If you’ve eaten Indian cuisine, you’ve inevitably tried garam masala! This staple blend is the backbone of many popular dishes, and each family’s secret recipe is unique! While garam masala means “warm spice,” this blend presents an additional aromatic element, with the sweet notes of cinnamon and the light airiness of coriander. Whether for korma, biryani, tikka masala, or tandoori, garam masala is an essential spice in your kitchen!
Garam masala (from Hindi: गरम मसाला, garam ("hot") and masala (a mixture of spices)) is a blend of ground spices common in North Indian and other South Asian cuisines. It is used alone or with other seasonings. The word garam refers to intensity of the spices rather than capsaicin content.
The composition of garam masala differs regionally, with many recipes
across India according to regional and personal taste, and none is
considered more authentic than others. The components of the mix are
toasted, then ground together.
A typical Indian version of garam masala contains: turmeric, black and
white peppercorns, clovescinnamon, black and white cumin seeds,
black, brown, and green cardamom pods.
Some recipes call for spices to be blended with herbs, while others for the spices to be ground with water, vinegar, coconut milk, or other liquids, to make a paste. In some recipes nuts, onion, or garlic may be added. Some recipes also call for small quantities of star anise , stone flower or Dagadphool and Kababchini (Cubeb) The flavors may be carefully blended to achieve a balanced
effect, or a single flavour may be emphasized. A masala may be toasted before use to release its flavors and aromas.
Use in specific dishes
The order in which spices are added to food may be very elaborate in some dishes. In the case of the Kashmiri speciality rogan josh, for example, coriander, ginger and chilis are each ground individually, and a garam masala of cloves, cardamom, fennel, red or black chilies, cumin, turmeric and nutmeg is prepared separately. The cook tastes the dish carefully to determine the precise moment when the next spice should be added. The order is coriander first, then the ground ginger, then the garam masala, and finally the chilis.In the chicken dish, murgh kari (chicken curry), the procedure is also precise. First, the chicken is fried and removed from the pan. Onion, garlic, and fresh ginger are added to the pan and cooked slowly for 7 to 8 minutes. Next cumin, turmeric, ground coriander, cayenne, and fennel seed are added with water and fried for a minute or so. Next tomato concassé is added with fresh coriander, yoghurt, and salt. The chicken is returned to the pan and more water is added. Finally, some garam masala is sprinkled on top, the pot is tightly covered, and the dish cooks another 20 minutes before serving.
In Pakistan, garam masala is a common additive in various types of pilau (pilaf). It is usually added to hot oil in which onions have been fried golden brown. Garam masala contains several micronutrients. Ten grams have about 75 milligrams of calcium, 3 milligrams of iron, 150 milligrams of potassium, and 0.3 milligrams of zinc.
Cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin seed, coriander, nutmeg, and black pepper.