The Garam Masala Magic
So, I am back after a gap of three days. Well, my computer is to be blamed which decided to have a mind of its own and refused to follow my command. But now I am in charge and I will talk to you on a regular basis that is to say thrice a week. Not because I don’t want to write daily but my friends suggested that I should give them time to grasp all the information.
I also wondered if anybody was actually reading my blog. But many of friends read it on the Facebook and sent in their comments. Many of them have not read it even now but that’s okay. One day they will. Thanks to those who have.
Meanwhile I made this wonderful, aromatic powder called garam masala which is actually a combination of many spices in a ratio. It consists of cumin seeds, coriander seeds, black cardamom, green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and mace. Some chefs also mix peppercorns but I find it gives the masala a strong peppery taste. You can get the powder ready made from the market but the aroma that you get from the home made version is worth all the effort. Actually there is hardly any effort. The recipe is
Caraway seeds 2 tsp
Cumin seeds 1 tbsp
Cardamom green 1 ½ tbsp
Cardamom brown 1 tsp
Cloves 2 tsp
Cinnamon Pieces ½ tbsp
Nutmeg powdered 1 tsp
Mace crushed 1 tsp
Grind all the ingredients together and store.
Each of these ingredients has its own qualities both medicinal and aromatic.
Cumin seeds are rich in iron and magnesium. Iron is responsible to transport oxygen from the lungs to all body cells and to keep our immune system running healthy. Cumin seeds are highly beneficial in digestive disorders like biliousness, morning sickness and indigestion. They are also helpful for menstruation, pregnant or lactating women and for growing children.
Cinnamon is useful in many ways. Taken regularly it helps in nervous tension, improves complexion and memory. A pinch of cinnamon powder mixed with honey does the trick if taken regularly every night for these purposes. It is beneficial for appetite loss, bronchitis, cough, cold and fever. Those suffering from hair loss or baldness, may apply a paste of hot olive oil, one tablespoon of honey, one teaspoon of cinnamon powder before bath and keep it for approx. 15 min. and then wash the hair. To top it all it helps in indigestion.
Cardamom is beneficial in stomach disorders, bad breath, oral disorders and depression
Clove is a wonderful spice. They help in cough, asthma, teeth disorders and earache. They also help in digestion.
Nutmeg is considered to be best calming drug for brain. Nutmeg used in small quantity can reduce flatulence, aid digestion, improve the appetite and treat diarrhea and nausea. It also helps in reducing swellings.
Mace is useful for mouth sores, insomnia and rheumatism.
These are some of the many uses of all these spices. More information can be found in articles about ayurveda. I talked about garam masala today because it is an important ingredient of Indian cooking. Most North Indian recipes call for garam masala.
So what are you waiting for? Read the list of all the ingredients and get on with it
Oh you are waiting for a recipe which uses garam masala? Let’s start with the easiest one. Masaledaar aloo – Spicy Potatoes. It is an easy dish which can be served both as a side and main dish. Preparation time is 20 minutes. Cooking time is 5-7 minutes. You will need:
4 large potatoes boiled, peeled and cut in 1” pieces
2 tbsp oil
½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp curry leaves (optional) (available in Indian stores)
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp turmeric
Lime juice 1 tsp (optional)
Few cilantro (coriander) leaves
Salt to taste
Heat oil in a skillet on medium heat.. Add mustard seeds, curry leaves and then cumin seeds. When they start spluttering, add paprika, turmeric and potatoes. Stir and add salt. Stir again so that all pieces are well coated. Add salt and cook for 5 minutes stirring twice. Add garam masala and lime juice. Sprinkle coriander leaves and serve with roti , parantha or naan.