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Thread: Garam Masala

  1. #1
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    Garam Masala

    Ok Guys.

    Here you go :

    Garam : It is a hindi word meaning hot.
    Masala : generic term used generally for a mix. Masala may mean dry mixture of spices and herbs, whole or ground, or cooked spices in dry or gravy form.

    Garam Masala is the most aromatic, fragrant and most used Indian spice mix in Indian food used in all types of dishes, appetizers, soups, kebabs, pickles etc.

    When we say "Garam", the heat does not necessarily mean the kind of heat generally associated with chillies. But mind you it does raise the body temperature and to the uninitiated may cause lot of thirst and the need to cool down the throat and belly and wash down the spicy dish with some cool beer or wine or even plain water.

    In Indian Medicine System [Ayurveda], we do refer to the hot and cold effects of food on the body. For example Black peppercorn, chillies, cloves would be hot whereas pumpkin seeds, poppy seeds wold be cool.

    If you were to google "Garam Masala" you would find endless varieties and mixtures of Garam Masala, and there is a good reason to that. India has lots of regional cuisines and each region has its own version and also the recipes for masalas which are passed down the generations by parents / families / gourmet gurus / mentors, so there are very many varieties.

    You may find lots of Garam Masala Powders in Indian / Asian stores. The basic fact remains that ground spices / herbs tend to loose thier aroma over a period of time and some of them are too finely powdered, the black peppercorn for example would start to loose its aroma from 15th minute onwards and may be just pepper within 6 hours without the aroma of freshly ground, if you have any experience. The aroma is due to the release of the aromatic oils which tend to evaporate with time and also tend to turn rancid. It is always better to use fresh home ground masala, and it is best stored in air tight containers / jars. Always try to make very little quantities of it, you may use dry coffee grinder, or if your food processor has some attachment for powdering small dry batches, or a simple mortar and pestle of any variety. I think Thailand does have lots of good mortar and pestles for their world famous Som Tam, so just go and use it.

    TIP :
    You should DRY ROAST the spices before grinding, preferably each spice individually and separately. This helps to bring out the aroma and you would find that your neighbours drooling. The exceptions to roasting are dry ginger powder and nutmeg.

    And if the texture of the dish allows it, you can just crush the spices without actually powdering them. The crunchy half ground seeds of green cardamom add lots of flavour when you encounter them while masticating your food in certain dishes, whereas the powdered green cardamom adds so much subtle flavour to the sweet dishes and milk shakes that half crushed seeds would be unthinkable in such situations. Some spices like black cardamom, green cardamom do leave lots of fibrous remains after grinding, so you need to sift the ground masala, you can discard the fibers or you can save them and use them if you are proficient in cooking, and there are lots of spaces where you can use them. For example you can just skin the green cardamom and use these skins while making your tea [don't overuse, it would turn your tea bitter] and use the seeds either for crushing or garnishing.

    Yes you can keep and store the various whole spices used in making garam masala for a much longer period. So better keep whole spices.

    Garam Masala is used in various stages of the dish making, sometimes at the very last moment for example the milder varities [ look below ] of garam masala may be just sprinkled over the cooked dish, while some people prefer to add it right along other spices while frying the masala more so for meat, poulty dishes or using it as dry rub while you bbq.

    Sometimes the recipe itself dictates the time when you add the particular spice.

    Lastly, some ingredients are considered milder and are used as "diluters" and are used to make milder masalas, and this is how the commercial masala makers make their money by using lots of them, since these are cheap too. Corriander is one of them. The puritans never use Corriander in the Garam Masala.
    Of course the flavour of the fresh green coriander is unquestionable, the dry coriander powder rather dilutes the garam masala.

    I better stop my ranting and quickly come to Garam Masala recipes, and we can add more and more Gyan if and when somebody asks questions.


    Recipe I. [ The Milder Variety ]

    2 table spoonfull of Coriander Seeds.
    2 table spoonfull of Cummin Seeds
    1 table spoonfull of black peppercorns
    5-6 Green Cardamoms [ you may use seeds only and save the skins for your tea ]
    1" Cinnamon.

    Dry Roast each ingredient separately. Just prevent burning or blackening. You should be able to notice when the aroma starts
    to come out. Cool them and grind them into a powder and put in an air-tight container / Jar.


    Recipe II [ Sort of General Garam Masala to be used generally when called for or more so for vegetarian cooking ]

    2 Table Spoonfull Coriander Seeds
    1 Table Spoonfull Cumin Seeds
    1 Table Spoonfull Black Cumin Seeds

    [ It is also called Shahi jeera, where Shahi means Royal. This variety is more expensive than the normal variety and is smaller and darker / blacker in color than normal cumin. If you are unable to find it, you can use normal cumin seeds ]

    1 Table Spoonfull of Black Peppercorns
    1 Table Spoonfull of cloves
    1 Table Spoonfull of dry ginger powder

    [ It is called "sonth" in hindi. You do get whole dried ginger too ]

    2" Cinnamon
    5 Brown Cardamom
    2 Bay Leaves [ Better crush them with hands before you put them in grinder/ pestle.]

    CAUTION : Do not dry roast the dry ginger powder. Just add it to the roasted and cooled ingredients and grind the whole mix in usual way. Same goes for the nutmegs. You don't roast the nuts. Rather some of chef's I know, just use nutmeg graters and use freshly grated nutmegs in recipes ]

    Dry Roast each ingredient separately. Just prevent burning or blackening. You should be able to notice when the aroma starts to come out. Cool them and grind them into a powder and put in an air-tight container / Jar.


    Did you notice that so far we have not used the more exotic spices like mace, nutmeg, star anise and Saffron. Hold on.

    Recipe III [ It is much hotter, aromatic and we use it for non-vegetarian dishes ]


    2 Table Spoonfull of Coriander Seeds
    1 Table Spoonfull of Cumin Seeds
    1 Table Spoonfull of Black Cumin Seeds [ Refer to above recipe ]
    1 Table Spoonfull of Cloves
    2 Table Spoonfull of Black Peppercorns.
    Seeds of 10 Black Cardamoms
    4" Cinnamon
    6 Bay leaves [crushed]
    1/2 TEA SPOONFULL of Mace [ This is teaspoon full measure , others are all table spoonfulls]
    1 Nutmeg
    2 Star Anise
    2 Table Spoonfull of Dry Ginger Powder. [ Do not roast it ]


    Dry Roast each ingredient separately. Just prevent burning or blackening. You should be able to notice when the aroma starts to come out. Cool them and grind them into a powder and put in an air-tight container / Jar.


    Royal Garam Masala from the Kitchens of Maharajas.
    This recipe comes from the Maharaja of Sailana's cookbook.

    Black Cumin Seed 6 Gms.
    Cumin Seeds 6 Gms.
    Cloves 6 Gms
    Bay Leaves 6 Gms.
    Black Cardamom Seeds 6 Gms
    Green Cardamom 6 Gms.
    Cinnamon 6 Gms.
    Black Peppercorns 6 Gms.
    Mace 3 Gms
    Dry Ginger Powder 3 Gms.
    Saffron 1 Gms. [ This is pretty expensive. Almost 80-100 thousand baht a kilo ]

    Apply the same procedure for roasting and grinding. Mind you there is no coriander. !!!!!


    Well this goes for garam masala, though each and individual dish and recipe sometimes calls for the individual ingredients rather than the stock garam masala.

    Hey where is my helmet. Let me wear it, I can see the bricks coming.
    Last edited by drk411; 07-04-2011 at 12:38 AM.

  2. #2
    Mid
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    Thanxs for that , having seen the work involved me thinks I'll continue to buy mine from the spice rack in Macro .

  3. #3
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    Thanks.

    Can you do one for butter chicken?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chairman Mao View Post
    Thanks.

    Can you do one for butter chicken?
    There is no specific garam masala for butter chicken.

    I can post the recipe of butter chicken if someone teaches me how to post pics from my hard disk. I can post the pics or pictorial tutorial.

  5. #5
    Molecular Mixup
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    for posting pics
    you could watch this
    http://teakdoor.com/how-to-use-stuff...with-pics.html (KM's Pic Posting Tutorial - with pics!) (KM's Pic Posting Tutorial - with pics!)
    or read this
    http://teakdoor.com/how-to-use-stuff...a-picture.html (How to post a picture)

    i'm not too good on computers so how i do it is
    open new teakdoor window -
    click :
    1 gallery
    2 create / order my albums
    3 the grey new box
    4 choose a title and enter it in the grey box under delete new
    5 apply modifications
    continue
    6 then hover the mouse cursor over the little house in the top left ,and click underneath
    7 upload files
    8 browse
    9 select the photo you want from your computers picture album
    10 continue
    11 continue
    12 select album
    13 continue
    14 sort my pictures
    click on the one you want a few times to make it bigger
    then you if you want can drag and drop then ,back to the first teakdoor window ,message reply box

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    Thanks blue,

    let me get the hang of it.

  7. #7
    The Dentist English Noodles's Avatar
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    Sounds great.

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