Merchant’s Garam Masala
Makes about ½ cup
Spices to dry -fry
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
3 tablespoons green cardamom pods
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
4 tablespoons whole cloves
5 (4-inch piece) cinnamon sticks, break into small pieces by hand
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- In a small frying pan, dry fry coriander seeds, black peppercorns, cardamom, cumin seeds, cloves and cinnamon over medium heat for three minutes, stirring constantly to prevent the spices from burning. Cook the spices until they release a fragrant scent and become slightly darker but make sure it does not turn black. If the spices turn black that means you have burned them and you will need to start over.
- Transfer the spices to a plate and allow the spices to cool for two to three minutes.
- Combine the spices and ground nutmeg in a coffee or spice grinder. Grind the spices into a fine powder. Place the garam masala in an air tight glass jar. Store in a cool dry place away from sunlight. Use within two months.
Basic Curry Powder
There is a huge controversy about “curry powders (masala)”. Some say it’s a single spice, others
say, it is a mixture of spices developed by the British during their colonial rule in India. In my
opinion when we look beyond the basics of this debate, we are left with flavor. It is the quality of
the flavor that people seek in all food. Try preparing this basic curry masala, you will notice that
its freshness, fragrance of roasted spices and lively flavors will outshine the curry powder
bought from the convenient store. You may use this masala in any recipe that requires the use of
curry powder. Imagine the sense of pride and achievement when you tell your guest that you
prepared the actual curry powders yourself. You would probably see curry masala in a different
light after that.
Makes about 1 cup
20 whole green cardamom or 1 ½ teaspoon cardamom seeds
2 (3-inch piece) cinnamon sticks, crushed
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 star anise, crushed
1 teaspoon whole cloves
¼ cup coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon anise seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
5 whole dried red chilies, broken into small pieces
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
- Combine larger spices like cardamom, cinnamon, black peppercorns, star anise and cloves in a small frying pan over medium heat. Dry fry all the ingredients until fragrant. Remove and set aside on a plate to cool.
- Next add the lighter spices – coriander, cumin, anise, fennel and fenugreek seeds. Dry fry all the ingredients until they release a fragrant scent and become slightly darker but make sure the spices does not turn black. Transfer the spices to a plate to cool.
- Combine all the spices (starting with the larger ones) including chilies, ground ginger and ground turmeric in a coffee or spice grinder. Grind the spices into a fine powder. Allow the ground spices to cool completely before placing in an air tight glass jar. Store in a cool dry place away from sunlight. Use within three months.