I use a Garam Masala, that is Rick Stein’s own blend, in so many dishes it isn’t funny. Sure you could buy a Garam Masala from the shops. MasterFoods makes a really good one that I grew up with but making your own means that the spices haven’t lost their aroma and you get to personalise the blend.
Rick Stein says “Even more important than the mix is having them freshly roasted and ground” and of course he’s right. It is a bit of extra effort but a pleasurable experience and the end result lasts for months in an air tight container.
- Roast the whole spices
- Mill the spices.
You will need:
- whole black peppercorns (1 Tbsp)
- whole cumin seeds (2 Tbsp)
- whole coriander (cilantro) seeds (2 Tbsp)
- whole cardamon seeds (from 30 green pods)
- whole cloves (4 tsp)
- a cinnamon stick (7cm or so)
- a whole nutmeg, optional
- a fry pan (no oil)
- a dry spice mixer or a mortar and pestle
- an airtight container for storing the resulting spice mix
Roast the whole spices
Pop all the spices (except the nutmeg) in a hot pan and keep them moving the whole time. Safe to say that if the smoke alarm goes off, you have dry roasted them too long or too high :).
Experiment a bit, with the goal being more the release of the spices’ aromas in my opinion, rather than a change in their appearance.
Mill the spices
Once cooled, transfer everything to your blender or mortar. Grate the nutmeg (or like me use shop bought ground nutmeg, oops) separately and to the mill. Run the mill in quick bursts until you get the consistency you like. Then store in an airtight container.