The aromatic scent of food being cooked with garam masala will make your taste buds have a conversation with your stomach. Garam, which means hot, and masala, which means mixture of spices, originated from the subcontinent of India and is common in Asian and African cuisine.
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Garam masala is a combination and blend of certain spices though they may differ regionally. The typical Indian garam masala version is dried and toasted and consists of black and white pepper, cinnamon, curry leaves, coriander, cumin, fennel, clove mace, green and black cardamom pods and cloves. Not very spicy, garam masala, once ground, is typically gluten free and is a great spice for vegetarian and vegan recipes. To get the best flavour and aroma out of garam masala, add it to your recipe at the beginning of your dish as you are cooking. You can use garam masala in meats, legumes and vegetables.
One of my personal favourites is biriani. Quick recipe: Heat oil, add meat, allow to cook (3-5 minutes), add onions, salt, pepper, garam masala, turmeric, cumin, ginger, garlic, sauté, add tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes. Add sour milk, simmer for 30 minutes. Put into serving dish and cover with cooked rice, then serve.
With about Sh120 for 100g, walk into any major supermarket or Indian food store and you can buy garam masala.
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