I’ve held out long enough. I always avoid grinding my own spices, because I haven’t wanted to re-purpose my coffee bean grinder. I’m not sure why. I no longer own a coffeemaker (I was really over-caffeinated for a couple years there), so the scenario of me grinding my own coffee beans doesn’t really exist anymore. So, I finally broke down and decided to whip up my own, personal, tasty little garam masala recipe. The lack of this spice has stood between me and too many excellent Indian dishes for too long. Not so this week, as I prepared to have Samosafest ’09. I’m also looking forward to what this might deliver when I make chicken curry next.
“Garam masala” means “hot spice.” Not hot in the sense of spicy, but hot as in cooked. Garam masala is often cooked or added to a paste of aromatics in the pan, intensifying the aromas and infusing the dish with perfumed flavors. It’s pungent, and it smells divine. Traditionally, all cooks have their own recipe; it’s the secret weapon in great home cooking. I’ve made a nice sized batch, and I am keeping it in an airtight container in my spice cabinet. My intent is to use it all within the next month or two so that it retains as much of its flavor as possible. I’ve already spiked some puff pastry samosas with it.
- 1 T green cardamom pods
- 1 3″ long cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
- 2 T cumin seeds
- 1 tsp whole cloves
- 1 T black Tellicherry peppercorns
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 1/2 T coriander seeds
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 dried red chili
Grind all spices together in a coffee bean grinder until they are finely ground. If desired, pour spices through a sieve to remove any remaining large pieces. Store in an airtight container in a dark place. Use within 2-3 months for freshest flavor.
Makes 1/3 cup.