Indian Cookery - Mixing
Your Own Spices
by: Liz Canham
While you can easily obtain ready mixed spices in most
supermarkets or Asian specialty shops these days, you get a
fresher, more authentic taste when you mix your own. It may be
a little time consuming, but well worth it for the extra
If you are going to mix your own flavorings from whole,
rather than powdered, ingredients, you will need an electric
coffee grinder or spice grinder, otherwise you will not obtain
the powdery consistency.
A much used spice mix, usually incorporated towards the end of
cooking time, is Garam Masala (which actually means hot spice)
and there are probably as many recipes as there are families
in India. However, one of my favorite cookery writers is
Madhur Jaffrey and in her book Indian Cookery, she recommends
1 tbsp cardamom seeds
2 inch stick of cinnamon
1 tsp black cumin seeds
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp black peppercorns
¼ average-sized nutmeg
Finely grind all the spices together and store in an air-tight
jar in a cool dark place.
Another Garam Masala recipe uses these ingredients as follows:
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ dried chili
½ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp cardamom pods
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 fairly large bay leaf
Remove the seeds from the cardamom pod and if you don't want a
hot mix, the seeds from the dried chili. As before, grind
finely and store carefully.
For a slightly different, more aromatic flavor, dry roast the
spices first in a frying pan.
If you often cook in a hurry, you may want to have a
pre-prepared Curry Powder on hand. Store bought Curry
not particularly flavorsome, so make some of your own and
store in an air-tight jar in a cool dark place. Don't make too much at a time as it
will lose its flavor.
1 tsp coriander seeds or coriander powder
Dried chilies or chili powder to taste.
1 tsp cumin seeds or cumin powder
½ tsp garlic powder or garlic salt
½ tsp salt (omit if using garlic salt)
1 inch cinnamon stick or 1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 large bay leaf
½ tsp cloves
Seeds from 8 cardamom pods
1 tsp black peppercorns or powdered black pepper
If you are using whole spices, you will need an electric
grinder, but if you are using powdered ingredients, just mix
them together in a bowl or jar and store in an air-tight jar.
About The Author
As well as a love of Asian cooking as you can see in her Asian
Food and Cookery website, Liz seeks to help newcomers to the
world of internet marketing with tools, tips and training from
her Liz-e-Biz website.