1/2 cup coriander seeds
1/4 cup cumin seeds
25-30 green cardamom pods
6-8 tsp mace
5-6 cinnamon sticks (2 inch stick)
2 Star Anise
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 tbsp sesame seed (khuskhus)
10 bay leaves
Indians are known all over the world for their artful use of spices. We are always trying to spice things a little bit up, whether it be a Saas-Bahu drama, the politics of the country or our food. And where is all the fun in life if there’s no masala? And not to mention, the favourite masala of this country is the red-chilli masala!
To appreciate the popularity of spices or masala in the country just take a look at our most famous dishes: Paneer Tikka Masala, Chicken Tikka Masala, MirchikeKofte, Masala Papad and many, many more. India is the country with the most number of spices used on a daily basis.
The heart of any dish depends on the spices that are used. The flavour of a dish not only depends on choice of preparation methods used for the different ingredients, but also the aroma and flavour of the spices used in that dish. Masala whether it is garam masala or any other masala is used in tandem with each other. It can be used either in a sabzi(stew) or dal (lentils).
One of the key to great tasting garam masala is understanding the correct proportions/composition of the different spices that go into making the garam masala spice mix. We live in the land of spices. Since ancient times we have been known for the spices that we traded. In fact the discovery of India by Vasco de Gama was because of the spices that were grown here. Dishes in the Indian cuisine always use a plethora of spices. It would be very difficult to find one that has none.
Different parts of the world have slightly different access to different spices. In this section I am going to share with you the most commonly accepted garam masala mix across India. The best garam masala is made fresh before cooking. However, to save time, one can make a batch and the dry masala mix in an air tight container for up to several months.
Health Benefits :
Normally, one tbsp serving of any typical masala contains 8 calories. The amount of fat is negligible, carbohydrates are approximately 2 grams and there is also traces of calcium and iron. The masalas are a very rich source of sodium.
Spices not only stimulate our taste buds, they are also very good for our body. They are rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, essential oils, minerals and vitamins. Many of the active particles in masala promote anti-clogging traits in blood cells and they can help provide some comfort to sore throats. Remember the ‘Haldiwaladoodh’ we used to take to treat the common cold!
If you are a fan of raw masala and want some for your lunch box, pack some in the tight grip of a lunch box and enjoy some spice with your food!
This recipe below yields about 1 jar and is extremely simple to make.
How to make Masala
Spices have been used in food and medicine since the ancient times. Culinary spices and herbs have been used as both a preservative and also health enhancing products. Spices have also played a major role in Ayurveda science. Because of its varied and significant applications, spices have become valued commodities. Various compositions of spices have been used in various culinary applications to improve taste and flavour.
Spice mix or ‘Masala’, as it is called in India is a blend of spices, either dry roasted or mixed like a paste with other ingredients such as garlic, onion etc. It is best to blend the ingredients fresh right before you add to the dish you are making. It adds so much depth to the flavour, aroma and texture of the whole dish.
The masala, like many things piquant, traces its origin to South Asia, but there are several adaptations in various other countries and we are now seeing a rising demand for the likes of masala flavoured foods from India.
The spice mixes or masala from some other countries are – Advieh from Iran, Berbere from Ethiopia, Garam Masala from India, Hawaji from Yemen, Montreal Steak Seasoning from Great Britain and many more.