What is Garam Masala?
Garam masala is a well known and popular Indian spice mix, used in a multitude of dishes throughout Indian cuisine and is sometimes found in fusion recipes as well. There are different variations of garam masala, however; some of the common spices include coriander, cumin, cinnamon, ginger and black pepper. Nutmeg, cloves, mace and other spices may be added. The general flavor of garam masala is sweet and a bit spicy with a very warm quality. This powder is brown and typically used in smaller amounts.
...Cumin is a spice used in many cuisines around the world. The seed from which cumin is ground is a thin seed with a long body and tapered ends. Cumin is just a few millimeters in length and has a light brown or tan tone, which can look a bit grey. Ground cumin is light brown and has a flavor that is spicy, earthy and a little nutty. When pan heated, the flavor of cumin is both tempered and enhanced.
...Ginger is a spice whose root is used in food around the world. The root is grown underground and has a hard body and thin beige skin. The root has many rounded and long shoots and is often fat. The flesh of the ginger is golden colored with a flavor that is earthy, spicy and bright. Ginger is made into tea, used in sauces, desserts and savory dishes.
...Cinnamon is an extremely popular spice from the peeled or powdered bark of the cassia or cinnamon tree. The color of the spice is a warm brown tone. The taste is sweet, spicy without heat, and a hint savory, with a similar smell. Cinnamon has a warm quality in both taste and scent. It is used across the world in curries, American desserts and a multitude of dishes. It tends to have a taste and smell that draws you towards it.
...The peppercorn plant grows in tropical climate and produces tiny black fruit. The fruit is dried and become hard. At this point it is ground into a textured powder comprised of black and grey dots. It has a flavor that is spicy, pungent and sharp. Pepper is an extremely popular spice, especially in Western cuisines and lends a gentle heat to dishes. There are different varieties of black pepper and the flavor changes subtly because of this.
...Garlic is used in cuisines around the world and is extremely popular for its depth of flavor. The garlic bulb forms underneath the soil and is harvested once it reaches maturity. The bulb typically has thin, dry, white and flaky skin, surrounding the individual cloves. Often there are 10-12 cloves to a bulb/head of garlic. The cloves are cream colored with a strong smell and flavor that is spicy and sharp. Garlic takes on a nutty flavor in addition, when cooked. It is used in countless dishes, sauces, breads and more.