Garam Masala – The Famous Indian Blended Spices

A blend of ground spices used alone or with other seasonings is called the Garam masala. Different regions prepare garam masala recipes in accordance to region and personal taste and thus varying combinations of spices are used as per the local flavour. The spices are carefully blended to achieve a balanced effect. The famous Indian Garam Masala is available as a commercially prepared ground mixture. It is often added at the end of cooking a dish to retain its aroma. The garam masala is the most popular spice blend used throughout India. It is the basis for Indian curries. It gives a delicious final touch to a dish. Some of the basic whole spices used to prepare the garam masala are….bay leaves, cloves, cardamoms, peppercorns, cinnamon, mace, cumin seeds nutmeg, carom seeds, star anise, coriander seeds, etc. It has a pungent taste which is important to make the flavourful recipes.

The Garam masala is used in vegetable recipes, curries, dal and many such dishes. It can also be used as a great sprinkling powder, and can be used just before serving the hot and sizzling dishes. Using a small amount of garam masala powder is enough to bring out the richness of gravy and even vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Dal fry, dal makhani, simple dal can be topped with a pinch of garam masala for that unique touch at the time of serving. The Garam masala is to be stored in air-tight container and should be away from wet places.

Garam masala is known to be the heart of many Indian dishes. Spices actually slow down the ageing process while promoting weight loss. Black pepper used in the garam masala contains a type of antioxidant that is so powerful that it does a lot of good. Pepper is anti-bacterial and anti-carcinogenic. It increases the body’s ability to absorb vitamins, minerals, and proteins. It is a natural metabolism booster, and also contains a compound that breaks down fat cells. Black Pepper is high in Vitamin K and manganese, which assists the body in metabolizing fats and carbs. Cardamom relieves gas, heart burn, and soothes stomach upsets. It increases blood circulation and also flushes the toxins from the body. It is a natural breath freshener. Cardamom reduces the formation of blood clots while lowering blood pressure and is a great source of manganese. It is also anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-carcinogenic.

Cinnamon is an excellent source of calcium and fibre. It is a natural painkiller and containsGaram Masala a potent antioxidant. It fights bad breath, and kills the bacteria responsible for it. Cinnamon lowers blood sugar levels while increasing insulin production. Cloves relieve tooth aches. Cloves have a blood purifying property and thus support a healthy immune system. Cloves boost the metabolism and remove toxins from the blood stream. They help cardiovascular health by preventing the formation of blood clots while regulating blood sugar levels. Cloves provide an excellent source of calcium and vitamin K. While low in Omega 6’s, cloves are impressively high in omega 3′s. So the famous Indian garam masala is not just tasty…but healthy too.

Indian Sweets – Shrikhand, Puranpoli, Kaju Barfi, Sooji Ladoo

Indian Sweets (MITHAAS…)

SHRIKHAND…

Ingredients:

1/2 kg. Curds/yoghurt

300grams sugar

1/2 tsp. cardamom powder

A few strands of saffron

1/2 tbsp. Pistachios & almonds crushed

Method:

Tie curd in a clean muslin cloth overnight. (6-7 hours).

Take into a bowl, add sugar, and mix.

Keep aside for 30 minutes to allow sugar to dissolve.

Rub saffron into 1 tbsp. milk till well broken and dissolved. Keep aside.

Beat the sugar-curd mixture.

Pass through a big holed sieve, pressing with hand or spatula.

Mix in cardamom powder and dissolved saffron and half of the nuts.

Empty the shrikhand into a glass serving bowl, top with remaining nuts.

Chill for 1-2 hours before serving.

Variations: To make fruit flavoured shrikhand, eg. Mango, strawberry, etc., add pulp at the stage of adding cardamom and saffron.

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