|September 26, 2022

ALCOEATS GARAM MASALA

Garam Masala is a complex flavour and fragrant spice blend. The name comes from the Hindi word ‘Garam’ meaning hot, and ‘Masala’ which means a blend of spices. Garam Masala is a spicy, hot spice blend. The preparation with whole spices is pungent, fragrant, sweet, smoky, and hot. All the flavours are essential in any Indian cuisine. Garam masala blend adds aroma and flavour to meals and helps to keep the body warm. The spice mix also acts like a digestive aid. There are many health benefits of including Garam masala in your daily diet. Garam Masala is available in most grocery stores along with spice blends. It is super easy to make on your own. It will make a difference in the flavour of your cooking.

What Is Garam Masala?

Garam masala is a unique spice mix powder with great flavours used extensively in Indian cuisine. This mix uses a mixture of whole spices and various types of flavours. The preparation of this spice mix helps to balance out all the flavours. Spice powder is one of the essential raw materials in most Indian recipes. It is vital in enhancing the flavour of every recipe. Garam masala quintessentially consists of various types of everyday Indian spices. Every part and region of India has its custom and unique recipe for this magic spice mix. Homemade masalas and spice mix offer a brilliant combination of fragrances and flavours to meals.

The Right Blend Of Spices

Garam Masala

India is rich in spices that consist of different flavours. Various spices contribute to the sweet, hot, and spicy taste palette. Garam masala contains a rich blend of different types of flavours. It includes warming (cloves and ginger), spice (black peppercorns), and sweet (cinnamon and fennel) herbs and spices. These spices create the backbone and foundation of Indian cooking. Spices are included in different ratios in different Indian cuisines as per the taste. Sweet, sour, and spice food contains different types of spices mixed. These are mixed in a proportion that results in an explosion of taste. You will find them in various quantities throughout the authentic dishes. It is not easy to imagine any Indian cuisine without the flavours. This makes Garam masala central part of spice blends in any Indian kitchen.

Should The Ingredients Be Sun-Dried Or Roasted?

It is vital to ensure that the whole spices are dry before you use them in the garam masala. The process helps to bring out the fragrance and flavour of the spice mix. The mix also helps to increase the shelf life of the mix. Whole spices can also be oven dried, sun-dried or roasted in a frying pan. While drying the spices, all the methods work. In India, you get enough sunlight during the summers that help to dry these whole spices. Sun-dried the spices for at least two days before grinding. You can also roast the spices in a pan on low heat and grind them. You can heat dry these spices in an oven at low temperature till they are fragrant. As per the temperature range, you can dry the different types of spices for about 6 to 15 hours.

How To Make Garam Masala Or Spice Mix Powder At Home?

Garam Masala recipe

Spice powder is an integral part of Indian cuisine. The mix is vital in exotic Indian curries and flavorful rice preparations like biriyani. The simple and multipurpose curry spice mix is the homemade Garam Masala spice mix. The mix is known for its intense aroma and sharp flavour. Store-bought ready-made Garam Masala mix doesn’t check all your boxes in terms of flavour and health. It can contain unhealthy chemical preservatives. Homemade recipes are more flexible in terms of taste and flavour and are vital in households.  

You can go for homemade masala if you want your customization. Home prepared Garam Masala provides a chance to create a taste of choice. Make it at home in a fuss-free and easy manner. The advantage of homemade spice mix is that it doesn’t use preservative chemicals. Not using the chemicals might reduce its shelf life but makes it healthy. You can also prepare it frequently with fresh spices whenever you need it.

What Are The Garam Masala Ingredients?

An authentic and flavorful recipe for everyday Garam Masala needs about a dozen whole spices. You will be able to find them easily without much difficulty. 

Below is the list of ingredients that you will need for 200 grams of Garam Masala mix:

¾ cup coriander seed or dhaniya, 1 tsp caraway or shah jeera, 3-inch cinnamon or dalchini, ½ cup cumin or jeera, three dried red chillies, five black cardamoms, 2 tbsp pepper or kali mirch, 3 tsp cardamom or elachi, 5-star anise or chakra Phool, 1 tbsp clove or lavang, two maces or javitri, 2 tsp fennel or saunf, two nutmegs or jaiphal, five-bay leaf or tej patta and 1 tsp ginger powder

What Is The Garam Masala Recipe?

Garam masala powder

Use a heavy-bottomed pan and roast all the dry spices one by one until they turn aromatic without burning, keep them aside.

  • Before grinding these whole spices, take nutmeg in a mortar-pestle to crush it coarsely and set aside.
  • Cool these spices and transfer them to a grinder. Work in batches as needed. Add the whole spices to a dry grinder jar or spice grinder. According to the capacity, break items like cinnamon sticks. Add whole green cardamom and black cardamom to the spice grinder. Do not remove the outer husks.
  • Be sure to use only true Ceylon cinnamon. There is another variety called Cassia, but it is not the same as Ceylon cinnamon. They are used interchangeably, and the aroma and flavour differ. Cassia cinnamon is a slightly inferior variety. You can use a pinch of cassia if Ceylon cinnamon is not available.
  • After this, add the coarsely crushed nutmeg powder into the mix.
  • Add two tablespoons of ginger powder. You can also skip the ginger powder if you do not have it.
  • Grind to a smooth and fine powder. The spices should be finely ground for a good garam masala.
  • Use dried rose petals and add them at this step. Adding rose petals is optional.
  • Grind again. Your Garam Masala powder is ready after final blending.
  • Sift through the powder and grind tiny bits if they are left out on the sieve.
  • Let this spice powder cool down. Spread it on a plate or allow it to cool in the grinder jar. Mix it well and shift the powder into a glass jar or an air-tight container. Ensure that the container is clean and dry
  • Finally, the garam masala is ready. You can use it as is required for curries or rice preparations.

How to Store the Garam Masala Powder?

It is vital to cover the lid of the container tightly. Keep the container in a cool and dry place. You can keep it in the fridge or the freezer. In the case of a damp environment, it is better to use the garam masala within six months to get the best results.

Things To Remember Before Preparing The Garam Masala:

  • You must roast the spices on a low flame until they turn aromatic. Roast these spices separately or they might burn. Increase and decrease the spices as per the flavour of your choice. Garam Masala recipe can stay good for many months if prepared with fresh spices and roasted well.
  • Some additional Tips for a great recipe
  • You must check all the spices to ensure they do not have any stones, husks, or chaffs. After cleaning, spread them on a plate to remove the bad ones. Sort through them to ensure they dry well. Spread the whole spices and keep them in the Sun for at least 2 to 3 days.
  • The spices should not have any hidden fungi, mould, or insects on them. In case this is true, discard these spices.
  • Use only fresh spices and not old ones. It is vital to Sun-dry or toasts the spices in a pan.
  • While drying in the Sun, cover them with a sieved lid, cotton napkin, or muslin so that the dust particles do not fall on spices.
  • Only keep spices out during the daytime and keep them inside at night.
  • Once you are sure that there is no trace of moisture on the spices or that they are crisp, they are ready to be used.
  • You can also roast each of the spices separately (except for rose petals or ginger powder) in a frying pan. Always use low heat until spices are lightly toasted. After this, they will release their essential oils and will become fragrant.
  • While roasting, remember to stir them often else they will burn.

Recipe of Punjabi Garam Masala

Punjabi Garam Masala is an Indian spice blend that is a must-have in Punjabi households. It transforms the lentils or vegetable dishes. The masala is added to many Punjabi recipes.

Use 

¼ – ½ teaspoon of Punjabi Garam Masala in every four servings of lentils, vegetable dishes, and curries.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Punjabi Garam Masala

  1. Keep the whole spices in sun for 2 – 3 days to help them dry evenly.
  2. Use a dry grinder to grind the dry ginger. Dry ginger should be ground first as it is hardest to grind. Use 2 tablespoons of ground ginger powder.
  3. The next spice that should be ground is nutmeg followed by cinnamon sticks.
  4. Grind all the spices to a fine powder. You can also use a sieve and collect the ungrounded spices to grind it again.
  5. Add all the spices to the dry grinder and blend them in batches.
  6. Mix all the spices very well in a glass bowl including the dry ginger.
  7. Punjabi Garam Masala is ready for use. You must store it in an air-tight container and store it in a cool dry place. It can be used for at least 6 months to 1 year in this way.

What Is The Difference Between Garam Masala And Curry Powder?

Garam Masala is a much different spice blend compared to curry powder. Curry powder was not created in India, it was a product of British traders. Not many Indians know about curry powder and every Indian household knows about garam masala. The original recipe for curry powder included some of the spices that are also seen in garam masala. Curry powder mixes are even spicier than garam masalas. Curry powder has turmeric, which gives it a yellow hue. Curry powder is a little milder with sweet notes while Garam Masala is fragrant and intensely spicy.

What Are The Two Kinds Of Masalas?

Broadly categorized, there are two types of Garam Masala made.

  1. Pakka or Cooked Garam Masala – In the method of preparation, the spices are well roasted until they become aromatic and release the essential oils. The roasted spices are then finely ground. Most packaged garam masalas are the pakka or cooked versions. The masalas that are made in homes are pakka masala. The masala is sprinkled on the food after food is cooked.
  2. Kaccha or Raw Garam Masala– To prepare these mixtures, spices are not roasted but are sun-dried and then ground. Sun-drying draws out extra moisture from the spices and makes them crisp. The Garam Masala powder must be cooked for spices to bring out the flavour.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Garam Masala?

garam masala powder recipe
  1. Aids in Digestion – There is a traditional idea that Garam Masala increases the ‘digestive fire’ in the belly. Cumin which is one of the major components of this mix known to boost the activity of digestive enzymes. These spices can also be used to treat any type of irritable bowel syndrome. Black pepper which is another common ingredient has beneficial effects on the digestive system.
  2. Provides Antioxidants  Each of these spices in Garam Masala has very powerful antioxidants. When they are mixed well together, it reaches a new level of effectiveness. While these components contribute, a few stand out. The strongest is cinnamon which has many health benefits. It also increases the immunity of the human body.
  3. Improves Heart Health – Cardamom is one of the main ingredients of Garam masala. It helps to regulate blood pressure and improves overall heart health. Coriander is known to lower total cholesterol and maintains triglyceride levels in the body. These are very impressive effects of this spice mix not to be ignored.
  4. Reduces Inflammation  Bodily inflammation is strongly linked to age-related diseases. The use of Garam Masala in everyday food can heavily diminish symptoms of inflammation. Cardamom in the Garam Masala has also been shown to lessen inflammation and reduce its symptoms.
  5. Lowers the risk of Cancer  One of the important factors in reducing the chances of cancer is our nutrition. The ingredients of Garam Masala are useful in cancer prevention. Cloves have been shown to promote normal cell function and inhibit tumour growth. It can also control the early stages of lung cancer.
  6. Fights Oral Bacteria  There are many components of Garam Masala that have the potential in fighting for our oral health. The first ingredient that is known to improve oral health and fight bacteria is nutmeg. There is a compound in nutmeg that is known as macelignan. It can kill various types of bacteria that are responsible for tooth decay and oral health issues. Cloves are also known to be useful in oral health and it also defends against gum diseases including gingivitis.
  7. Enhances the Nutrient Absorption in the body    Garam Masala is known to increase the bioavailability of nutrients in foods. Black pepper is the main ingredient that helps in nutrient absorption. A compound in black pepper called piperine gives its pungent taste. When it is added to a meal, it can increase the absorption of vitamins and minerals. It is so potent that it enhances the effects of drugs as well.
  8. Protects against Diabetes – A variety of spices are known to be protective against diseases like diabetes. Cinnamon is the most effective in fighting diabetes. Cinnamon is a popular ingredient in pastries and treats. It is a main blood sugar regulator. There are many other beneficial effects of cinnamon on our body. This spice also improves insulin sensitivity in the body. Nutmeg is also known to be effective in maintaining the blood sugar level in the body.
  9. Protects the Nervous System   The spices that are commonly used in Garam Masala mix are all high in antioxidants. This is vital as natural antioxidants are protective against various types of neurodegenerative disorders. The piperine that is present in black pepper shows promising results. Neurological disorders including Alzheimer's’ can also be treated with these spices. You can reduce the risk with the right diet choices.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How do I prevent my Garam Masala from getting moulds or insects?

You can store your spice blends in an airtight container. Keep it in a cool, dark place to keep them preserved for at least 1 year. If you have a humid environment, add the precaution of storing the masala in the refrigerator. This will keep the flavours and aroma of the spices intact and keep it safe.

How long does homemade Garam Masala last in the pantry?

As Garam Masala consists of ground spices, it should be used within six months for the best quality. You can also make your masalas instead of buying from the store as they are fresh. If you want them to last longer, you can keep them without grinding until you are ready to use them. This will help the whole spices to keep their essential oils and they will taste fresh and more pungent. You can store the masala in the refrigerator. This will keep the flavours and aroma of the spices intact.

How can I make the Garam Masala spicier?

Using certain types of spices like black peppercorns can increase the heat of your garam masala. There are many spicier versions of peppercorns in Southern India. You can also add other spices like dry red chilis to make it spicier and hot. You can also regulate the quantity of these spices to increase or decrease the hotness of the masala

How much Garam Masalas should I add to food?

People add Garam Masala during the cooking process, but it can also be added once the cooking is done. You can add the amount as per the recipe and as per your taste. For 4 to 5 servings of a recipe, add ¼ – ½ teaspoon of garam masala. The spice blend is much stronger in Garam Masala so you should always go by the “less is more” principle. You should avoid adding more Garam Masala to your dishes as the flavours may go out. Adding a little amount will work wonders and harmonize the flavour and fragrance of your meal.

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