Garam Masala/ Indian Spice Blend

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Every country has its own signature spice blend, whether it is  garam masala( Indian spice blend)  or Chinese five spices, Thai curry mix, American barbeque sauce or Cajun spice. Most of these spices are based on the regions age old traditions. I am a masala/spice blend fanatic, who loves to try all the various kinds. I was not like that when I was in India; at that time cooking was an alien thing to me. I started cooking as a necessity, which then it becomes my passion.

I am from southern part of India, Kerala, which is a land of spices. Even history shows that because of the availability of various spices, Portuguese, Dutch and British came at first as traders for spices, and ended up as invaders.
I usually buy garam masala from the store. But this weekend while shopping, I forgot to add it to my list and hence had no gram masala at home. But I had all the ingredients to make them in the pantry. So decide to make them my own. Trust me homemade masala has lot more aroma than the store-bought one. If I can help it, I am not going to buy any more garam masala from the stores.
Garam masala in Hindi means hot spice blend, it is pungent but not spicy. It is usually used alone or with other spices as part of North Indian cooking. In Kerala, garam masala is used in non-vegetarian dishes and vada kootu curry, whereas for most of the other dishes, masala are made instantly with cumin, coconut and red or green chilies. Garam masala has its own regional difference based on the addition or substitution of spice combination.

Earlier I had made Kerala garam masala for my vada kootu curry recipe. Here is the link and detailed recipe. This time I wanted to try Punjabi Garam masala. I adapted it from Raghavan Iyer’s 660 curries. In that book he has given spice blend of different type of garam masala’s. I think Rajasthani garam masala is spicier than other counterparts, with the most aromatic being the one from Kerala, followed by Kashmiri garam masala. However in the book there is no recipe for Kerala garam masala, it is from my recipe collection.

Garam masala is usually made from spices that are dry roasted and then ground into fine powder. However, Bengali and Rajasthani gram masala are made with non-toasted ingredients, where as Kashmiri garam masala contains some spices that are toasted. If you can make fresh and then use it immediately then it will be great, otherwise make a small batch and store in dry cool place away from excess heat, humidity and light.
One year ago: Anadama bread

Here the  pictures showing making of Punjabi Garam masala

Final product

Punjabi garam masalaBangala garam masalaRajasthani garam masalaMaharashtrian garam masalaKashmiri garam masalaKerala garam masala
Makes : ¼ cup3 Tablespoon3 Tablespoon1 cup¼ cup2 Tablespoon
1 tablespoon coriander seeds1 teaspoon whole cloves½ teaspoon black pepper corns½ cup raw skinless peanuts1 teaspoon cumin seeds2 cinnamon sticks 2 inches
1 teaspoon cumin seeds½ teaspoon of cardamom from green or black pods½ teaspoon black cumin seeds2 tablespoon white sesame seeds2 cinnamon sticks each 3 inch long broken into small piecesCardamom pods:8no
1 teaspoon whole cloves3 cinnamon sticks of 3 inches long broken in smaller pieces¼ teaspoon whole cloves1 teaspoon cumin seeds1 teaspoon fennel seedsWhole cloves: 8no
½ teaspoon black pepper corns¼ teaspoon of cardamom seeds from green or white pods8 to 10 dried red or cayenne chilies, to taste stems removed1 teaspoon black pepper cornsNutmeg:1/8thteaspoon
½ teaspoon of cardamom1 or 2 dried bay leaves¼ teaspoon nutmeg shavings1 teaspoon ground gingerBay leaves: 1no
3 cinnamon sticks of 3 inches long broken in smaller pieces2 tablespoon dried mint leaves, crushed or crumbled2 to 3 blades mace½ teaspoon black cumin seedsFennel seeds:1 teaspoon
3 fresh or dried bay leaves1 teaspoon ground Kashmiri chilies or ¼ teaspoon cayenne ( ground red pepper) mixed with ¾ teaspoon sweet paprika¼ cup shredded dried unsweetened coconut½ teaspoon whole clovesCaraway seeds: 1 teaspoon
½ teaspoon ground ginger½ teaspoon ground nut megStar anise: 1 no
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg4 blades mace, or ¼ teaspoon ground maceMace 1 teaspoon
½ teaspoon ground maceSeeds from 4 black cardamom pods.
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dry roast all ingredients until cumin and coriander turn reddish brown, cloves , pepper corns and cardamom turn ash-black and cinnamon and bay leaves appear brittle and crinkly
For about 1 to 2 minutes
Grind into a spice blender and into coarse powder, sieve in between and grind the again to form a
Coarse powder
Grind pepper corns, cumin, cloves, cardamom and bay leaves in a spice grinder until fine powder and then mix the rest of ingredients and store in slight sealed contain from excess light, heat , and humidity up to 2 monthsPreheat a small skillet over the medium-high heat, add all the ingredients expect the coconut and toast, shaking every few seconds, until the peanuts and sesame seeds turns honey brown, and chilies blacken slightly and smell pungent, 3 to 4 minutes the chilies aroma will be masked by sweet smelling nutmeg and mace Preheat a small skillet over the medium-high heat, add cumin and cinnamon, and toast, shaking every few seconds,
Cumin seeds turn reddish brown, the cinnamon sticks appear brittle and the mixture is highly fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
Dry roast all ingredients for 1 minutes,
Transfer, cool and ground into fine powderTransfer everything into plate, and return the skillet to heat and toast the coconut for about 15 seconds, it will immediately start to turn almond brown add the coconut to pile of toasted peanuts and other spices once they cool enough to touch ground them into fine powder. Transfer everything into plate, and once they are cool enough to touch place it spice grinder along with
Other spices and ground them into a fine powder.
Store the dark brown spice powder into a tightly sealed container.
Transfer, cool and grind into fine powder
ToastedNot ToastedNot ToastedToastedSome are toasted and some not toasted.Toasted

Preparation time: 5 minutes Verdict: Yummy Will you make it again: Yes I will

I am linking this to Hearth and soul blog hop #61 hosted here

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  1. says

    Hey a very informative post….loved the way you have explained everything including the table.bookmarked this page for future reference…Thanks dear..:)

  2. says

    Thank you for the GREAT tutorial! I’m so looking forward to learning Indian Cuisine now that I was pushed into making my very first Indian dish with the Daring Cooks :)

  3. says

    At last my search has come to stop..i got what i was searching…Thanks for sharing this Swathi…bookmarked this..

  4. says

    I am so glad to finally have a recipe for this. I brought a wonderful mix backfrom India but it is nearly gone and not available locally. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  5. says

    Thanks Swathi for this table. Very useful. I usually make the Punjabi garam masala as it seems the most generally used one to have on hand, but I’m always intrigues by the maharashtran one with the peanuts.Maybe I just have to make them all ..!

  6. says

    wow…useful resource…useful table…where this page is bookmarked…..think…gonna visit this page often for sure….i asked myself “is there many types of garam masala recipes?!!!” n now ur post says “yes there r, here it is!!!”.. thnx for sharing such a aromatic post ….Meena’s Kitchen