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    Mixed Spices

    The composition of garam masala differs regionally, with wide variety across India. Some common ingredients are black & white peppercorns, cloves, malabar leaves, mace blades, black & white cumin seeds, cinnamon, black, brown & green cardamom pods, nutmeg, star anise, and coriander seeds. This is a typical Punjabi version of garam masala. Varying combinations of these and other spices are used in different garam masala recipes in accordance to region and personal taste, and none is considered more authentic than another. The components of the mix are toasted, then ground together.

    Garam masala is available as a commercially-prepared ground mixture. Many such mixtures may include a higher proportion of less-expensive spices and may contain dried red chili peppers, dried garlic, ginger powder, sesame, mustard seed, turmeric, coriander, malibar leaves, star anise and fennel. While commercial garam masala preparations can be bought ready ground, like all ground spice they do not keep well and soon lose much of their aroma. Whole spices, which keep fresh much longer, can be ground when needed using a mortar and pestle or electric coffee grinder. When commercially ground garam masala is used in dishes, it is often added at the end of cooking so that the remaining aroma is not lost. Whole garam masala, however, is added early to the cooking fat, oil, or ghee for a more pungent flavour.