Using Garam Masala in Indian Cooking
Garam Masala is an iconic blend of aromatic spices that comes from the north of India. The spices are put together in a delicate manner using varying quantities of each component. Garam literally translates to warming and masala means spice blend. So it's a mixture of spices that intensify, warm and refresh the flavours of any dish. The blend itself is hot but the combination induces warmth from the dish.
This is probably one of the most important ingredients of North Indian food and although different cooks use it in different ways I usually add it at the end of the cooking process to bring the dish and all the flavours together.
There are hundreds or variations on how to make garam masala depending on local and region tastes. Different families have their own blends too.
As soon as spices are ground they begin to loose their natural oils and aromatics so it is really important to sore this in an airtight container.
Some commercially produced blends can be a bit heavy so I choose to make my own. I think it's best to prepare Garam Masala in small amounts. I usually make up enough to fill a coffee jar and use it within one month but is stores well for up to 6 months.
My blend includes:
- Cumin Seeds
- Black Pepper
- Coriander Seeds
- Cassia Bark
- Carom Seeds
- Black Cardamom
- Bay Leaves