Some people find cooking with spices confusing but for me it is one of my favourite things. I love being able to create such depth and layers of flavours while also keeping things light and bright on the palate and this is something that I consider exciting and challenging. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that my favourite cuisines are Thai and Indian.
I have created many Thai dishes throughout the years and am extremely comfortable with that style of cooking and although I have also cooked many Indian dishes I am still discovering the idiosyncrasies of the cuisine (and enjoying myself immensely). Along the way I have found certain things that I seem to use all the time and have found my favourite way of doing things. One of the spice blends that I use regularly in my Indian cooking is garam marsala. There are many and varied recipes in existence for this blend and this is my favourite.
garam marsala (recipe from “a little taste of india” by Murdoch Books)
makes 3 tablespoons
8 cardamom pods
2 Indian bay leaves (cassia leaves)
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
5cm (2in) piece of cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon cloves
Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods. Break the bay leaves into small pieces. Put the seeds, bay leaves and remaining ingredients in a spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle to grind to a fine powder.
Store in a small airtight container until needed.
My tips/alterations: *You cannot substitute the Indian bay leaves with normal bay leaves as the flavour profile is completely different. *3 tablespoons doesn’t sound like a lot as a final portion but when you use this spice blend you only tend to need a small amount at a time. I prefer to make it fresh when I need it as it tastes better.
ease: 10/10. If you are using a mortar and pestle you will also get a great workout.
prep time: 5-10mins
cooking time: none.
taste: 10/10. I think the reason I like this particular one is because it has quite a strong cinnamon flavour to it.
would I make it again: Yes – Whenever I need a fresh batch