Garam Masala History:
Garam masala is Hindi for “hot mixture of spices.” It is a blend of ground spices thought to have originated in northern India. It is currently very popular in Indian, Pakistani, and Afghan cuisines.
In traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine, Garam masala is considered a mixture of warming spices. The idea is that the spice mixture warms the body and speeds up the metabolism. This is especially important during the cold winters of northern India. However, it gained in popularity in warmer climates and now remains a mainstay in the diet throughout India.
The spice blend itself can be very complex. Although each mixture varies slightly, more common combinations include cinnamon, cardamom, black peppercorns, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, and bay leaf. The spices are first kept in their whole form and toasted in a dry pan to bring out the unique flavor of each. They are then ground to a fine powder and added to dishes while cooking.
Garam Masala Benefits:
Although garam masala may sound similar to curry powder, there are some distinct differences. Garam masala does not have turmeric, the bright gold in spice, that adds color to dishes. While turmeric is one of the main ingredients in curry powder. Garam masala also offers a sweeter taste when compared to curry powder thanks to the addition of cinnamon and nutmeg. Additionally, garam masala is traditionally added at the end of the cooking process, where curry powders are often added in the beginning.