Garam masala: Wikis

  
  
  

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Garam masala

Garam masala from Hindi garam ("hot") and masala ("mixture") is a basic blend of ground spices common in Indian and other South Asian cuisines.[1] It is used alone or with other seasonings. The word garam refers to spice intensity, not heat; garam masala is pungent, but not "hot" in the same way as a chili pepper.

Contents

Ingredients

Ingredients for garam masala

The composition of garam masala differs regionally, with wide variety across India. Some common ingredients are black & white peppercorns, cloves, bay leaves, long pepper (also known as pippali), black cumin (known as shahi jeera), cumin seeds, cinnamon; black, brown, & green cardamom, nutmeg, star anise and coriander seeds. Varying combinations of these and other spices are used in regional variants of garam masala,[1] none of which is considered more authentic than another.[2]

Some recipes call for spices to be blended with herbs, while others grind the spices with water, vinegar or other liquids such as coconut milk to make a paste. In some recipes nuts, onion or garlic may be added. The flavours may be carefully blended to achieve a balanced effect, or in some cases a single flavour may be emphasized for special dishes where this is desired. Usually a masala is roasted before use to release its flavours and aromas.[1]

Regional variations

It is generally understood that the spices to be included in a garam masala will vary according to region and personal taste. A Northwest Indian garam masala usually includes cloves; green, black, and/or brown cardamom, cinnamon, cassia, mace and/or nutmeg. Black pepper can be added if the mix is to be used immediately, but if kept, the fragrance will diminish, and may change in character. Also typical of the region is the use of caraway and black cumin.[2] The components of the mix are ground together, but not roasted.

Commercial mixtures

A commercial package of garam masala

Garam masala can be had as a commercially-prepared ground mixture made from spices. Many commercial mixtures may include more of other less expensive spices and may contain dried red chili peppers, dried garlic, ginger powder, sesame, mustard seeds, turmeric, coriander, bay leaves, star anise and fennel. While commercial garam masala preparations can be bought ready ground, as with all ground spice, they do not keep well and soon lose their aroma. Whole spices, which keep fresh much longer, can be ground when needed using a mortar and pestle or electric coffee grinder. When commercially ground garam masala is used in dishes, it is often added at the end of cooking so that the full aroma is not lost. Whole garam masala, however, is added early to the cooking fat, oil, or ghee for a more pungent flavour.

Use in specific dishes

The order in which spices are added to food may be very elaborate in some dishes. In the case of the Kashmiri speciality roghan josh, for example, coriander, ginger and chilis are each ground individually. A garam masala of cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, fennel, mace, cumin, turmeric and nutmeg is separately prepared. The cook tastes the dish carefully to determine the precise moment when the next spice should be added. The order is coriander initially, then the ground ginger, then the garam masala and finally the chilis. [1]

In the chicken dish Murgo Kari (chicken curry) the procedure is also precise. First the chicken is fried and removed from the pan. Onion, garlic and fresh ginger are added to the pan and cooked slowly for 7 to 8 minutes. Next cumin, turmeric, ground coriander, cayenne and fennel are added with water and fried for a minute or so. Next tomato concassé is added with cilantro, yoghurt and salt. The chicken is returned to the pan and more water is added. Finally some garam masala is sprinkled on top, the pot is tightly covered and the dish cooks another 20 minutes before serving.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d Rama Rau, Santha (1969-06). The Cooking of India (Foods of the World). USA: Time Life Education. ISBN 978-0809400690. 
  2. ^ a b Khana Khazana

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