When I left Bangladesh, my cooking skills were close to zero but I was aware of the flavors of most spices. When I first started cooking in the US, even as a novice cook, I could tell that the authentic and original aroma of the spices just did not exist on the prepackaged spice powders and pastes available at the stores. I tried many brands and many stores but never found a difference between prepackaged cumin powder vs coriander powder or garlic paste vs ginger paste. Everything appeared bland. Seriously, is that even possible or were my smell nerves just impaired back then?
Eventually, I switched to grinding whole spices and making pastes at home for cooking. The taste and the aroma of all of dishes elevated tremendously and instantly when using homemade spice mixes. Now, I only buy whole spices and grind them in a coffee grinder or make a paste in a food processor. The time it takes to make the masalas(spices) at home is negligible. I can start the stove and while the pan is heating up, I can grind up some fresh aromatic masala mix. Even if I make a big batch for three or six months and store in an airtight container, I find the fragrance of the spice is hundred times better than the store brought ones.
Garam Masala is an essential spice in a Bengali kitchen. The word “garam masala” translates to “hot spice” though there is nothing hot, such as pepper, in the spice mix. It is a warm and exotic spice mix but not hot in taste. It is a combination of different spices and there are many variations of recipes out there. I found the spice combinations to be different depending on the brand at Bangladeshi or Indian grocery stores in the US. The famous spice brand McCormick also has a variation of this spice mix. Kankana of “Sunshine and Smile” and Shoma of “eCurry” has garam masala recipe on their blog but I found the mix slightly different than what I saw my mom using, so I thought I would do a post of garam masala as it is a must spice mix for various meat and rice dishes in my cooking.
The garam masala that I know of consists of cumin, coriander, clove, black cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaf. There are two kinds of cardamom, a green, small kind and a black, bigger than the green kind. I have always seen my mom using the black one in garam masala mix. Also, many recipes call for exotic spices such as mace, nutmeg, etc. which I have always seen my mom using in special dishes but not in everyday garam masala mix.
Garam masala can be used as whole or powder. If used whole, it is tempered in oil in the beginning of cooking whereas the powder form is only sprinkled on the dish during cooking. Stay tuned for some great uses of this masala.
1/2 cup coriander
1/2 cup cumin
2-3 stick of cinnamon
7-8 black cardamom
2-3 bay leaves
- Break the cinnamon sticks into smaller pieces (optional).
- Mix all the spices and dry roast in low medium heat. About 5 minutes stirring continuously to prevent burn.
- Let cool.
- Using a food processor or coffee grinder grind them to dust.
- Store in an air tight container.
- Mix all the ingredients and store in airtight container if the recipe calls for whole garam masala mix(example : pulao, khichuri, etc.)
- I use a manual can opener to break the cinnamon sticks for easier grinding.
- Be cautious when roasting so that the spices do not burn.
- Garam masala can last 6+ months in an airtight container.
১/২ কাপ ধনে
১/২ কাপ জিরা
২-৩ টি দারুচিনি
৭-৮ কালো এলাচ
১. দারুচিনি ছোট টুকরা করুন।
২. সব মশলা মাঝারি তােপ একটু ভেজে নিন। ৫ মিনিেটর কাছাকাছি।
৩. মশলা ঠান্ডা হলে, ফুড প্রসেসেরে পাউডার করুন।
প্রয়োজনিও কিছু টিপস্ এর জনে্য দয়াকরে আটির্কেল অথবা ইংরেজি রেসিপির নোট সেকশন টা একটু দেখে নেবেন।