Diwali delight, Part One… make your own Garam Masala

Tomorrow (October 26, 2011) is Diwali; the Hindu festival of light. Which is as I know, one of the most important days in the Hindu calendar, but I won’t for a minute try to explain why… Frankly I haven’t a clue! What I do know is that Diwali is the night the Hindu community lights up the sky with fireworks, and lights up the taste buds with a banquet of curry dishes.

So to celebrate with my Hindu friends at work, I thought I would give some Indian cooking a try, something I have never attempted before, but have witnessed many times, thanks to my partner at work, and Indian/Sri Lankan cooking whizz, Aruna.

Homemade garam masala. Photo taken in Kent, Oh...
Typical Garam Masala spice mix

Aruna’s first major tip, and one that will come in handy for almost every Curry dish you cook is to have a good Garam Masala handy… She carries some around in her handbag in a small jar for those Curry emergencies… Personally I think you may just be able to keep yours in cupboard.

YOUR ESSENTIAL CURRY SPICE MIX: GARAM MASALA

Garam Masala recipes date back to the 17th century, and it is rare to find two that are the same, as ingredients and proportions can vary greatly. Most of the mixes however have one thing in common, they don’t contain any heat.

Of course if you don’t cook with spices a lot, it is possible to buy a decent Garam Masala in the supermarket, but if you want to have a try making one, here is Aruna’s recipe.

Crack 2 teaspoons of cardamom pods, and remove the seeds. Place in a spice or coffee grinder with 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds, ½ teaspoon of whole cloves, ¼ nutmeg grated, and 1 small cinnamon stick broken into shards. Grind to a fine powder and store in an airtight container. Store in a darkened place (like your handbag), and use within 12 months.

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