Authentic Indian dishes are incomplete without an aromatic spice blend called Garam Masala, which adds liveliness and zing to the food. Not only does garam masala powder satisfy your taste buds, but it is also well-known for its health benefits. As garam masala originates in South Asia, it is the heart of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Nepalese cuisines.
Generally, ‘garam’ is a Hindi or Marathi word, which means warm, and ‘masala’ means spices. Therefore, garam masala is a fusion of warming spices.
Ayurveda states that incorporating the correct amount of spices in our diet helps the body preserve its well-being. One of the best health benefits of herbs is that they fight against inflammation and reduce the risk of getting your body cells damaged from infections.
Moreover, using fresh garam masala powder is healthier than the packed one. We see various masalas in stores and supermarkets, and many of these readymade masalas lack aroma. Fresh garam masala powder is always the best choice to use because spices oxidize and leave their taste and aroma when stored for a long time.
Every Indian home has its own unique recipe for making garam masala powder, depending on their taste and region. Here, we shall see how to make Punjabi-style flavoursome and spicy garam masala. So, let us begin.
How to make Garam Masala?
Before we proceed to the actual recipe for garam masala powder, let us discuss what spices to use and what taste they bring to the masala.
1. Know the Spices
Here is a brief description of spices, helping you understand how they taste and their benefits.
Cardamom holds a special place in spicy as well as sweet delicacies. Any Indian sweet dish is incomplete without cardamom or cardamom powder. You can add whole cardamoms or seeds in garam masala, as per your choice.
Cinnamon is a well-known spice that has healing and soothing properties. Like cardamoms, cinnamon is also used in desserts, especially in cookies and cakes. There are four types of cinnamon: Ceylon, Korintje, Saigon, and Royal, and Ceylon is the healthiest one among all.
Fennel Seeds is an optional spice, and it adds a moderately sweet taste and balances the intense and strong flavours of other herbs.
Another strong spice that adds intense flavour to garam masala is the star anise or biryani flower. It has many different names, like star aniseed, badian, or Chinese star anise. Using star anise in heavy dishes helps avoid indigestion. It has a sweet taste, but it is commonly used in savoury dishes, like soups, broths, stews, and many others.
Mace is yet another spice that brings a strong taste and aroma to garam masala, and it is also called Javitri. It is important to remember that mace and nutmeg are different but are related to each other, as they both originate from the nutmeg tree.
Mace is a lacy or frilly covering of the nutmeg seed. Using only three to four strands of mace enhances the taste of garam masala.
Black cardamoms have a camphor-like solid flavour, and it is called Badi Ilaichi in Hindi. Due to the intense fragrance of black cardamoms, many people avoid using them, and it is a popular spice for curing malaria and stomach disorders.
Cumin and Coriander Seeds
Coriander and cumin seeds are fundamental spice ingredients in Indian cuisines. They are well-known for their medical properties, as they ease digestion, improve blood circulation, and boost the immune system.
Cloves have a mildly sweet, pungent, bitter, and astringent flavour and bring plenty of warmth to Indian cuisines. They are an excellent source of antioxidants and helps the body to fight against free radicals.
Peppercorn is majorly used as a seasoning ingredient, and this flavour enhancer herb has a spicy and hot taste. Using peppercorns in garam masala helps boost digestive health.
Now you know what spices go in garam masala. Let us now see the quantity of each spice to use in making garam masala.
- Cumin seeds – ¼ cup
- Coriander seeds – ½ cup
- Cloves – 2 tablespoons
- Cinnamon – 7 to 8 pieces, each of two inches
- Green cardamoms – 2 tablespoons
- Peppercorns – 1 tablespoon
All these are the basic spices to use. For more strong and aromatic garam masala, you can use the below additional herbs.
- Nutmeg – ½ small
- Mace – 3 strands
- Fennel seeds – 1 tablespoon
- Star anise – 1
- Black cardamom – 2 to 3
- Bay leaves – 3 to 4
3. Cleaning Spices
Before using these spices, make sure to clean them.
- Pick out all stones and debris from coriander, cumin, and fennel seeds. Moreover, crush coriander seeds to check that there are no worms inside.
- Next, break the nutmeg and again check for the worms. When worms are present inside the nutmeg, they turn it hollow.
- Clean cinnamon to make sure that there are no fungi or a kind of larvae.
- Wipe off bay leaves with a cotton cloth to remove the deposits of mud.
- Open the pods of black and green cardamoms and check whether the seeds are fine or not.
4. Making Garam Masala
Prepare Punjabi-style flavoursome garam masala using the below steps.
- Take a heavy-bottomed pan and heat it on a medium flame. Add bay leaves, nutmeg, mace, cloves, peppercorns, star anise, black and green cardamoms, and cinnamon sticks.
- Dry roast all these spices until they leave their fragrance. Make sure not to burn them.
- Once all these spices turn aromatic, move them from the pan to a plate.
- Later, add coriander, fennel, and cumin seeds, and roast them on a medium flame. Switch off the flame and move roasted seeds to the same plate when they start smelling good.
- Cool all the roasted spices before blending them. You can even refrigerate them for around one hour to get them to blend quicker.
- Add these spices to a blending jar and blend them into fine powder. Sieve the spice powder and again blend the coarse one you obtain after sieving.
Punjabi-style aromatic and authentic garam masala is ready. Make sure to store it in an air-tight jar. Depending upon the quality of spices, the colour of garam masala may vary slightly.
How to use Garam Masala in Food?
With the food enhancing capability, garam masala also offers health benefits. As mentioned earlier, using the right amount of it helps to maintain your body’s well-being. If using garam masala for daily food items, adding a pinch will make them delicious and flavourful.
For spicy and savoury dishes, like biryani, paneer recipes, veg curries, masala rice, etc., you can use ¾ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of garam masala. In addition, add one teaspoon of coriander powder with garam masala to make savoury dishes peppery and flavourful.
Make your every dish live and delectable with this Punjabi-style garam masala. This easy to make garam masala enhances your savoury dishes. You can even adjust the quantities of spices according to your taste. In addition, you can skip mace, cloves, peppercorns, and bay leaf, if you have an acidity issue. But skipping these herbs may alter the taste of garam masala.
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