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Garam Masala

1/4 cup
Small dried red chili peppers
3 tablespoon s
Whole cumin seeds
3 tablespoon s
Whole coriander seeds
1 tablespoon
plus 1/2 teaspoon whole cardamom seeds
1 tablespoon
whole black peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon
Whole cloves
(3-inch) cinnamon sticks
1/2 cup
Ground turmeric
1/2 tablespoon
Freshly grated nutmeg
  1. In a large sauté pan, combine the chili peppers, cumin, coriander, cardamom, peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon. Put the pan over medium heat and cook the spices, stirring constantly and reducing the heat slightly if they appear to be toasting to quickly, just until they darken slightly in color and give off a rich, spicy aroma, 8 to 10 minutes. Empty the pan into a heatproof bowl and leave the spices to cool to room temperature.  
  2. Transfer the whole spices along with the turmeric and nutmeg to a spice mill, a coffee grinder, or a blender. Process until they are uniformly ground to a fine powder. Pour and push the mixture through a fine-meshed sieve to remove any large particles. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
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About this Recipe

Cooks in the Indian subcontinent don't use products labeled "curry powder." That is a Western generalization for the wide range of spice blends known as masalas. Garam masala, which means a warm or hot spice blend, is typical of Northern Indian and Pakistani cuisine, and the combination of spices in this version comes from the Punjab region that straddles the border of those two countries. Freshly toasted and ground from whole spices, it will have a much more wonderful aroma than anything that comes out of a jar of preblended powder. It is best to use a dedicated electric spice mill, like a coffee grinder, to grind the spices, as their aroma will linger. Store this mixture in an airtight container at cool room temperature and use it up within a few weeks.

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