What Garam Masala Is
With the literal meaning of hot spices, garam masala is an essential ingredient in Indian cooking that combines fragrant whole spices that are more expensive than other spices.
The ancient Indian Ayurvedic medicine encourages using this spice mix to warm the body. Hence, you see this Indian spice mix in many savory dishes such as curries, lentils, or kebabs. Hot spices include black cardamom, cloves, black pepper, black cumin seeds, nutmeg, cinnamon, mace, and bay leaves.
This warming spice blend is widely used in India and across the Indian subcontinent, such as Pakistan, Bengali, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar, Bhutan, etc. Therefore, every region will have a different recipe from one another. Although there might be differences, you see more similarities in their essential spices.
If you love Pakistani and Indian cuisine, I suggest you mix the spices because homemade garam masala is far superior to the shop-bought one. Not only can you ensure the quality of each ingredient is good, but there won’t be any filler spices in your spice blend. So, you will have a high-quality aromatic spice blend.
What Dishes You Use Garam Masala for
Garam masala is used in many Pakistani and Indian dishes. You can add garam masala to curries, such as aloo gosht, keema matar, chicken karahi, chicken shorba, dal gosht, etc. Adding this warming spice mix toward the end of cooking is better for the best aroma and flavor.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Original spice mix: This homemade garam masala recipe only uses a blend of warming spices without fillers, such as coriander. So, you get the real flavor and aroma of the authentic masala.
- Superior quality: Compared to the shop-bought one, you can ensure that every ingredient in the mix is high-quality. And there are no unnecessary added spices to the blend.
- Cost-effective: Every spice used in this recipe is common in any Indian cooking kitchen. There is no need to buy extra spices when you can grind your whole spices at home.
- Fresh, fragrant spices: If you buy garam masala from the shop, there is a chance that the spice mix has been kept there for some time, making it not fresh anymore. When you mix your whole spices and grind them into fine powder, you’ll know that the quality of your spice mix is new. And you can always make it in enough quantity without having too much leftover for too long.
Ingredients for This Spice Mix
Since garam means warm and masala means spices, our garam masala only consists of herbs with this warming effect.
- Black cardamom seeds: Take the seeds out of the skin.
- Whole cloves.
- Black peppercorns.
- Cumin seeds: Preferably the black cumin seeds. However, ordinary ones are good, too.
- Cinnamon sticks: Make sure you do not mistake it for Cassia bark, often sold as cinnamon. Real cinnamon has a smooth texture with a reddish-brown color. It is also known as cinnamon quills.
As mentioned above, there are hundreds of recipes for this spice blend. The recipe you’re seeing here is the true blend of garam masala that can be potent and used in small quantities.
- Iron skillet or a frying pan.
- Spice grinder.
- Jar with lid.
How To Make Garam Masala
To make the best garam masala with a better aroma, toast the spices in a frying pan or a skillet. Fry the whole spices without any oil at medium heat for about 2-3 minutes or until you can smell the delicious fragrance from the spices.
Take them off the heat and place the spices into a bowl to cool down.
When they are at room temperature, put them into a grinder bowl and grind them until you get a fine garam masala powder. Transfer the spice blend into a sterilized jar and put the lid on. Or, you can use this blend of spices for your cooking immediately if you need to.
Top Tips To Make The Best Warming Spice
- Ensure the whole spices are fresh and have yet to expire.
- Do not skip roasting the spices; this will help them release aromatic oil, making your garam masala spice blend even better.
- When you pan-roast the whole spices, try to keep stirring to prevent the spices from getting burned.
- Try to make garam masala powder just enough for a certain period, and avoid making it in a too large quantity. Freshly ground masala is better than the old one.
Store the garam masala container in a cool room away from direct sunlight. The spice blends should keep well for months. However, I only keep it briefly as I usually make enough for about 3-4 weeks of use. The freshly made garam masala has a better aroma, so it is worth doing.
Besides, it only takes 3 minutes to toast the spices and another 3 minutes to grind them. So, it only takes less than ten minutes to make garam masala.
Let’s Make This Spice Mix
There are so many recipes in Indian cooking that use garam masala. We can see why these ground spices are essential if you like making Pakistani and Indian food.
Thank you for checking this recipe. Please try it, and let me know how you find it in the comments below. I appreciate it.
Take care and all the best.
Garam Masala Recipe
- Frying pan or iron cast skillet.
- Electric spice grinder
- Food container with a lid or a lidded jar
- 1 tablespoon black cardamom seeds
- 2-3 inches cinnamon quill/ stick
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ⅓ of a nutmeg
- Take the cardamom seeds out of the skin and place them in a small bowl.
- Break the cinnamon into smaller pieces.
- Place the broken cinnamon, black peppercorns, cloves, cumin seeds, and nutmeg in a frying pan. Then, turn the heat to medium and dry roast the spices for about two minutes. Keep stirring the spices to prevent them from burning.
- Some spices will crackle, and they will be fragrant. Take the spices off the heat and place them on a small plate or bowl. Let them cool.
- Once the spices are at room temperature, put them in an electric spice grinder container.
- Grind the spices until they turn into fine powder.
- Transfer the spice blend into a food container or a jar with a lid. Store the jar in a cool room and away from direct sunlight.
- If possible, use black cumin seeds. However, ordinary ones will do just fine.
- Some nutmegs are pretty big, so I sometimes use ¼ of it.
- You can vary your garam masala by adding more or less of a particular spice you like.
Nutritional info in this recipe is only estimate using online calculator. You should refer to it as a guide only. Please verify with your own data if you seek an accurate info.