Apr 2, 2018

Madhur Jaffrey's Garam Masala

madhur jaffrey, recipe, garam masala, easy, indian, coffee grinder, spice mix, cardamom, cloves, cumin, nutmeg, pepper, cinnamon,

There are as many versions of garam masala as there are home cooks in India. This recipe for the versatile and aromatic spice mix is from the famed cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey. "Masala" means "spices" while "garam" means "hot," which refers to the body-warming properties of the spices in Ayurvedic medicine.

Madhur Jaffrey
For those of you who don't know who Madhur Jaffrey is - she's a Delhi-born actress credited with bringing Indian cuisines to the Americas with her debut cookbook, An Invitation to Indian Cooking (1973). She has written over a dozen cookbooks and appeared on several related television programs, the most notable of which was Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cookery, which premiered in the UK in 1982. Her recipes are not always authentic due to their being written for western home cooks and what would be available in a western supermarket in the 70's and 80's. But they are always beautifully written, easy to follow, and can be relied on to taste great!


Ms. Jaffrey's recipe for garam masala is quite lavish in its use of spices yet quite practical. Costly green cardamom takes center stage in this vibrant mix while the less expensive but equally flavorful cumin, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg are the supporting cast. This does not taste anything like the garam masala you'd typically buy readymade! No cheap fillers like coriander or fenugreek in this blend. Ms. Jaffrey has also scaled this recipe down to the perfect amount that will easily fit into an electric coffee grinder like you'd find in a western kitchen too. This is the perfect recipe if you wish to make just a few servings of this bold, versatile, and traditional spice mix.

Ingredients:
1 TBS green cardamom/elaichi pods
1 tsp cumin/jeera or black cumin/shahi jeera seeds
1 tsp whole black peppercorns/kali mirch
1 tsp whole cloves/laung
1-inch piece of cinnamon or cassia bark/dalchini, broken into pieces (or 1 tsp ground cinnamon)
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg/jaiphal or allspice

Here's what to do:
1) Place all the spices in a coffee or spice grinder and grind until to desired consistency.

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2) Keep in a sealed airtight and light-resistant container in a cool dark place for up to 3 months.

madhur jaffrey, recipe, garam masala, easy, indian, coffee grinder, spice mix, cardamom, cloves, cumin, nutmeg, pepper, cinnamon,

Helpful Hints:
The original recipe specified cardamom seeds. I do not have the patience to sit there and peel an entire tablespoonful of green cardamom pods. Plus my frugal Prussian farmer and Scots-Irish cheapskate genes will not let me toss those gorgeously fragrant and EXPENSIVE green pods. So I just grind them up too!

Madhur Jaffrey does not recommend dry roasting this garam masala so I don't. Works for me! I usually end up frying or cooking whatever I'm using the garam masala in anyway.

17 comments:

  1. i can almost smell it!!
    my garam masala (bought at an indian foodstore in dresden) is just finished - so that recipe comes at the right time.... just have to drive to the next big town to find the spices - village supermarkets have a very "conservative" offer around here......
    ;-)
    had to smile about *frugal Prussian farmer and Scots-Irish cheapskate* - i´m with you totally - my east prussian and silesian genes are very saving too :-D
    xxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Beate,
      Indian markets have such amazingly good prices on spices- it's worth the drive! Cheapskate heaven!
      xox

      Delete
  2. I love Madhur Jaffrey. I always buy her books when i spot them in chazzas. I've made her garam masala and agree with you, it's ace! xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Vix,
      I have quite a of MJ's early cookbooks I've collected 2nd hand too- they are the best!
      xox

      Delete
  3. Mme. Jaffrey's cookbooks are still welcomed as gifts -- at least among the more knowledgeable of my young friends who are learning to dine well and save $$$$ by learning how to prepare meals at home. (We Teutonic types also value a pfennig.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Beth,
      Mme Jaffrey's cookbooks do indeed make lovely gifts for seasoned chefs as well as noobs!
      I once was perusing an archaeology site in the High Mustang- an archaeologist with a concurrent degree in podiatry looked at my be-sandaled feet and declared them "Teutonic" due to their extreme pointy-ness.

      Delete
    2. I laughed SO hard at that! Like, snorting laugh.

      Delete
  4. Peeling cardamom pods? Not here, either-representing the Ukrainian cheapskates ;) I love her cookbooks. World Vegetarian cookbook is also great. This is pretty similar to mine except I skip the cumin as I use so much elsewhere in most of my cooking it would just be redundant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Goody,
      On the RARE occasion I have peeled cardamom pods- the peels went into my chai mix!World Veg is a classic!

      Delete
  5. Thank you, thank you for this recipe! I love to make tikka masala but the garam masala I get from the store just isn't strong enough for my tastes. I'm going to try this soon, I'm sure the flavor will be out of this world next time I make tikka masala.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kim,
      Oooo, you are going to love this! I find the readymade garam masala to be too bland for my tastes too.

      Delete
  6. I really like Madhur Jaffrey's recipes. She's so famous as a cook here in the UK, it's easy to forget she was also an actress.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mim,
      Oooo & she was such a great actress!!! Remember her spectacular performance in Cotton Mary?

      Delete
  7. I have her first book and her first TV series on VHS ! I think the series is now on YouTube could you grace us with a post on how best to cook rice
    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anon,
      A post on how to perfectly cook rice is a brilliant idea- thank you!

      Delete

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