The spices, cultivated in India and appreciated across the globe are used in cooking in various ways. Different preparations have a different spice mix, variously treated, ground or roasted or as a whole. Each dish has a unique taste and fragrance.
Here, at Saffron Fine Indian Cuisine when we talk about authentic Indian food we talk about the freshness and rawness of the flavours and aromas packed with all their health benefits. Some of the most appreciated and loved Indian Cuisines Dal makhani, tandoori chicken, samosas, Paneer tikka, mushroom do pyaza, Punjabi Kadhi is an example of this aroma and flavour.
A mixture of hot (garam) spices (masala), the quintessential seasoning that gives the distinguished aroma and flavour to these Indian delicacies is Garam Masala. A flavorful seasoning that can make any boring food, delicious and aromatic.
Ingredients of Garam masala are not that spicy, but hot, and aid release of digestive juices thus improving digestion and metabolism of food. These warm spices are good for digestive health and especially helpful to get through cold winter months in the subcontinent.
It is a readily available spice mix at many supermarkets and Indian stores. But making your very own mix, choosing the fresh and high-quality organic spices, keeping the flavours and aroma intact is a savoury art. Today we will share with you the recipe of this homemade garam masala, which comes straight from our chef’s kitchen.
Ingredients of Garam Masala
Its recipe has slight variations across the Indian subcontinent, but the soul and purpose are the same. You ask anyone and they will agree that the homemade masala is much better than the store-bought one. Every Indian home will have a jar of garam masala and they take pride in having a unique recipe of their own, which has been passed down the generations. The recipe handed over to his mom by his grandma is our chef’s personal favourite and a family legacy.
The list of ingredients is as follows:
1. Cumin seeds (100g)
2. Black peppercorns (100g)
3. Coriander seeds(100g)
4. Cinnamon (4-5 sticks)
5. Cloves (8-10),
6. long pepper (4-5 sticks)
7. Black cardamom (4-5)
How to make it?
There are two types of garam masala
· Pakka (Cooked) Garam masala – All the ingredients are roasted in a hot pan. Spices dry and become crispy, releasing natural oils and aroma. Then this mixture is cooled and ground in a grinder (or a pestle and mortar traditionally) and stored in a dry airtight container. This mixture can be used for seasoning directly and needs no further cooking with the food.
· Kachha (Raw) Garam Masala – All the ingredients are sun-dried or oven-dried. Once the moisture dries out and the spices become crispy they are blended and stored in an airtight container. This should be preferably tempered along with onion and ginger-garlic.
Drying the ingredients on muslin cloth at the rooftop, and then in a pestle mortar blending the spices filled the home with an earthy, sweet, spicy, hot, woody aroma. Many people still prefer this traditional way over using an electric blender.
A little amount of this masala adds the flavour and aroma to Indian food for which it is so famous.
Health Benefits of Garam Masala
1. One major benefit as we discussed is, it aids digestion. The odour of these masalas stimulates neurons to trigger the release of gastric juices and stimulate the appetite. Cumin and cloves in garam masala keep flatulence, constipation and indigestion at bay, and also prevent acidity. Pepper and cardamom further aid digestion.
2. The phytonutrients in these spices and condiments help in boosting metabolism. The various minerals in these ingredients also improve bodily functions.
3. Garam Masala is rich in antioxidants and helps in flushing out toxins from the body, acting as a body cleanser.
4. As the garam masala helps in fortifying the overall health of the digestive tract, it also helps in fighting bad breath and related issues.
5. And the various ingredients have been studied to be good for cardiac and mental health.
6. The anti-inflammatory properties of its ingredients have also been researched upon, and results are positive.
Though the quantity intake and the ingredients vary, its health benefits are known.
This perfectly healthy spice mix is sometimes blamed for causing ulcers and indigestion, which causes Indian food to be labelled unhealthy for the stomach. But this is to be remembered, in case of garam masala “Little is more”, adding just a pinch of it should make the difference. The quantity intake should be further reduced in hot summers, and it should cause no problems.
Spices thus not only add to the diversity of flavours but are also healthy.
So next time planning for an Indian meal prep, give this traditional masala a try and tell us below in comments how was your experience.
And for trying out different Indian preps visit Saffron Fine Indian Cuisine, Middletown Orange County, New York. You may dine-in or take away. We also offer free delivery within four miles’ radius.
You may also explore the varied tastes in vegetarian and vegan dishes we offer.
We also offer catering services.
Saffron Banquet hall is open to host gatherings and festivities.
A healthy body is a home to a healthy mind. And Saffron Fine Indian Cuisine brings a wholesome, healthy meal to your plates.