A blend of ground spices more common in Indian cuisines is called the garam masala. It may be used alone or along with the other seasonings. In English, garam means hot and masala means mixture. Garam masala is pungent and it actually refers to intensity of the spices rather than capsaicin content. The composition of the garam masala differs from region to region. The components may be toasted and ground together. It is available as a commercially prepared ground mixture. Garam masala is the heart of many Indian kitchens as it is the easily available, all in one masala, especially while cooking subzi….the Indian vegetable, lentils and pulses. The common ingredients may include coriander seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, black cumin seeds, dry ginger, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, crushed bay leaves, nutmeg and mace. The combination results in a wonderfully aromatic blend. The proportions may vary according to the different regions and household to household. Garam masala is usually added at the end of cooking or may even be added to a dish after serving and it normally peps up the dish. Store the Garam Masala in an air-tight container. As long as the container is tightly closed after each use, it should last for a long time.
Spices have been in use as our food since centuries, and now become an essential part of our lives. Spices are also known to have natural anti-helminthic function. The cinnamon is used in the garam masala is known to be anti-microbial as well as anti-inflammatory ingredient. It promotes brain functionality and helps in controlling blood sugar. Cumin is good for digestion and has properties to fight against cancer and also is rich in iron. And the use of garam masala is not limited to just vegetable and daals, it can be added to all curries to enhance their taste and can be added to chicken and meat for the same purpose. It can also be sprinkled over rice dishes and added to fresh fruit salads. Black pepper, one of the ingredients in garam masala is a natural metabolism booster and contains a compound that breaks down fat cells. It improves skin complexion and fights against skin cancers. Black Pepper is high in Vitamin K and manganese, which assists the body in metabolizing fats and carbs. Cardamom in the masala relieves gas, heart burn, and soothes upset stomachs and is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-carcinogenic and also is a natural breathe freshener. Cloves are great at relieving tooth aches and improve metabolism while removing toxins from the blood stream. Cloves are also said to improve cardiovascular health by preventing the formation of blood clots while regulating blood sugar levels. Garam masala is the most important blended masala and vital to north Indian food preparations, added just before serving the dish to enhance its flavour. In short, it is usually used for finishing the dishes throughout northern India. Garam masala is the most aromatic and fragrant of all Indian spice blends and can be added to appetizers and soups to yogurt salad and main courses.
Some other popular blended masalas/spices include …
Pavbhaji masala……Pav refers to the bun and bhaji is a combination of semi-mashed vegetables. From its modest origins in the laaris of Mumbai, it has become one of the most sought after delicacies everywhere… in hotels or wedding parties and many more such functions. Pav bhaji is easy and simple to cook and thus very popular with everyone. Children who otherwise are choosy with vegetables also enjoy the pavbhaji with relish!
Chana masala…..chana/chole is a popular Punjabi dish which is favourite everywhere. Chole/chana can be made spicy or mild, and it tastes especially superb when eaten with a kind of an Indian bread, called bhatura. You can also relish it with bread, parathas, and even rice.
Chaat masala…….the chaat masala is normally a blend of dried mango powder, coriander, dried ginger, salt, black pepper, asafoetida, cumin, black salt, and chilli powder. it is usually sprinkled on fruits, vegetables and other chaat dishes. It is tangy and delicious.