Garam masala is an aromatic mixture of ground spices used as a base in many Indian dishes. The literal translation of garam masala is hot mixture. Despite the name, it is not hot. It is a pungent mixture of intense spices that raises the body temperature and helps increase the metabolism rate. Although not a lot is known about the history of garam masala, it has been mentioned in the legendary cuisine of Persia.
The content in the garam masala differs regionally, but they are all equally authentic. The components of the mix are toasted and then ground together. Some common ingredients are Coriander, Ginger, Cinnamon, Cumin, Black Pepper, Pimento, Cardamom, Clove, Bay Leaves, Cassia, Nutmeg.
Garam masala has endless culinary uses. It is usually added in small quantities at the end of the cooking process, or along with the tempering in curries, vegetarian dishes, soups or stews. It can be used while tempering dals (split pulse) and khichdis (a dish of rice and legumes) or added to marinades. Garam masala can be used alone or along with other seasonings but if it is added in great quantities or cooked for too long, it can overpower the dish with its strong flavour. The best way to store garam masala is in an airtight container, in a cool and dark place.
Garam masala is a multipurpose spice that is used in cooking to enhance flavour and has various medical benefits. It helps slow down the process of cellular aging, promotes healthy weight and the breakdown of excess fat, helps build immunity, relieves pain and inflammation and helps lower blood sugar levels.