12 February 2015

Kerala Garam Masala |Kerala Spice mix


When I was little, I was the most naughtiest child,I was the one who used to climb our gate,trees etc and sometimes fell,bled but never quit.My neighbors loved me,pampered me and teased my parents saying,"Your son is calmer than your daughter...choti shaitaan hai ye toh...in fact this is your son" ..I even broke my front tooth after falling, when I was climbing onto the window like a monkey and jumped down on my face to accompany my dad to buy milk ...eventually, doctor somehow fixed my tooth by putting braces for a year...

Similarly,I used to climb up on kitchen counters to spy on kitchen shelves where mom would sometimes hide some snacks or other edible goodies ..Oh by the way,beside that was also a looong stick kept exclusively for me, to remind me that mom strictly believed in the saying,"Spare the rod,spoil the child."


 However,nothing stopped me from continuing my mischievous acts ...I used to check one by one cans and bottles that were not made up of glasses which always intrigued my curiosity .... sometimes mom didn't mind me in the kitchen as she thought, that's nice, as a girl should be familiar with kitchen,cooking etc....But then there was this one small can made up of ceramic,"Bharani" that she would not allow me to open by hook or by crook ...she called it her "Magic powder"...And it remained mystery for me for a while up until....I grew up to be a "Real girl"....from a tom boy to a very coy girl.....

When I started helping mom in the kitchen (well,pretending..) ...mom ultimately revealed ,the secret about here magic powder...it was nothing but her "Garam Masala",that she always made fresh and used fresh as fast as she can.....She emphasized,"The more air gets inside the spice mix/garam masala powder ,more speedily the flavor may deplete and consequently, affects the taste of the curries."


Though I didn't get the wisdom behind her explanation then,I realized how true it was when after coming to US,I started buying garam masala powders and every time I used a new one, the taste used to be different and not only that ,I didn't even store it properly and yes ,it affected the flavor of curry accordingly.

Once I made the homemade garam masala,I realized ,a garam masala can make or break a curry because garam masalas differ from places to places in India,even house to house,person to person....there is north Indian Garam Masala and then there is South Indian Garam Masala which can render different flavors to a same curry....but no matter what you use,when it is homemade, the spices become extraordinary .

This is my mom's version of simple Garam Masala and this is how I make Kerala Garam Masala.....

Kerala Garam Masala 

(Yields - 1/4 cup)


Cloves - 1 tablespoon
Cardamoms - 1 tablespoon
Cinnamom - 1 stick
Star Anise - 1 no.
Fennel seeds  - 1 teaspoon
Pepper - 1 teaspoon (optional)

Method : Please watch my 2 minute video ,this will show you clearly how to roast it properly and how to get a fine powder.

  1. Dry roasting spices helps in releasing the natural oil in the whole spices and which further enhances the taste,aroma and potency and accentuates the flavor of a food to the next level.
  2. The exact time to roast depends upon the pan used like thick pan may take some more time and thinner may take less time ,then the quantity of spices used and the heat used to dry roast it.
  3. Always preheat the pan on high flame and then lower the heat to dry roast and keep on stirring otherwise if it takes longer time than needed, it may burn and turn the spices to bitter taste ,so always keep an eye when the spices may crackle or change color and exude strong aroma.That's when you've to stop.
  4. While using a thick pan,it may take only 30 seconds to 1 minute to dry roast after preheating.Thinner pans require additional caution.
  5. Always store it in an airtight container .It's better to make in smaller quantity as the potency of these spices tends to decrease with time.The fresher it is used,more flavorful and fresh curry etc will taste. 

Once you master how to make homemade garam masala, you will never go back to store bought ones.When you will use it for curries ,you will feel the difference it makes -it will scream ,"It is home made and mom made" and the reason my mom called it her magic powder ,it turned every ordinary curry to extraordinary...homely yet magical !!

Eat,love,live deliciously