Friday, April 25, 2008

Garam Masala

As I understand it, "masala" is Hindi for spices and "garam" means heating so "garam masala" is simply heating (or hot) spices. The heating doesn't mean that it is fiery, chili hot but that the spices have been toasted (or heated) before they are ground. Another possible interpretation of the translation is that, in India, the spices, specifically the black pepper and cinnamon, are thought of as spices which heat the body.

Anyhow, here is a recipe. As the authors point out, there are as many recipes for garam masala as there are cooks in India. While the spices generally stay the same, proportions vary from cook to cook. Here is one such formula:

1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/4 cup coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon seeds from green cardamom pods
one 1-inch piece cinnamon
Toast the spices individually. Each spice will toast at its own rate so, to achieve a maximum of flavor, do them separately. Just heat in a dry pan over medium heat under aromatic. Grind in a spice grinder.

BTW, I love both the cookbook and the authors who wrote this recipe. In fact, I love all of their cookbooks. Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid, I thee! Jesus, I can't believe I just wrote that. Anyhow, they've recently released a new cookbook and it just came in the mail...I can't wait to start exploring it!

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