I don’t think it’s a secret that there is an affinity to curry’s in our house. The way they fill the air with the best aroma, how you can make them very quickly or sometimes put them in a slow cooker for later, makes them incredibly versatile and a staple. It was only a natural step that I would start making my own curry recipes.
I started researching different garam masala spice blends to so that I could find my own recipe for garam masala. What I found is that much like any curry recipe, spice blend were more of guidelines than actual rules. It seems each house has their own special blend that is passed down from the previous generation. And my favorite – if you don’t have a spice – improvise!
However, in it’s most basic form – it’s whole spices toasted and then blended. No matter what, you do this!
During my research, I came across a couple different people recommending a garam masala spice blend from Julie Sahni and her book Indian Regional Classics: Fast, Fresh, and Healthy Home Cooking (Ten Speed Press 2001). The general consensus was that it has just the right balance of flavors.
My thought is “why go and change a good thing?” I used her garam masala spice blend for my first venture into curry spice making and it didn’t disappoint.
Related Recipe: Southern Indian Vegetable Curry
Garam Masala Curry Recipe
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons cardamom seeds
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 3-inch stick cinnamon, broken up
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron (optional)
- Put the cumin, coriander, cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon and cloves in a dry heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Toast the spices, stirring occasionally, until they turn several shades darker and give off a sweet, smoky aroma, about 10 minutes. Do not raise the heat to quicken the process, or the spices will brown prematurely, leaving the insides undercooked. Cool completely.
- Working in batches if necessary, transfer the mixture to a spice mill or coffee grinder and grind to a powder. Stir in the nutmeg and saffron. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to six months.