Making Garam Masala: Photo by Doug Young
When a recipe calls for Garam Masala, do not be tempted to reach for the Curry Powder. Garam means “hot” and masala refers to a blend of spices. Curry powder is an Anglo-Indian condiment; heavy on the Tumeric-created for British palates during the colonial era.
The Garam Masala spice blend originates from the Indian subcontinent and is common in cuisines of the Indian diaspora — ranging from the Islands of the Indian Ocean to the Caribbean, Europe and Africa. The word garam refers to “heating the body” in the Ayurvedic sense of the word, as these spices are believed to elevate body temperature in Ayurvedic medicine. The addition of aromatics such as cloves, cardomom and nutmeg make for an elevated, sweeter flavor.
I use it in my recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala (stay tuned for the recipe and Zoom cooking Class).
You can create this mixture by purchasing the seeds whole, then toasting them, allowing them to cool, then grinding to a powder.
Or you can buy the spices in powder form and mix it. This spice mix is a perfect gift idea, when packaged in pretty jars with attached labels that include a recipe.
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Mix cumin, coriander, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg in a bowl. Place mix in an airtight container, and store in a cool, dry place. Multiply the recipe to make larger batches.