- Prep 10min
ByThe Food in My Beard
Updated October 21, 2014
tablespoons coriander seed
tablespoon de-shelled cardamom
Toast spices in dry skillet until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Be sure not to burn!
Grind spices in a coffee grinder, spice grinder, blender, food processor, or mortar and pestle.
Nutrition InformationNo nutrition information available for this recipe
Garam Masala Seasoning Mix
This versatile Garam Masala seasoning mix recipe will get you started on your Indian dishes with core ingredients that are most likely readily available in your cupboards. ‘Masala’ means spice and you will absolutely love this aromatic blend, finding that it can be used in a number of dishes that are certainly not limited to Indian food.
Garam Masala differs from region to region, but these base ingredients will help you out with your Indian food recipes.
What is Garam Masala?
Garam masala is an aromatic Indian mixture that typically includes spices that are supposed to heat the body. "Garam" means hot and "masala" means spice mixture.
The heat producing spices usually include cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, black cumin, black pepper, nutmeg etc. Traditionally, only small amounts of the spice mix were used to flavor a dish.
Commercialization and a mass appeal to non-Indian communities has led to an evolution of garam masala to include more of the milder spices, such as coriander and cumin. The latter spices are cheaper and therefore used in larger quantities to make the ready-made garam masala mixes, making them less desirable than the homemade versions.
Even if you were to use more coriander, cumin etc., in a homemade blend, it will absolutely taste more delicious than most commercial spice blends.
Here, I share with you an authentic recipe that you will love. A different and milder spice blend that may interest you is Advieh (Persian spice mix).
The Kitchen Docs
Garam masala is the potent, piquant spice blend that is very characteristic of every North Indian savory dish. Ten minutes and a perfect blend of therapeutic and aromatic spices that can take any dish from blah to fab is ready for you.
This post may contain affiliate links.
First time in sixteen years that we lived in the United States, I found myself without my mom’s garam masala. If you know me and a little bit about my cooking, you might know its a BIG problem. You see every year my mom makes sure that my stash of homemade garam masala is stocked up. Either one of us visits India or someone from home comes and visits us. So in the past decade and a half I have never run out of garam masala.
Then 2020 showed up and brought Covid 19 with it and all travels stalled. And along with broken channels of family get togethers, hugs, long talks and other important things in life, my avenue to restock garam masala was disrupted as well. Mommy and I might have discussed garam masala recipe several times in the years gone by but it has always been a little bit of this and a little bit of that kind of discussion. That obviously changed once my supply started running dangerously low. So I sat down with my mommy (over a phone call, sadly) and noted down a “proper” recipe.
What is Garam Masala?
Garam Masala is an elixir of life for North Indian recipes. A gentle touch of this magical spice elevates a dish to levels that you might consider it incapable of achieving. A potent blend of healing spices that have their roots in the ancient science of Ayurveda. The name itself literally translates into warm (garam) spice mix (masala) and that’s exactly what it is. Think of it not as hot spicy but a warm spice that adds a depth of flavor to your Indian dishes.
As is with many other Indian recipes that I have shared on the blog (like this one), every family probably has their own version of garam masala. This recipe is a simpler version of my mom’s version since some of the whole spices that she adds are hard to find here. I have used all the whole spices that are easy to find in the Indian grocery stores and include cumin seeds, black peppercorns, green and black cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon sticks, mace, bay leaves and star anise. But, according to my mom, if you cannot find all of these spices, you can make pretty kicka** garam masala with just five of these spices. These would be cumin seeds, black peppercorns, green cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon sticks (more on spices here). And trust me these five are available at pretty much every regular grocery store.
Why make your own?
I hear you. But I promise you, once you make your own you will never go back to a store bought one. Indian grocery stores are flooded with box after box of different brands of garam masala but they lack something – the freshness and the potency. It’s just not the same thing as a homemade one. I love the homemade chana masala and all other spices that I have shared about, but this one, undoubtedly, takes the crown.
Recipe run down
It’s the simplest of the recipes. Basically get all your ingredients together, dry roast them in a pan on medium heat. Let cool for a little bit. And then grind in a spice/coffee grinder. That’s it. You have the most divine spice concoction on your hands. And YOU made it!
- 1/4 cup coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons cardamom pods
- Two 3-inch cinnamon sticks, broken into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 whole nutmeg
Dry-roast the coriander seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, sliding the skillet back and forth over the burner to prevent burning, until the seeds exude a pleasant aroma, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Repeat the process, one at a time, with the cumin seeds, peppercorns, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. Let cool completely.
Put all the ingredients except the nutmeg in a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder. Transfer to a bowl. Grate the nutmeg over the mixture. Stir to mix well.
Transfer to a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. The garam masala will keep at room temperature for at least a month.