“Oh No! I used the wrong cardamom”, worried Pauline said to me one morning at work. She was trying out a malay dish that needed garam masala. Dutifully heading to the grocery store for a key ingredient, cardamom, she brought back the little green spice which bursts open to reveal the fragrant seeds. No, NO, green cardamom yields a sweet taste and is used mainly for desserts I told her. You have to use brown cardamom. What, was her response, I thought there was only 1 cardamom. Smiling, I promised to make her a batch of garam masala so she wouldn’t have to go shopping for ingredients & accidentally bring the wrong ones home again. Here’s a pix of brown cardamom.
Heating spices for cold winter months, Garam Masala is a blend of spices that’s used as a sprinkling on the top of many northern Indian foods.
My garam masala blend includes 5 spices: brown cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, cumin seeds, cilantro seeds.
2 brown cardamom (moti elaichi)
1 cm cinnamon
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp cilantro seedsMakes about 3 tablespoons
• Split open cardamom and gather seeds. Throw away the peel and reserve seeds.
• Dry roast all spices, including cardamom seeds until you smell a nutty, musky aroma.
• Remove from heat and let cool.
• Grind to a fine powder in spice mill. I used mortar & pestle since my spice mill hadn’t dried since my last wash. That made my spices a bit more chunky, nevertheless no loss in fragrance.
Sprinkle on top of channa masala, Indian stir fries, pulao, even chili. Virtually everything you can think of. Garam masala will do well on. Just remember to use sparingly as it is a heating spice, great for cold weather in moderation.
–soul of spice–