indian cuisine. It comes from the Hindi words Garam, meaning “hot” and Masala, meaning “mixture”. When they use the word “hot”, it means full of spices, not spicy like a chili.
The spices included in this spice mix will vary depending on where you are in India, but common ingredients are cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and peppercorns. There may be many more ingredients, depending on where you are or what recipe you use.
Garam Masala is quite pungent, so it needs to be used sparingly so that it doesn’t overpower a dish.
You can find Garam Masala in the spice section of just about any grocery store, but it often tastes better when it is made at home. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different recipes out there to use, but here is one of them! Some of the ingredients might only be found at an Indian grocer or online, but if you cook Indian cuisine often, it would be worth making this from scratch.
1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup cumin seeds
1/3 cup coriander seeds
1 rounded tablespoon green cardamom pods
1 rounded tablespoon black peppercorns
2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 whole, dried red chile
1/8 teaspoon ground mace
Combine the cinnamon, bay leaves, cumin, coriander, cardamom, peppercorns, cloves and red chile in a frying pan and toast over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the cumin turns uniformly brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Put in a spice grinder and grind to a powder. Stir in the mace and store in an airtight container.