HOMEMADE GARAM MASALA

19 Nov

HOMEMADE GARAM-MASALA 

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As we all know, spices add taste and zest to a meal. During the Roman Empire, spices were known to be more valuable than gold. Spices are known to be one of the major reason  that  brought  Romans,  Jews and  Arabs  to  India.  The  search  for  spices  was  also  the  impetus  for Christopher Columbus’s discovery of America and for Vasco de Gama’s voyage  from  Portugal  to  India,  in  the  15th  century,  along  what  is  now called  the  “Spice  Route”. Thus spices have played a dramatic role in civilization and in the history of nations. When Europe discovered the flavor enhancing qualities of India’s spices, they went wild. At that time Europe already had salt, but salt alone just wasn’t enough. Europe cried out for more flavors and more taste. Thanks to the trade routes between Rome and India, Europe was able to get what it needed: peppercorns, cinnamon, and other spices.

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The words “Garam Masala” are from the Sanskrit, meaning “hot spices”. In the case of Garam Masala, the word “hot” refers to the intensity, rather than “heat” or the “hotness”  of the spices. The  delightful  flavor  and  pungency  of  spices  make  them  indispensable in  the  preparation  of  palatable  dishes.

A combination of different spices, it probably has as many recipes as there are families in India! The composition of garam masala differs regionally, with many recipes across India according to regional and personal taste, and none is considered more authentic than others. The components of the mix are toasted, then ground together.  Since store-bought garam masala loses its aroma quickly, why not learn to make your own? Make a batch ahead and store for several months in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place.

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Garam masala can slow down the aging process and help promote weight loss. Yes, that’s right, eating foods with garam masala can actually help shed some pounds! So lets take a closer look at some  health benefits of these awesome traditional Indian spices.

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Cinnamon: The smooth aroma of this lovely brown spice fights bad breath, and kills the bacteria responsible for it. Cinnamon is a natural painkiller and contains a potent antioxidant. It is an excellent source of calcium and fiber. An anti-microbial as well as anti-inflammatory. it promotes brain functionality, and helps control blood sugar by helping to increase insulin production while lowering blood sugar levels.

Cumin: Helps stimulate digestion, helps relieve nausea and indigestion, enriched with iron, and can act as a property to fight against cancer.

Coriander: An ingredient used to control blood sugar levels and to lower cholesterol. It helps stimulate digestion, removes excess bile, acts as an anti-inflammatory, and diuretic which promotes the production of urine.

Black Pepper: Increases the body’s ability to absorb vitamins, minerals, and proteins. It’s high in fiber content, which reduces calorie intake, and it’s a natural metabolism booster. It helps break down fat cells, and is high in vitamin K and manganese which helps break down fats and carbs. Black pepper also fights against skin cancer and helps improve skin complexion. Finally, black pepper is high in fiber which means it helps reduce calorie intake.

Cardamom: An anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-carcinogenic. It helps to flush out toxins from the body, relieves heart burn, reduces the formation of blood clots, lowers blood pressure, increases blood circulation, relieves gas, and soothes upset stomachs. Its sweet aroma makes it a natural breathe freshener. Cardamom is a boon to cardiovascular health because it reduces the formation of blood clots while lowering blood pressure.

Cloves: Contain a purifying property that helps support the immune system. Relieves tooth aches, boosts the metabolism, removes toxins from the blood stream, helps prevent the formation of blood clots, regulates blood sugar levels, and contains high levels of calcium, vitamin K and  You might not guess, but cloves are higher than any other food in antioxidant content. They provide an excellent source of calcium, omega 3, and vitamin K. A proven aphrodisiac, studies have shown that cloves boost sexual activity in male mice.

Fennel: Relieves indigestion, diarrhea, heartburn, intestinal gas, and bloating. It is also used for upper respiratory tract infections; it helps relieve coughs, bronchitis, cholera, backaches, and visual issues.

Bay Leaves: A powerful anti-oxidant that helps prevent cancer, arthritis, and ulcers. It also helps in healing wounds and mosquito bites.

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cooking time: less than 10 minutes

makes:- approximately 1 cup

INGREDIENTS:-

  • Coriander seeds – 1/4 cup
  • Black cumin – 2 tsp
  • Fennel seeds – 2 tsp
  • Star anise – 4 whole
  •  Green Cardamom pods – 2 tsp
  • Black cardamom – 6
  • Cinnamon – 4 sticks 1’inch each
  • Cloves – 2 tsp
  • Black pepper – 2 tsp
  • Nutmeg – half the fruit
  • Bay leaves – 3 whole

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METHOD:-

Put all the ingredients (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. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to six months.

So the next time you cook, add some extra kick to your recipes with these health promoting Indian spices! and since homemade version is stronger than the store bought one, use sparingly…

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Thank you for visiting my space. I love to hear from you. Your comments are really appreciated…

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