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Garam Masala

Information for Garam Masala

Garam masala is a spice blend that is common to many South Asian and North Indian dishes. The garam means hot and masala means spice or mixes. Although the literal translation of garam indicates the intensity of the spices found within this mix, and not necessarily its heat. Like similar spice blends, garam masala has a strong smell, but has less piquancy.

The combination of spices used for this blend can range from simple to complex, depending greatly on the region of origin as well as taste preferences. There are also a number of commercial blends available, but many still prefer to grind their own spices for this.

Typically the spices used for garam masala include cardamom, cumin, peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Fennel seeds, toasted coriander and bay leaves may also be included in some versions.

The prepared spice blend is often toasted before use to help bring out the flavor. It may also be added at the end of cooking to help give food a mild flavor. Either way, it must be used in small amounts to prevent creating an overpowering taste. Often used in specific dishes it can be found in curries and pilaf, but may also be used creatively.

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