Garam Masala is the principal spice blend of India and culinary stable in every household. It is a culinary cultural icon and India's answer to an all-purpose blend.
Garam Masala translates literally to 'hot' and 'spice mix'. The meaning of the word 'hot' is more 'warm' than 'hot' as the blend is not particularly spicy but rather has the capacity to raise the body temperature through quickening metabolism. Or at least this is the theory given in Ayurvedic medicine.
The blend is thought to have originated in Northern India and some have traced its first use to the Mongol Empire in the 13th century. The number of Garam Masala variations is endless and each region in India has its own version which accompanies the cuisine and spices grown in that climate. The blend can consist of as few as 5 ingredients and up to as many as 30.
Its use really is as wide as the number of ingredients and it can be used to season the dish at the start, at the end or alongside other spice ingredients in the middle! Of each of these options, the Garam Masala is most often used to add fragrance and flavour at the end of the cooking process. This is because many of the ingredients that are typically used are very aromatic in flavour and so lose their potency more quickly in the cooking process.
We have opted for 10 ingredients in our Garam Masala which aim to give a well balanced and flavoursome blend. The spices we have used include the following; bay leaves, black cardamom, green cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, ginger, nutmeg.