Garam masala is among my oldest cherished spice blends, and I am proud to say that I have never bought it packaged. It is so easy to put together that you needn’t. The home made kind is more potent as it has none of the cheap spices that bulk-up commercial blends. A small amount goes a long way.
First things first. All Punjabi food does not use garam masala. If you don’t believe me, ask Punju Girl. Garam masala does not Punjabi cuisine make. Despite the fact that I love this spice blend and cook Punjabi food almost every other day, I use garam masala only occasionally, and sparingly.
The ‘garam’, meaning ‘hot’ or ‘warm’, in this masala comes from the use of spices that (according to Ayurveda) are considered warming , such as clove, pepper, and cinnamon. You may sun the spices to dry them out completely before grinding, but the spices are not to be roasted. Since the spices are not roasted, their oils are retained better and the masala will stay aromatic for over a year. I usually make the amount in this recipe (which makes about a cup and a half or so of masala) which lasts me a whole year (after sharing some with a friend or family); every winter it’s time to make a fresh batch.
This is my mother-in-laws recipe that she shared with me shortly before she passed away. She ‘measured’ out the spices on a thali for me to grind, knowing it was the last time she would be doing so. I record it here today – for my family and yours.
You may use whatever measure to scale the recipe; the proportions are by volume. I start with 100gm of moti elaichi (black cardamom) = 4 parts
Measure out the spices and sun for half a day (or leave in a barely warm oven for an hour). Grind to a powder (as fine as possible) and store in a dry jar.
And if this heart-warming masala is not the best thing to send to Zlamushka’s spoonful of Christmas, what is!
- This is a very pungent spice blend. You will feel the ‘heat’ of the warming spices at the back of your mouth and throat. In a dish that makes 6 servings, I will usually use 1/3 teaspoon only.
- This is also a good substitute for Kashmiri garam masala (which does not have cumin).
My Gobhi aloo (cauliflower with potatoes) is incomplete without this magical masala added right towards the end of the cooking process…Recipe follows…till then put together the masala!