Garam Masala (Spice Mix)

Often when I make Indian food (and apparently Moroccan), it requires a spice mix that I don’t have–garam masala.  Garam masala means “hot mixture”, but that refers more to the intensity of the spices included then the actual heat–it’s not really a hot spice, more of just a spicy spice.  If that makes any sense. 

As I was making the Moroccan stew a few days ago, the recipe once again called for garam masala, which I (once again) didn’t have.  As I thought about it, I realized that I probably had all the spices used in the mix, and combined with a coffee grinder, I could probably just make my own!

I was right.

Garam Masala (adapted from this recipe)

  • 4 T coriander seeds
  • 1 T cumin seeds
  • 1 T black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 t ground ginger (I didn’t have this, but I will absolutely add it as soon as I get my hands on some)
  • 3/4 t black cardamom
  • 3/4 t cloves
  • 3/4 t cinnamon (two 1″ pieces)
  • 3/4 t crushed bay leaves

If the spices you are using are already ground, simply combine them in a bowl and mix.  For a more authentic (and powerful!) mix, use whole spices, toast them first, and then grind them.

To toast them, heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat and add spices.  Move the spices often by shifting and shaking the skillet so they don’t burn–and don’t be tempted to turn up the heat!  Toasted spices taste good, burnt ones do not.  Once they have all deepened a few shades in color, remove from the heat and let them cool.

I used a few pre-ground spices and some whole, depending on what I had.  I toasted the bay leaves, cardamom, cumin, black peppercorn, and cinnamon.

Let me warn you–toasting spices smell amazing!

The pre-ground spices I added to a bowl to await the others (cloves, coriander, and would have been ginger, if I had it).

Once the spices cool, grind them in a spice/coffee grinder (or a food processor may work). I ground the cinnamon first, then added the rest.

Combine with the other spices, mix, and store in an airtight container.  I had just run out of tandoori masala, so I had a nice almost-correctly labeled container to use.

that's my coffee grinder in the background (thanks, Mom--as always!)

I really don’t know how I lived without a coffee grinder before my mom stepped in.  I use it for everything–grinding oats, grains, spices–everything.

I also wanted to remind you of a recipe from a few months ago:  Not Your Grandmother’s Tuna Salad.  I was scavenging through the cupboards trying to find something (anything!) to make for a quick lunch, and I remembered this recipe.  It’s quick, healthy, and uses up those ingredients that you can usually find in the cabinets when you have nothing else.  It’s not the kind of tuna salad you put in a sandwich, but the actual salad kind.  Lovely!

Wondering what Henry is up to?

Fritz calls this “playing Crock Pot”.  Henry climbs up into those shelves and quietly waits for me to notice him.  He also likes being able to survey the activities of the mere mortals who live beneath him.

I woke up super early this morning because the sun was shining so brightly that there was no way I could go back to bed–too  beautiful!  I’m definitely looking forward to Daylight Saving Time this weekend because I love, love, LOVE when it’s light out past five–plus, it’s much easier to fit in dinner after class without having to set up the lightbox for pictures or rushing to chase daylight.

Enjoy the sunshine today!

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4 Comments

Filed under Spice Mixes

4 responses to “Garam Masala (Spice Mix)

  1. Thank you for this recipe + pics! It never dawned on me that you could actually mix your own garam masala at home. Love the idea of toasting the whole spices to bring out the flavor!

  2. I have to state that my favorite part of this post is the picture of the cat. The recipe looks great, but the cat made me laugh.

  3. mooovu

    thanks for the recipe!

  4. Pingback: Brown Rice and Lentil Pilaf « A Full Measure of Happiness

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