Saturday, January 12, 2013

Garam Masala

I am getting ready to make that curried lamb shank recipe that I saw in the paper the other day.  One of the ingredients is Garam Masala. It's a blend of a number of spices, such as, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, cardamon etc. all freshly ground in a spice blender.  The idea is that, when you add a teaspoon or so of Garam Masala to something, you are actually adding fine grains of a number of spices so the flavour is really interesting.

Gourmet oils and vinegars at Crescendo

I used to make my own, but this time I decided to buy some Garam Masala from a new vinegar, oil and spice emporium that has just opened in our neighbourhood - Crescendo.  It does save me from going out and buying a lot of spices that I may not use up before they go stale. In the shop, I was given a choice of 3 types of Masala - WOW and one even had powdered pineapple in it.  I chose the Asia Tandoori Masala - OK not Garam - which had the following ingredients:

cumin, coriander, paprika, tumeric, onion, garlic, cardamon, pepper, mustard seed, ginger, cayenne, pimento seeds, galangal, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves.

The only spice I didn't recognize was galangal.  I found out that it was similar to ginger. I guess I don't cook a lot of Thai food.

I am always amazed that stores, which serve a very niche market, survive.  There now seems to be several competitive "chains" of these oil, vinegar and spice purveyors. Either tastes are becoming more refined, or people are looking for more interesting experiences from small everyday "things." I must admit that blended spices are really the micro of microcosms. Your enrichment for the day comes from tiny grains of a myriad of different tastes all blended together. And you can change the experience daily.

Blended Spices at Crescendo

Have a wonderful day!


  1. Wow! That store looks like heaven! Spending the weekend cooking sounds like fun to me. Have a good one and thanks for sharing!

  2. Carol, you can almost smell how wonderful the inside of the store must be. Happy cooking!

  3. I make lamb shanks in Guinness! Since we're in Las Vegas for the winter I am having trouble finding lamb of any sort. May have to go to Whole Foods for a fix.