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Biryani Masala is essentially a variation of Garam Masala.  The difference between the two is in the proportion of spices. The recipe for Garam Masala itself changes from one household to another and it is really hard to come up with a standard recipe for any of the dry masala powders used across India. As per the recipes that I follow, I can say that generally Biryani Masala has more of ‘sweet’ spices than ‘hot’ spices. What I consider sweet spices are green cardamom, nutmeg, mace, star anise & cinnamon. These spices do not have much heat in them but they are extremely fragrant and that’s why they are used in desserts as well. What I consider ‘hot’ spices are cloves, black pepper & black cardamom. Some recipes do not call for cumin & coriander in Biryani Masala but others do. Here’s the recipe I follow:

  • 10 green cardamoms
  • 1 small nutmeg
  • 2-3 blades of mace
  • 2 star anise
  •  3″ piece cinnamon
  •  1 black cardamom
  • 3 cloves
  • 2-3 dry bay leaves
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 10-15 peppercorns

Dry roast all the spices separately on a low heat until they are fragrant. After they cool down, grind them to a fine powder using a spice grinder. Store in airtight container. If you do not have a spice grinder, a coffee grinder works just as well.

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