Spicing Things Up with Garam Masala
Posted by Darla Byerly on 10/11/16
As a food scientist with a background in spices and seasoning blends, people often assume I have culinary experience and love to cook. I always smile and say “I’m not a chef,” which reminds me of one particular chef who always reminds me “I’m not a scientist” (you know who you are).
When it comes to cooking at home, I’d qualify it as a “labor of love” rather than something I love to do. I’ve got about 5-6 main dishes that I make on a regular basis and can pull-off with my eyes closed. Admittedly, it requires some major inspiration for me to expand beyond those boundaries. Recently I had one of those inspirational moments and decided I wanted to make something with curry. I stumbled upon an interesting recipe that called for everything I had in my pantry, except Garam Masala. Of course I’m vaguely familiar enough with Garam Masala to know that it is a blend of spices commonly used in Indian cuisine, but if you asked me to name those spices, I’d have to smile and remind you that “I’m not a chef.” Fortunately for me, I work at Fuchs North America, and I found a formula for Garam Masala that I quickly mixed up and used in my recipe that night. Overall, the warm spices from the Garam Masala gave my dish a distinctively authentic taste, and it got two-thumbs-up from my husband! Not only did he enjoy a second helping during dinner, he had it again the next day for lunch and texted me multiple smiley faces!
So what is Garam Masala? Traditionally, Garam Masala is a blend of whole spices and seeds that are roasted and toasted prior to grinding to bring out the flavorful aromatics. However, you can put it together rather quickly by combining the following ground spices:
1 Tablespoon each: cinnamon, cumin, black pepper, cloves
2 teaspoons each: cardamom, ginger
1 teaspoon each: coriander, nutmeg, mace
½ teaspoon: chili pepper
So whether you’re a chef, a scientist, or something completely different, I hope you feel inspired to make something new! Enjoy!
- Darla Byerly
Senior Food Scientist