Garam Masala, which literally means warm (garam) spices (masala), is a blend of spices that is very common in some parts of India. The exact spices and proportions vary by region and according to family traditions, and most Indian cooks will have their own carefully guarded family recipe. Garam Masala does not generally have a lot of heat. The “warm” in the name refers to the warming effect the spices have on the body according to the principles of the Ayurvedic diet.
Garam Masala can be added to a dish at various stages of the cooking process, depending on the dish and on the cook’s preference. Sometimes the powder is fried in oil or ghee to release its flavour at the beginning of cooking; sometimes it is added to a curry part way through cooking; sometimes it is sprinkled on top at the end to finish a dish. We love this blend so much that we use it as a condiment all over the place: on eggs, on potatoes, even on pizza and pasta. You’d be surprised at its versatility.
Our Garam Masala is sold both whole and ground, and is hand-mixed from a variety of spices, including cumin, green cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and mace. We recommend buying the whole version as this allows you to roast the mixture before you use it, which will greatly enhance its flavour. To do this, put a few tablespoons of whole Garam Masala in a dry frying pan and heat over low heat, stirring constantly. Take the pan off the heat as soon as the spices begin to release their aroma – be careful not to burn them as they will turn bitter. Once the spices have cooled down, grind them to a powder and the blend is ready to go. We actually do this with the whole jar – that way it’s ready when needed.
Ingredients: cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, nutmeg, mace.