The Lowdown on Garam Masala

September 1, 2020

There are dozens of different spices used in Indian cuisine in order to provide authentic flavours such as turmeric, cumin, cardamom, chilli powder, saffron, and garam masala. After all, Indian food is known for its spicy kick and traditional flavour profile. Here at Royal Nawaab, our chefs work hard in order to serve diners with a variety of dishes that have been crafted with the authentic flavours of India in mind. Read on as we go over everything there is to know about garam masala…

In layman’s terms, garam masala is a blend of spices that are used in Indian cuisine. In fact, the word ‘garam’ means ‘hot’ and the word ‘masala’ means ‘spices’ – it’s that simple! Although there is no singular recipe as the ingredients can differ depending on where it is made, the spices are typically toasted in order to bring out their flavours and then ground before being used in any dishes.

It is thought that garam masala originated in Northern India as it is traditionally found in Mughal dishes. Interestingly, the spices are warming rather than spicy due to their roots in Ayurvedic medicine where they are used to increase a person’s metabolism and aid recovery from illness. This is particularly important because it can get cold in Northern India and so these warming sensations are welcomed with open arms.

Although shop-bought garam masala will do the trick, there is something special about making it from scratch. In the majority of traditional interpretations, garam masala will consist of coriander, cumin, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. With this said, other variations may also include turmeric, saffron, ginger, garlic, mustard seeds, tamarind, bay leaves or dried red chillies.

Since the purpose of garam masala is to enhance the flavours that already exist, it is usually added to a dish near the end of the cooking process. After all, the spices in the mixture are not meant to have a specific flavour themselves but more of an aroma in order to add warmth or sweetness to a dish.

Although it may sound like a traditional ingredient, there is no singular recipe for garam masala. After all, the spices that are used to make it tend to differ from region to region in India. For example, garam masala in Northern India tends to be relatively mild whereas Southern India will often implement hot peppers into the mixture. To find out more information about the role of garam masala in our dishes, get in contact with the best restaurant London has to offer and speak to a member of the Royal Nawaab team today!