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Ingredients

Garam Masala

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Staple seasoning for Indian recipes.

Time: 15 mins.

2 tablespoons cumin seeds

2 tablespoons coriander seeds

2 tablespoons cardamom seeds

2 tablespoons black peppercorns

1 (3-inch) stick cinnamon, broken

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon saffron (optional)

Put the cumin, coriander, cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon, and cloves in a dry heavy skillet over medium-low heat.

Toast the spices, stirring occasionally, until they turn several shades darker and give off a sweet smoky aroma, about 7-10 minutes.

DO NOT raise the heat to quicken the process or the outsides of the spices will brown while leaving the insides undercooked.

Once the spices are toasted, remove from heat and let them cool completely.

Working in batches, if necessary, transfer the mixture to a spice mill or coffee grinder and grind to a powder.

Stir in the nutmeg (and saffron, if using).

Use immediately or store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Makes about 1/2 cup.