garam masala – an important indian spice blend that is a must in every indian kitchen. the humble dal or sabzi are taken to another level when you add a little of garam masala in these. garam masla is a very important part of most punjabi recipes like chole, paneer butter masala, kadai paneer, palak paneer, rajma, mah ki dal, kadhi pakora, pindi chana, malai kofta and so on.
in english garam means warm and masala means a blend of spices…. so the words garam masala translates to a warm spice blend . the coining of these two words is true as the spices that are used in making the garam masala make the body warm. they also have medicinal properties. a few weeks back i received a request from a reader for punjabi garam masala. even before the request came i was thinking of making the garam masala and post about it too. the garam masala which my mother had made and given to me is on the verge of getting over. so i had no option but to make a fresh batch of garam masala.
this punjabi garam masala is my mom in law’s recipe. every punjabi home have their own garam masala recipe. when we make the garam masala, we don’t roast the spices. we just sun dry them and then powder the spices. roasting the spices, will make your garam masala more aromatic than this one. if you want you can lightly dry roast the spices instead of sun drying them. but don’t roast the dry ginger and big cardamoms. i added a dash of garam masala to the palak pakoras and the masala rice i had made a few days ago and wow… what pakoras and masala rice were they. thats the power of a homemade garam masala or for that matter any homemade masala or spice blend mix. don’t ever ever buy readymade garam masala. they are horrible and adulterated too. more about adulteration on my coriander powder post here.
whatever masala or powder you use in your food, make them at home. be it sambar powder, rasam powder or even chai masala powder. i usually add 1/4 teaspoon garam masala in the dals, sabzis or curries i make for a servings of 2-3. the homemade garam masala powder is so strong that you should not add too much of garam masala in your dishes. it will spoil the taste of the whole food. just a little does the job and balances the aroma, taste and flavors in the food very well. a pic below of the spices used for making the punjabi garam masala.
step by step method of making the punjabi garam masala at home:
1: pick the cumin and coriander for are any stones. spread the spices in a thali/parat or a plate. 2: keep the plate with the whole spices in sunlight for 2-3 days. turn over the spices sometimes when they are getting the sun light. 3: in a very good dry grinder or coffee grinder, first grind the dry ginger with indian bay leaves. dry ginger is the toughest to grind. so i always grind it first. you can also use ginger powder instead of dry whole ginger. you can still see a small bit of dry ginger still left after grinding. 4: the next difficult one to grind is the nutmeg. now in the same jar add the cinnamon sticks and whole nutmeg. the cinnamon sticks should be broken and added to the dry grinder. you can grate the nutmeg and also add. your choose what suits you the best. 5: grind these spices to a fine powder. remove in a bowl. 6: now add the rest of the spices to the dry grinder. 7: grind these too to a fine powder. 8: add it to the bowl where the previously powdered dry ginger, nutmeg, indian bay leaves and cinnamon were kept. mix very well. 9: store garam masala in an air-tight container. keeps well for a year.
garam masala recipe details given below: