Though not much is known about the history of garam masala, it is mentioned in Maragaret Shaida’s The Legendary Cuisine of Persia which says “Garam masala is derived from the Persian garm meaning hot and masaleh meaning ingredients or materials.” Its presence in most dishes on mughal origin suggest that it could be an import of Indo-Islamic rulers.
The fact that most of the spices in it were the expensive traded ones, like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, mace and saffron rather than cheaper locally grown ones like coriander, cumin and ginger, throws up the possibility that garam masala was originally used by the cooks in the kitchens of nobles, rather than in ordinary homes.
Why should I be aware of this?
The combination of spices used in garma masala offers many beneficial properties.
- Cinnamon is anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory, and it may help boost brain function and control blood sugar in people with diabetes.
- Cumin is an excellent source of iron, it aids digestion and it has cancer-fighting properties.
- Coriander is sometimes referred to as an "anti-diabetic" plant because it helps control blood sugar. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and it helps lower cholesterol.
All about garam masala
Garam masala is a mixture of aromatic spices widely used in Indian cooking; Typically, garam masala includes cumin, coriander, cardamom, black pepper and cinnamon, but may also included nutmeg or bay leaves, depending on whether meat, fish or vegetables are being cooked.
The actual ingredient or the ratio might vary slightly depending on the region it is used, the cuisine it is to be added in and the personal taste.
Serving Size 1 tsp
- Calories -- 0
- Total Fat 0.0 g or 0 %
- Total Carbohydrate < 1 g 0 %
- Protein < 1 g 0 %
What can I do?
- A standard Garam Masala can be found easily in international section of any big groceries store or in any Indian or South Asian stores.
- Garam masala must be added in small quantities, or else it will overpower the dish.
A common recipe for garam masala
- 30 green cardamom pods
- 15 cloves (laung)
- 5 black cardamom pods
- 4 pieces mace
- 4 pieces cinnamon (2.5 squared cm)(dalchini)
- 5 tbsp cumin seeds (jeera)
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds (dhaniya)
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds (saunf)
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
- Place all the spices in a dry-frying pan or skillet and heat over a very low heat, stirring constantly. As soon as the aroma from the spices begins, remove the pan from the heat. This step is to release the aromatic oils from the spices.
- Working with only a small quantity at a time, put the spices in an electric blender to grind it to a fine powder. Remove the cardamom pod skins. Allow to cool.
- Store the Garam Masala in an air-tight container. As long as the container is tightly closed after each use, it should last for a long time.