A combination of different warm spices including cinnamon, cardamom, clove, and bay leaf, garam masala is an essential ingredient to add a complex depth to your Indian dishes. While many people use garam at the beginning of cooking a recipe, here’s the real trick that Indian cooks use:

Ground garam masala powder is typically added at the end of the cooking process to preserve the aroma and taste of the warm spices, giving your dish a lift of flavor before serving. Since many Indian sauces are long-simmering, adding garam masala powder at the beginning would mute the flavors of the spaces

Instead, use the whole spices of garam masala at the beginning (e.g. cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, cloves, and bay leaves) and save the powder for the end.

You can of course use garam masala powder at any point in the cooking process, but adding a sprinkle at the end of the recipe will heighten the flavors of the dish to new levels. While many of us don’t think of garam masala as a “finishing spice,” in traditional Indian cooking, it is!

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