Sunday, 9 February 2014

Garam Masala - The Homemade way

Growing up watching my mother cook in the kitchen was always interesting to me.  I never quite understood all the roasting and grinding of various spices.  "What was the difference?" I always thought.

Then one day all her explaining made sense - it was when I had to cook my very first Biryani, I was 19 Years old.

Somph or Fennel, featured very prominently in the mix. 
Other ingredients are Bay Leaves, cinnamon sticks, elaichi (Cardamom - The green ones or white ones AND the huge black one), some cloves and Star Aniseed.  I have noticed that the pack I have bought, does not include the big black cardamom nor does it include cloves. I will have to add those ingredients before making my own Garam Masala.  

These days, one can buy the Garam Masala already ground, but the problem I have, is that it isn't quite like the one made at home.  I do with Garam Masala what my mum and her mother used to do.  
  1. First pre-heat the oven to 120 deg Celsius alternatively place ingredients in a large frying pan (the problem with roasting the ingredients in the pan is that it takes a lot of time to continuously stir the ingredients to avoid burning. Roasting in the oven is by far the best way.)
  2. Empty the whole ingredients into a roasting pan
  3. Evenly distribute the ingredients to cover the base of the pan
  4. Place the pan with the ingredients into the oven 
  5. Allow to roast for 20(twenty) minutes. 
  6. Ensure that the ingredients do not burn - keep an eye out and stir if necessary.
  7. Remove from oven and then allow the ingredients to cool.
  8. Using a coffee grinder, gradually grind all ingredients, as the coffee grinder can only take a couple tablespoons of ingredients at a time and then store in an air tight container for use as required.

The label of the Garam Masala in my Late Mom's hand writing. Don't have the heart to re label it.

I do the roasting of two of my other spices in the same way eg. Jeera seeds (Cumin), Dhaniya seeds (Coriander). I always keep whole roasted Jeera and Somph (Fennel seeds) for use in curries as well as Biryanis.

Happy Roasting :-)

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