Chitrangada loves the richness of Indian art, culture and traditions. As a writer, she wants to spread information about Indian culture.
The Aromatic, Magical Indian Curry Powder or The Garam Masala mixture
Garam means hot, and Masala means spices!
When I was a little girl, and my mother referred about the Garam masala, in cooking recipes, I thought some masalas have to be heated, and added to a particular recipe.
It was only when I grew up, and started cooking myself, then I realized, what exactly is Garam masala..
There is nothing like the home ground Garam Masala powder, which gives the best Aroma, and colour to your recipes.
Although it is easily available in the grocery shops or the supermarkets, the best ones are those, which are freshly ground at home.
What is Garam masala?
As I have mentioned above, Garam means hot, and Masala means spices. So, the Garam masala, in fact means, Hot Spices.
These spices, which provide Heat and Warmth to the body, are particularly essential to consume Garam masala in the winter season.
The Garam Masala has many other health benefits, besides keeping one warm in the winter season.
Components of the Indian Garam Masala
- Garam Masala can be easily found in retail stores, or any Grocery shop, in various 100 grams. or 200 grams. packets.
- But it is best, when it is freshly grounded. This article gives us an idea, of how it can be very easily prepared at home.
- Garam Masala, or the magical Indian curry masala, is in fact a combination, or a blend of various spices.
- There is no hard and fast rule, as regards to the selection of spices, or even the quantity, thereof. It is a matter of personal choice.
- Normally, five to six Spices combination is everyone' s favourite, when the mixture is prepared at home.
- The basic and the universal choice of spices are, Black Cardamom, Green Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, Black Pepper, Black, and White Cumin seeds.
- The combination of ingredients varies from region to region, family to family, or even person to person.
- It’s quite possible that the combination of different spices is passed on in the family—from grandmothers to mothers to daughters.
Simple Steps To Prepare The Indian Garam Masala
- First of all, take equal quantities, say one tablespoonful each, for ordinary purposes, of Black and White Cumin seeds, Cloves, Black and White Cardamoms, Black Pepper, Cinnamon sticks.
- If you want to prepare a larger amount, it can be done by properly storing it at room temperature.
- Usually you can prepare, as much as they can last for a month, depending upon how frequently you use these in your recipes.
- Slightly roast, about 30 to 40 seconds, not more than a minute, on a flat pan, and remove from heat. This is to release the Aroma of the spices.
- Let the spices cool, and then grind in the dry Grinder of your Food Processor.
- If you want to store for future use, make sure that you use airtight containers to store the Garam Masala, that is completely dry and clean.
- Wipe the bottle with a tissue paper, and close the lid properly, as the Masala will lose its Aroma, if the lid is not closed.
- Store the bottled masala away from direct Sunlight, or heat, and do not bring a wet spoon in contact, while using the mixture in the cooking process.
How to store the Indian Spices/ Garam Masala?
- Store the spices at dry places/ shelves.
- Store the spices at cool places, away from direct Sunlight.
- Store the spices in glass containers, so that you can easily locate them.
- Do not grind a large quantity at one time. Grind only small amount that may last for a week or fortnight.
- The ground spices might lose their aroma if it is exposed frequently.
- Add the ground spices when you have almost finished cooking your recipe.
- The spices will lose its aroma if overcooked/ boiled/ fried.
Please rate my Garam masala mixture recipe
The benefits of the some of the components of Garam Masala
- Cinnamon gives relief from Acidity, and warmth to the body.
- It is beneficial for the ailments related to digestion.
- It helps to fight infections, and is very effective in treating Gynaecological problems.
- It can be used in treatin, swelling in the mouth or mouth ulcers.
Black and Green Cardamom:
- These wonder spices are good for treating Cough, or Bile related ailments.
- These are digestive spices, and effective in Urine related problems, such as burning sensation.
- The cardamoms have wonderful Aroma, and are effective in treating Nausea, as well.
- These are good in treating Heart burn or restlessness.
- Cloves are very beneficial in treating Indigestion, or Nausea.
- Minor skin infections, such as blemishes, and spots can be effectively treated by Cloves.
- This is again good for Digestion, and destroys Toxins from our digestive system.
- It provides heat, and energy to our body, and is effective in treating pain in joints, headache, toothache etc.
Buying and storing spices, source: You tube
How To Use Garam Masala in a recipe?
Garam Masala, or the magical Indian curry powder, is used to enhance the Aroma, and texture of various delicacies of vegetarian, and non vegetarian items, and also to give the colour, true to Indian Cuisine.
- It is added to the recipe, when the recipe is almost done. In other words, it is not to be cooked too much within the recipe, as it may lose its Aroma, or that definite taste, for which it is identified.
- When storing, make sure to keep the Spice mixture in airtight containers, away from direct Sunlight or heat.
- Murg Musullum, Rogan Josh, Chicken or Mutton curry, Kabli Chana, Paneer Kadhai are some of the rich recipes, which we can not imagine without Garam Masala.
- Garam Masala is also added in Pakoras, Soups, Daal, Vegetarian, or Non Vegetarian Biryanis etc.
- As mentinned earlier, in different regions of India, there are additions of one, or more spices to this spice mix.
- Aniseeds, Nutmeg, Coriander seeds, Bay leaf are some of the other favourite add ons, but basically the above components are good enough to prepare an ideal Garam Masala mixture, for regular day to day cooking.
These spice mixtures are widely used not only in India, but some other Asian nations, as well. But the procedure of adding them, in a particular recipe, may vary from person to person, and from place to place.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2014 Chitrangada Sharan
Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on March 24, 2018:
Thanks Peggy, for reading and appreciating the article!
Garam Masala is almost a regular in Indian cooking. I hope this will help you to make your own ground Garam masala. I do make my own, every fortnight.
Many thanks for your positive feedback!
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 24, 2018:
I love the flavor of Garam Masala and have it along with many other spices and herbs in our pantry. I never thought about making it from scratch or altering the flavors according to taste. Thanks for this informative article.
Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on October 20, 2014:
Thank you anglnwu, for reading the hub and commenting!
I am pleased to know that this is helpful to you. Thanks!
anglnwu on October 18, 2014:
I've always wondered about making my own garam massala. Now that I know how to make it, thanks to you, I'm going to try. Thanks for sharing and rated up.
Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on April 25, 2014:
Thanks Denise Handlon, for stopping by!
I am glad to hear that you will be making this recipe. These spices have many health benefits and that is tried and tested.
I hope this helps your friends too.
There must be some temporary problem, because of which you could not vote. I am sorry for that. Thanks for voting up and sharing!
Denise Handlon from North Carolina on April 24, 2014:
I've written the recipe down so I can make a batch to keep on hand. Thanks for the great info here. I especially enjoyed the added benefits. I have friends who can use a taste of this to help get rid of their bronchial problems. :) UP/U/I and shared. BTW I tried to vote but it was not letting me go into it. Oh well. Wonderful read.
Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on March 13, 2014:
Thanks stuff4kids, for reading this hub and your positive feedback!
I am glad that it is useful and you will be making your own Garam Masala from now on.
Thanks and have a good day!
Amanda Littlejohn on March 13, 2014:
Ah this is great!
I love Indian food and have always bought the ready ground/mixed garam Masala from the store before. I have to confess, I never knew that there was so much in it.
The funny thing is that I actually have all the ingredients (Black Cardamom, Green Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, Black Pepper, Black and White Cumin seeds) already in the cupboard. So from now on, I'll be making my own.
And thanks for the hint about popping it in just towards the end of cooking in order to preserve the aroma.
Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on February 02, 2014:
Thanks Vellur, for your visit and comments!
Yes, it has rich aroma, if prepared fresh at home. Thanks again!
Nithya Venkat from Dubai on February 02, 2014:
I always buy ready made garam masala. I think it will be better prepared at home. Will try your recipe, thank you for sharing.
Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on January 27, 2014:
Thanks Deborah Neyens, for your visit and appreciation! I am glad you liked it!
Deborah Neyens from Iowa on January 26, 2014:
This is helpful. I have most of the ingredients already and I love making Indian food. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on January 25, 2014:
Thanks Blond Logic, for visiting this hub and your positive comments!
I am sure you will get the ingredients and ground your own Garam Masala powder.
Glad to meet you! Thanks for the Follow as well!
Mary Wickison from USA on January 25, 2014:
I will definitely try this out if I can source all the ingredients here in rural Brazil. I have tried time and time again to make something resembling a decent tasting curry and although my husband says, "it's okay", they always seem to be lacking something.
One mistake I have been making is adding my 'store bought powdered' spices at the beginning.
Now I know. Thanks for this, very useful.
Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on January 23, 2014:
Thanks aviannovice, for your visit and positive comments!
Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on January 22, 2014:
I have been familiar with this for over a year, and to be honest, I will never give it up.
Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on January 21, 2014:
Thanks CharronsChatter, for your kind visit and support!
I am glad you liked this hub. As I said it is available at supermarkets but are best if prepared by self.
Thanks for your comments!
Karen Robiscoe from California on January 21, 2014:
This is a SUPER relevant post for me, as i try my hand at different fare. I have wondered all the things you mentioned, in your post, and I love the body science behind it, too. I have seen this spice called for, but never knew what it was--or where to get it. Fresh DOES sound best. :)
Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on January 21, 2014:
Thanks thumbi7, for your visit and interesting comments!
JR Krishna from India on January 21, 2014:
It is an interesting hub. Almost every other day we do it.
But you thought of making a hub about it
Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on January 20, 2014:
Thanks vespawoolf, for reading and commenting!
You are right that the ground Garam Masala, looses its flavor, if it is not fresh or stored properly.
And yes, you can vary the quantity of a particular spice, according to your taste. For example in Non vegetarian recipes, I add more Cloves and in Pulao, more green cardamoms can be added. Everyone has their own preferences.
Thanks for your wonderful comments!
Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on January 20, 2014:
I also make my own garam masala. The already ground garam masala sold in U.S. supermarkets is usually flavorless! Once you've ground your own mixture, there's definitely no going back. How interesting that spices can be varied according to one's taste. Thank you for sharing! Now I'm hungry. : )
Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on January 17, 2014:
Thanks carolina muscle, for your visit and comments!
Glad you liked it!
carolina muscle from Charlotte, North Carolina on January 16, 2014:
A useful post -- I love the flavor, thanks !!!!
Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on January 16, 2014:
Thanks Denise Handlon, for appreciating this hub!
I am so pleased that it is useful to you. Thanks for voting up and your continued support! Have a good day!
Denise Handlon from North Carolina on January 16, 2014:
This is an absolutely awesome hub, ChitrangadaSharan. I am so happy you posted this. I've made my own Garam Masala and have loved it. But, I've used it all up and have not found my original recipe. This is so useful to have on hand. :) Rated UP/U/I/A and will share.
Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on January 15, 2014:
Thanks Devika, for your kind visit and comments!
Home ground spices taste wonderful indeed.
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on January 15, 2014:
Great idea for making Garam Masala at home I make sure to have my special spices. It is a simple way to follow and most useful indeed.
Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on January 14, 2014:
I appreciate your visit and kind comments! Pleased to know that you found this effort interesting! Thanks for voting up!
Nell Rose from England on January 14, 2014:
Hi, this was really interesting, I have often used spices in my cooking but didn't know how to grow or prepare my own, great hub, voted up!
Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on January 14, 2014:
Thanks lemonkerdz, for stopping by!
I am glad you liked this hub and would be trying this.
lemonkerdz from LIMA, PERU on January 14, 2014:
very nice hub!! I love making my own curries, but never got as far as making my own garamasala. will be trying this. Thanks for an informative hub.