This again, is from my mom. I've added my own touch to the concept. I think that is how we have million recipes for garam masala :-) But, hey, I'm not complaining about it.
This paste can be used almost in every curry, pulao (yes pulao!). Don't be put off by the list of ingredients. Once you have all of them, you are just few minutes away from the paste. The amount and choice of spices can be changed according to personal tastes. If using in a dish for kids, moderate the amount of spices.
What you need to make this paste:
1/2 medium sized onion, roughly chopped
1 medium sized tomoto, roughly chopped
1 inch ginger piece, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup mint leaves (optional)
4 green or red chilies
1/4 cup grated fresh coconut or 3 tablespoons dry coconut.
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1/2 tablespoon jeera seeds
1 star anise
1 teaspoon cloves
1/2 inch cinnamon piece
2 cardamoms (elaichi)
1 dry bay leaf
2 tablespoons cashews
How to prepare:
Roast all dry spices and cashews in a saute-pan.
Mix all ingredients including the dry spices, add 1/2 cup water and grind fine in a blender. Do not add too much water. Add water only if the blender is not moving well.
This makes approximately 3 cups of paste. You may store it in refrigerator or freezer.