Saturday, March 26, 2011

Garam Masala

2 T cumin seeds
2 T coriander seeds
2 T cardamom seeds
2 T black peppercorns
1 (3-inch) stick cinnamon, broken up
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon saffron (optional)


4 T coriander seeds
1 T cumin seeds
1 T black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons black cumin seeds (shahjeera)
1 1/2 teaspooms dry ginger
3/4 teaspoon black cardamom (approximately 3 to 4 large pods)
3/4 teaspoon cloves
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon (2-inch by 1-inch pieces)
3/4 teaspoon crushed bay leaves

Preparing the garam masala:
Put the cumin, coriander, cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon, and cloves in a dry heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Toast the spices, stirring occasionally, until they turn several shades darker and give off a sweet smoky aroma, about 10 minutes. Do not raise the heat to quicken the process, or the spices will brown prematurely, leaving the insides undercooked. Cool completely.

Working in batches if necessary, transfer the mixture to a spice mill or coffee grinder and grind to a powder. Stir in the nutmeg and saffron. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

OR< Preparation: Heat a heavy skillet on a medium flame and gently roast all ingredients (leave cardamom in its pods till later) except the dry ginger, they they turn a few shades darker. Stir occasionally. Do not be tempted to speed up the process by turning up the heat as the spices will burn on the outside and remain raw on the inside. When the spices are roasted turn of the flame and allow them to cool. Once cooled, remove the cardamom seeds from their skins and mix them back with all the other roasted spices. Grind them all together, to a fine powder in a clean, dry coffee grinder. Store in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place. Garam masala keeps for 3 months. Makes about 1/2 cup


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