Indian cooking truly offers a diverse and vivid variety of flavours and foods, each regional cuisine distinctive and delightful with its unique blend of spices.
The cooking of an Indian meal isn’t as complicated as it is made out to be, the secret to a flavoursome meal essentially lying in capitalising on the right spices, adding them to your food at the appropriate time during the cooking process as well as using just the right quantity in specific combinations, without them overriding one another.
Featured in the recipe below, a quintessential North Indian spice mix that is an aromatic blend of an assortment of roasted spices. Literally meaning ‘warm spices’, these are blended in specific proportions to add and enhance the flavour of dals (lentil curries), paneer (cottage cheese or vegetable curries & non vegetarian gravies, that I will keep sharing with you from time to time.
While the proportions of spices may vary from home to home to suit personal preferences, the basic ingredients would essentially remain the same to retain authenticity.
Always prepare and store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place to retain flavours for a longer period. I usually double the recipe for a finer powder.
Here are two of my most loved recipes using this powder:
Recipe for Homemade North Indian Garam Masala
Ingredients (makes about 6 tablespoons)
- 2 2inch sticks cinnamon/dalchini
- 10 whole cloves/laung
- 1 heaped teaspoon whole black peppercorns/kali mirch
- Seeds of 5 black cardamoms/badi elaichi
- 5-6 whole green cardamoms with skin (for added flavour)/elaichi
- Roast all the spices lightly on a low to medium flame for about 3-5 minutes and leave aside to cool.
- Grind them together as finely as possible in a blender or mixer grinder and store in an airtight glass container.
- Doubling the quantities usually helps get a finer powder, but that depends entirely on your requirement.
- For use as specified by the recipe.