Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Garam Masala spice blend

This recipe is courtesy of Chef Andrew Sherrill from the Blue Star here in Colorado Springs. About a month ago I went to a cooking demo that Chef Andrew held at a local spice store called Extraordinary Ingredients. He demonstrated 3 recipes for us, a delicious Jamaican Jerk rub, the best cajun blackening spice I've ever tried and this mind blowing Garam Masala.

A few of the ingredients in this spice blend are a bit more exotic than your local grocery store will carry so I recommend scouting out your favorite spice retailer for the black cardamom pods as well as the black cumin. Chef Andrew explained that the black cardamom and black cumin have a more intense, deeper flavor than their 'regular' counterparts. They provide a distinct depth of flavor that you won't get from standard cardamom or cumin. If you are unsuccessful in your hunt for black cardamom and black cumin, fear not, the regular versions can be used, your spice blend just won't be as intense as the Chef intended.

Lastly, be sure to toast your spices before grinding them. Toasting spices is very easy and imparts so much flavor you'll wonder why you never toasted them before! Simply heat a DRY skillet over medium high heat, once the pan is hot add your whole spices and shake it around for about 20-30 seconds. Once you can smell the spices you're done. Over toasting leads to burning and burn is not a flavor you're going to want in your Garam Masala. Allow the spices to cool for about 3-5 minutes for easiest grinding. A mortar and pestle is the preferred grinding device, however a coffee or spice grinder works just fine, too. This Garam Masala spice blend will last about 6 months stored in your spice cabinet.

Garam Masala
Source: Chef Andrew Sherrill of the Blue Star
~*~Makes a LOT of spice blend, feel free to scale it back for your use~*~
4 T coriander seed
1 T cumin
1 1/2 t black cumin
3-4 large pods black cardamom
1 T black pepper
2x1 inch pieces cinnamon sticks OR 3/4 t
3/4 t bay leaves crushed
3/4 t cloves

Toast all whole spices (reserve the bay leaves, they do not benefit from toasting). Allow to cool about 3-5 minutes before combining with the bay leaves in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Grind until very fine. Store in a sealed container, in a dark dry place.

Best when used directly after grinding as the flavor components are released by the toasting and grinding process. Flavor will diminish the longer it sits. I'd store this Garam Masala no longer than 6 months.


Michelle J said...

Very cool! We have a little hole in the wall spice shop downtown where I bet I could find the more unusual spices. I've been a little scared to go in there though. The floor to ceiling dusty jars and the tiny old lady that works there give it the vibe of the wand shop from Harry Potter. :\

Betty Ray said...

I bet that smells heavenly. I will have to try making my own spice blends. Just got a cool mortar & pestle for Christmas! Thanks for posting.

Angie's Recipes said...

I mixed some garam masala months ago...but without black cumin...and it didn't taste the same, so it still lies in the kitchen cabinet. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
p.s Pomelo does taste like grapefruit. Actually in China we call "grapefruit" as "western pomelo". You might also find others name "pomelo" as "Chinese grapefruit".

Jenn said...

Mmmmmmmm....I can taste the tikka masala that you'll make me with that wonderful spice mix!!!! :)

Yenta Mary said...

I'm feeling a craving for Indian food creeping over me ... :)

Design Wine and Dine said...

Wonderful! Yes roasting makes the spices awesome'er (if that's a word, which it is not)

I love that you made your own garam masala! This is a MUST HAVE spice in our house and now I know just how to make it myself! :)

Tonya said...

We've made a couple of recipes that call for Garam Masala and we had a very hard time finding it - eventually finding it at an international grocery store way across the city. Next time we'll just make it! Yum!

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