Garam Masala – Definition

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[gah-RAHM mah-SAH-lah] Garam is Indian for “warm” or “hot,” and this blend of dry-roasted, ground spices from the colder climates of northern India adds a sense of “warmth” to both palate and spirit. There are as many variations of garam masala (which may contain up to 12 spices) as there are Indian cooks. In can include black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, cardamom, dried chiles, fennel, mace, nutmeg and other spices. Garam masala may be purchased in Indian markets and in most supermarkets.* It’s also easily prepared at home, but should be made in small batches to retain its freshness. As with all spices, it should be stored in a cool, dry place for no more than 6 months. ** Garam masala is usually either added to a dish towards the end of cooking or sprinkled over the surface just before serving.

*It’s not at Kroger, for those of you in the south. I had to go to Fresh Market, which is similar to Whole Foods for my West Coast friends. If you’re reading this in another country, I’m sorry but I have no idea where you can go. (But I’m stoked you’re checking out the website, thanks!!)

** I call bullshit on this rule of using spices in 6 months. Spices are expensive and I know I can’t afford to buy them all new every 6 months. It’s true to buy in small quantities so you don’t keep it forever, but don’t go overboard. (My boss, who is a brilliant cook backs me up on this too, by the way.)