From the kitchen of Julie Sahni.
This is the most aromatic and fragrant of all Indian spice blends. Used throughout North India in all types of dishes − from appetizers and soups to yogurt salad and main courses − this blend is indispensable to Moghul and North Indian cooking. It is widely available, but my homemade version is more fragrant and, of course, fresher.
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons cardamom seeds
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 1 (3-inch) stick cinnamon, broken up
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon saffron (optional)
Put the cumin, coriander, cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon, and cloves in a dry heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Toast the spices, stirring occasionally, until they turn several shades darker and give off a sweet smoky aroma, about 10 minutes. Do not raise the heat to quicken the process, or the spices will brown prematurely, leaving the insides undercooked. Cool completely.
Working in batches if necessary, transfer the mixture to a spice mill or coffee grinder and grind to a powder. Stir in the nutmeg and saffron. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
Garam Masala keeps for 3 months.
Yield: Makes about ½ cup