How to make Bengali Garam Masala and Bhaja Masala

>>  Wednesday, February 19, 2014

When I started my cooking for BM#39, I started with Bengali dishes. Somehow I have such fondness and enjoy Bengali cuisine. Though I confess I do make it much more spicier than it might be. I don't know. However I enjoy making it. When it was Dhokar Dalna or the many previous bengali dishes that I have prepared, everybody at home loved it.

So having decided on the dish, I was in search of the recipes and landed in couple of bengali blogs. Finally I wrote to Sandeepa for clarification. She was so sweet to explain everything and even shared her links for the Bengali Garam Masala and Bhaja Masala.

Though we use many such spice mixes in south cuisine, I always wonder why none of our ancestors tagged them with specific names. Like the Panch Phoron, we use a very similar whole spice mix in our Sambars, Tamarind Bases Gravies. Infact I have it always stocked so that I don't have to keep mixing it. However our elders have not been so innovative like the Bengalis to name.

Bengali Garam Masala 

Well anyway coming to the Bengali Garam Masala, it is a simple mix of 4 spices: Cloves, Cardamom, Cinnamon and Tej Patta. According to Sandeepa, the Tej Patta is often abandoned many times in favor of the others. However her mom always added it if a dish required tempering. She also said she addes some more spices to her garam masala. I didn't want to move from anything authentic and kept to this.

This spice mix can be simply dry roasted either on the stove top or pop them in the oven at 125 C for 5-8 minutes. The roasting is done only to warm the spices which have been lying around for a while. Instead you can sun them and then grind.

Grind to a fine powder and store in an air-tight container for future use.

Bengali Bhaja Masala

On the other hand this Bhaja Masala is used to sprinkling over most chutneys and also in vegetable chops.

Ingredients Needed:

Cumin Seeds - 2 tsp
Coriander Seeds - 2 tsp
Fennel Seeds - 2 tsp
Cardamom - 6
Clove - 8
Whole black Peppercorn - 1 tsp (Use 3-4 Dry red chillies instead if you wish)
Tej Patta - 1 small
Cinnamon/ Dalchini - a thin 1" stick

Roast for 8-10 minutes at very low heat till you get a strong spice smell. Cool and grind to a fine powder.

This measure makes a large amount of powder which can be stored for later use. You can make smaller amounts by using quarter of the measure.

Store these in air tight containers and freeze. These surely stays fresh for a long time.

You will get to read on the interesting dishes prepared from these spices in later on editions of BM!

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 37


Manjula Bharath February 19, 2014 at 1:34 AM  

Very aromatic and different spice mix :)

nandoos Kitchen February 19, 2014 at 6:56 AM  

very useful post valli.. Thanks for sharing.

The Pumpkin Farm February 19, 2014 at 11:55 AM  

nice ..never heard before

Pavani N February 21, 2014 at 12:32 AM  

Didn't think Bengali garam masala would have only 4 ingredients.

Sreevalli E February 22, 2014 at 9:03 AM  

Very flavorful masala with less ingredients..

Varadas Kitchen February 24, 2014 at 1:36 AM  

Fennel seeds must give it a nice aroma. Very useful post.

Archana Potdar February 24, 2014 at 9:17 PM  

This is great masala. Love the flavours

Harini-Jaya R February 25, 2014 at 8:57 AM  

I was expecting some of the ingredients of the panch poran :)

Chef Mireille February 26, 2014 at 9:13 AM  

that's a small bay leaf? wow how big do your large ones come?
flavorful masala

Padmajha PJ March 1, 2014 at 9:58 AM  

Handy mix and I am going to try the Bhajua masala.Sounds flavorful..

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