Garam Masala

The best way to avoid gluten (or any other ingredients) is to cook from whole foods. Processed foods are are risky, generally of lower quality, and less healthy.

It’s easy to get into a rut with routine food preparation, though, so it’s handy to have some tricks up your sleeve.

Garam masala (literally “hot mixture”) is commonly used in Indian cuisine. It is a mix of a variety of spices such as pepper, cloves, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom and coriander seeds. The mix of ingredients varies by region and chef, so there is no official recipe.

Just because it is considered an Indian seasoning doesn’t man it isn’t useful for other things. There’s a reason it’s enjoyed by over a billion people – it’s good on just about everything. It is a great mix of spice and sweet, and adds dimension to most anything.

There are commercial mixes available, but you should try grinding your own. Whole foods and all that. Also, ground spices do not keep their flavor as long as whole. Most commercial garam masala mixes include chili pepper powder, which causes me trouble.

There are a lot of places to buy whole spices. You can get some at your local supermart, but look for an Indian market in your town. And there is always the internet.

It is said there are as many garam masala recipes as there are families in India. There aren’t quite that many recipes to be found on the internet, but there are quite a few. Take your pick.

But what do you do with it? You can use it to season meats and vegetables. Sprinkle it in cooking rice and you have pilaf. And it is the basis of curry. Garam masala would add an extra punch to soups, risotto, cream of buckwheat, or oatmeal.

Whole spices keep a long time when stored in a cool, dry place. So you should prepare garam masala in small batches, toasting and grinding the spices as you need them.

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