I promised I’d post the recipe for my garam masala spice blend today. Then when I went to post it, I remembered I didn’t use a recipe last time. I just took the ingredient list from the packet of already blended garam masala I’d emptied, and just guessed on ratios based on the order of the ingredients on the list. The mix turned out really well, so I didn’t worry about it too much. Until today, when I realized that guessing and blogging aren’t always a good combination.
So I decided to look up a recipe in one of my many cookbooks. First I learned that there is no standard recipe for garam masala. Each cook has her own blend. I also learned that the blend tastes much better when you make it completely from scratch–which is to say, you toast the whole spices yourself, then grind them in a food processor or coffee grinder. As I don’t have a coffee grinder and my food processor is pretty weak, most recipes that I could find for the blend were therefore much less useful to me.
Then I searched online for recipes. I found a lot of different ideas, and the blends most definitely vary from cook to cook, with some rather exotic ingredients, like crumbled rose buds. I pulled out all the spices I had on hand mentioned in the various recipes, to tweak whatever recipe I settled on, and finally found one on allrecipes.com for “Easy Garam Masala.” I’m going to post that recipe here, but I’ll also describe my adjustments to that. I find that usually the more variety and amount of spices in my food, the better.
Easy Garam Masala (from www.allrecipes.com)
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Because there’s no toasting or grinding involved, the directions are simple: “Mix cumin, coriander, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg in a bowl. Place mix in an airtight container, and store in a cool, dry place.”
I blended the above recipe in double quantities and then added a few ingredients of my own, culled from various garam masala recipes I’d seen in my research. I left out ingredient suggestions that I didn’t have in my pantry or that would be difficult to blend without a spice grinder–bay leaves, fenugreek, rosebuds, and dried chile peppers, for example. Here were my additions:
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp tumeric
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp mace
When I’d thoroughly mixed everything, I gave it a sniff test, and based on my memory of the blend I’d had before, added another 1 tsp cardamom and 1 tsp black pepper. I’m pretty satisfied with the result, and am eager to see how it tastes the next time I cook with it.
**For storage I reuse an empty glass spice jar. I prefer glass over plastic for storage of any food, especially spices, as glass is not as absorbent of colors or odors, is not as affected by heat, and doesn’t off-gas any potentially harmful chemicals into my food. I love my spices–I’d be devastated if I lost them all–and therefore I try to take really good care of them.**