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Helen Bach
7/6/2017 12:34pm
garam masala recipe

HI Mamta,

just got side-tracked onto your garam masala page, and I have the following comments, which I hope you will accept as positive.

Firstly, I think garam means warming, but in a spiritual sense, rather than corporeal.

You say that cheap(er) gm bought in shops is 'filled' with cheap(er) coriander and/or cumin seeds, then you offer options including cumin, at least as much as all the rest of the other spices combined!.

You also state that you do not 'roast' the spices, I don't either, as the flavours will not change, and only losses will be incurred. But then in Kashmiri gm you say to roast the spices. I believe the only reason people originally roasted the spices was to make them brittle, and therefore easier to grind. Now we have electric grinders.

My gm is made from green cardamom, cassia bark, mace and cloves only. Black pepper is added separated, freshly ground. With Kashmiri gm, I would use black/brown cardamom instead of the green, and a little black cumin, not to be confused with carraway. The tej patta (cassia leaf, not bay leaf) would be added separately, if at all.

Hope that helps.

Mamta
7/6/2017 06:15pm

Hello Helen,

Thank you for taking the time to write in, I appreciate it :)

“Firstly, I think garam means warming, but in a spiritual sense, rather than corporeal.”

What I have said is this: The word 'garam' means hot and 'masala' means a spice mix. However, the only hot spice in it is black pepper. Rest are a few strongly aromatic spices. The word hot here is used for strong aromatic, as well as slightly hot.

“You say that cheap(er) gm bought in shops is 'filled' with cheap(er) coriander and/or cumin seeds, then you offer options including cumin, at least as much as all the rest of the other spices combined!”

Yes, I have given the following as optional.Personally, I keep these things separately and add them as and when I want/need to. But everyone doesn’t keep all the Indian spice. So I have given them as optional.

“You also state that you do not 'roast' the spices, I don't either, as the flavours will not change, and only losses will be incurred. But then in Kashmiri gm you say to roast the spices. I believe the only reason people originally roasted the spices was to make them brittle, and therefore easier to grind. Now we have electric grinders.”

Kashmiri Garam masala is not my family/mother’s recipe, I have learnt it from Kashmiri people along the way. The girl we shared a house with a very, very long time ago, was from Kashmir. She always roasted hers, as did her mum (I wish I had her name in my memory bank!). That is why I have said roast the whole spices. But of course you don’t have to.

You will notice that a lot of chefs roast their whole spices these days. I think it works for them because their GM doesn’t last long enough to loose flavour.

At the end of the day, there is no definitive way of making GM. Most people do what suits them best. Your version sounds pretty good to me too and thank you for sharing it with me and others here.

Best wishes.

Mamta

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