Garam masala is one of the few prepared spice blends that Indian cooks use on a regular basis. Many people believe that all Indian curries are made with curry powder, however this is simply not true! Garam masala, however, is ubiquitous, especially in North Indian households. Much as with Indian cuisine, garam masala has variations across the country and from household to household. Lately, many people have taken to buying preprepared garam masala. This is a fine option in a pinch, however in our household homemade is a must.
|A Nutmeg Just Freed From its Shell|
This recipe comes from my great-great grandmother and was passed down directly to my grandmother, my father’s mother. My great-grandmother was far too busy being having many, many babies that she rarely had time to cook. Thus, it was my grandmother who sat at the feet of my great-great grandmother learning the secret to this incredible recipe. My great-great grandmother was largely deaf, thus my grandmother spent time learning not by asking questions and writing down the answers but rather by experiencing the amazing sensory experience that is Indian food. She learned to pound the freshly roasted spices, learned to allow her sense of smell to guide her, and learned that Indian food has no boundaries. When she was introduced to a strange ingredient in the bazaar–macaroni–she bought it and whipped up a macaroni sabji that become a favorite of all of her kids!
|The Ingredients: Center: nutmeg; Clowise from top: coriander, black pepper, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin|
This garam masala went into almost everything my grandmother made. It has the unique property of enhancing the flavor of nearly all vegetables and meats. The flavors are complex and rich, but do not overpower the dish. Many garam masala blends include black cardamom and mace, flavors that have a tendency to add powerful and dominant flavors to dishes. This garam masala does not do that. It is subtle and nuanced and adds those qualities to the dishes it flavors. This does not mean that it is superior! Only different. I, of course, am biased as this has been the garam masala that has been in my family for generations and the garam masala I have consumed all my life. All recipes that I write in the future should use this garam masala if possible because otherwise the proportion and flavors may be thrown off by using store bought garam masala. If you do use store bought garam masala, please add a small amount and taste the food before adding more!
This post is dedicated to my amazing grandmother, who sadly is no longer with us today. She passed away when I was 11 years old. Recently, I have missed her more than ever before as I never had the pleasure to do with her what she was able to do with her grandmother–sit at her feet and learn the sensory art of Indian cooking.
Garam masala is one of the few premade spice blends that Indian cooks use. This is my great-great grandmother's absolutely wonderful recipe. I feel lucky to have it and to be able to share it with you.
- Inspect your spices to ensure that they are dry and there is no moisture clinging to the surface, if there is your blend will not last as long.
- Mix all ingredients together and grind either using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. If necessary grate your nutmeg and cinnamon into smaller pieces to make it easier to grind.
- Place in an airtight jar and store in a cool, dark, and dry area of the house for up to 18 months. Enjoy!
This recipe was passed down in grams. Unfortunately, volume measurements do not work well, so please try to use grams as much as possible.
This will make a lot of garam masala, so feel free to weigh out your nutmeg, and divide the recipe by whatever number works best.