Garam masala powder is an aromatic and flavorful spice mix used especially in Indian foods to flavor dishes like biryani, pulav, curries, dal, sabzi etc. Garam masala is a mixture of various aromatic spices which are roasted and ground to powder. Adding little fresh garam masala powder enhances the taste, texture and flavor of your dish.
Garam means warm/hot and masala means spice mix. So garam masala literally means warm/hot spice mix. Spices used in the preparation have warming properties and does not refer to spiciness. As per Ayurveda, garam masala has a balance of all six tastes and also promotes our overall health. Few benefits of these spices are; it can lower sugar levels, improves digestion, reduces bloating, helps in weight loss, relieves gas & heat burn, soothes upset stomach, aids in detoxification etc.
There are many brands of garam masala powders which are easily available in the market. But nothing can be as good as freshly prepared homemade powders. Homemade garam masala powder has a rich and strong flavor when compared to the store bought ones. It is also safe as there are no additives or preservatives used.
There are many variations to garam masala powder and each region or household in India has their own style of preparing it. The ingredients used can vary with region or one’s personal choice. However, the spices which are commonly used in the preparation include coriander seeds, bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, green cardamom, black pepper and cumin/jeera or fennel. Spices like mace, star anise, nutmeg and black cardamom and whole pepper are also included and few also use turmeric, red chillies, dry ginger, rose petal and asafoetida too.
While preparing garam masala powder, make sure you pick only fresh spices. Clean them to remove any stones or husks. Cleaned spices can be either sun dried or dry roasted. If sun drying the spices, place them in the sun for 3-4 days. If you prefer roasting your spices, then roast each of them separately on a low flame until you smell the aroma without burning them. Both the ways helps to bring out all the flavors from the spices and our garam masala powder will be more fragrant and aromatic than any store bought ones.
Similar fresh homemade powders you will like: homemade sambar powder, rasam powder, kerala sambar powder, biryani powder, dry garlic chutney powder.
You can use this aromatic garam masala powder in recipes like: capsicum masala, paneer tikka, potato kurma, veg biryani, aloo palak gravy, soya masala curry, soya chunks pulav, egg masala curry, chicken kurma, Tangri kababs, dum chicken gravy etc.
¼ cup coriander seeds/dhaniya
2 tbsp whole black pepper corns /kali mirch/menasu
2 bay leaves /tej patta /biriyani ele
4-5 sticks cinnamon (2 inch each) /dalchini/chakke
2 tbsp cloves /laung/lavanga
15-20 pods green cardamom/ elaichi /elakki
1 black cardamom /badi elaichi
1 tbsp fennel seeds/saunf
3 star anise /chakra phool /ananas hoovu
1 mace /javitri /japathre
½ tsp nutmeg /jaiphal /jakayi
- Clean each spice separately by checking for stones or any husks. Remove any dirt from bay leaf and mace by wiping it off using a clean cloth.
- To check if coriander seeds are fresh, just crush few seeds and see if any worms inside. Break cinnamon into pieces. This way you can also see if there are any fungi or dirt inside the layers of cinnamon.
- Break open the nutmeg to see if it is fresh and free from worms. Sometimes nutmeg will turn hollow after being eaten up by worms, so break and then grate it.
- Now once all the spices are cleaned up, place them all on a clean dry cloth. You can also spread them on a clean plate. Keep it under hot sun for 3-4 days. Keep turning the spices now and then.
- Add all the sun dried spices to a mixer jar and grind it to fine powder. You can sieve the powder and grind the bits again. Let the ground garam masala powder cool down completely before storing it.
- If you do not want to sundry the spices, you can dry roast them too. Heat a pan and on a low flame roast each ingredient separately until you get a nice aroma of the spices.
- Transfer them to a plate and let it cool completely. Once the spices are cooled down, put them in a mixer jar and grind it to fine powder. You can grind it in two batches too.
- The ground garam masala powder can be sieved and the leftover small bits of spices can be ground again. Spread the garam masala powder on a plate and let it cool down.
- Store garam masala powder in clean airtight container preferably glass or steel containers. Use dry spoon while using the powder.
- Use Homemade Garam Masala Powder to prepare any veg or non-veg dishes.
- Pick always fresh spices and clean them to remove dust, stones and other debris.
- Spices can be either sun dried or dry roasted.
- If dry roasting, keep the flame on low and fry them until nice aroma but without burning the spices.
- Roasted spices can be ground in one or two batches.
- Store garam masala powder in an airtight container. It stays fresh for 3-4 months at room temperature.
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