Have you noticed , how food or the creation of it is becoming a dear ritual of sorts to recreate the taste and smell of our grandma's and mom's kitchen?
At least for me , everytime i make something mallu , i am trying to go back in time and capture all those aromas and stir up some memories , that I can hold close to my heart..Yes food is a kin of time machine for me, a mallu gal living in US.
Garam Masala ( lightly roasted method)
Garam Masala (plain)
Its a plain truth that spices and seasonings are what gives Indian food its uniqueness . Among the umpteen number of spice blends Indian has , from one state to another; one language to another ,most culture within India has this hot blend of Spices " Garam Masala " though the recipe and the mix is different with the addition or exclusion of 2-3 spices. In fact every household has their own unique garam masala recipe. That's what which makes my mom's chicken curry different from yours , yours from your neighbors and so on..
Mine is from my mom , which she got from my kuttanadan grandma , which she might have got from her mother.....A flavorful , beautiful mixture of 3 'C's , an S and an N..I tried many combinations and concluded hers the best...I have seen garam masala recipes from kerala with coriander , fennel and other spices like Black pepper ..but we dont add it . just as my grandma says , for some curries its so wrong to have fennel in it , so better don't mix it with garam masala and for black pepper , it tastes the best when freshly ground and sprinkled when the curry is almost done.
Two Recipes for Homemade Kerala style Garam masala Powder
Total cooking time :- 10 minutes
Yields :- 1 small jar
Cardamom - 40 nos( green)
Cloves - 35 nos
Cinnamon Stick - 2 or 3
Star anise - 1
Nutmeg - 1/2 of a whole one ,or you can use one full, if you like.
Fennel seeds - 1/4 cup
Black pepper - 2 table spoon
Mace - 2 or 3
Arrange all the spices in a baking sheet and sun dry an hour . Grind it to a fine powder in the small jar of your mixie or coffee grinder. Or you can just grind it without keeping in the sun.( just crush the cinnamon in a mortar and pestle before grinding)
Heat a small skillet and add all the spices , and fry for 2- minutes . let it come to room temperature and then grind it to a powder. I normally prefer a bit coarse powder . This works best for all nadan meat fry .
For a mild flavor you can follow the method with just cinnamon , cardamom and cloves . This recipe gives you a small jar (as shown in the picture) of garam masala. Its more flavorful when made fresh , since its a tiresome task to do this in the process of making a curry , i stock this small jar always.