Thursday, July 10, 2008

Garam Masala

My husband and I love having Indian food and the spicier the better. Hubby is an excellent cook and loves taking over when it comes to preparing all our Indian meals. Garam Masala is one of the main ingredients in most Indian foods, so I thought I would share an easy recipe for making your very own Garam Masala. By the way I will be sharing a few posts in the near future of various Indian recipes. One coming up will be for a Chick Pea Gravy...a recipe which my husband received from a friend at work. He and his friends were having a luncheon at the office and a friend had made some Chick Pea Gravy which my husband claims was "out of this world". It is served with bread or rolls. Now I haven't made it yet, although I have already added the recipe to my personal cookbook files...but I purchased the Chick Peas last Saturday and just need to get a couple of more ingredients and I am set to go. Looking forward to making it on Saturday.

Well on with the Garam Masala.

1 /2" Cinnamon Stick (about 1 heaping tsp broken)

2 Bay Leaves, broken

3 tablespoons Green Cardamom Pods

2 teaspoons Fenugreek Seeds

1 tablespoon Whole Cumin Seeds

1 tablespoon Whole Coriander Seeds

1 tablespoon Black Peppercorns

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Whole Cloves

1 teaspoon Blade Mace

Preparation Instructions

Break the cinnamon sticks into pieces.

Crumble the bay leaves.

Heat a heavy frying pan and after 2-3 minutes put in the whole spices.

Dry roast over medium heat until the color darkens, stirring or shaking the pan frequently to prevent burning. Burns very easily!

Leave to cool, then grind.
Apparently stored in a airtight jar this will last 3-4 months.
You can add 2 teaspoons of ground tumeric after grinding to add a golden color and/or add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground ginger to give some heat, or to taste."

Let me know how yours comes out!

A little info about Garam Masala....

Garam means Hot and Masala in this sense means spice mix, although not many are hot as the name implies, but . There are hundreds of varieties, but suprisingly not many are available to public viewing as their secret content is often jealously guarded by families and chefs alike.

Garam Masala is often used towards the very end of the cooking process, and sometimes just sprinkled over the dish as it is being served. It creates that wonderful smell and taste we are so used to, and because most spice mixes are delicate they would not withstand a long cooking time and still preserve their aromas and flavours.

The typical spices found in Garam Masala are; Coriander, Cumin, Cinnamon or Cassia, Asian Bay leaves, cloves, Cardamoms, Turmeric, and Chillies. Quite often these are roasted whole and when cool they ground to a fine or coarse powder. A grinding stone is the best method as it releases the flavours, but you can use a coffee grinder which will do a reasonble job; but beware some spices like Cumin cause the spindle to seix=ze and attack the plastic also. So make sure you clean the grinder thoroughly each time.

It is always preferable to make your own Garam Masalas as commercial packaged varieties are often contain fillers, additives and inferior spices. Make up in small quantities, keep them in a glass jar (spices affect some plastics) and store them in a dark cool place, and don't keep them for too long as the soon lose their qualities.

Cheers From Patricia


  1. This is fantastic, I'm going to have to save this. I'm always taking the easy way out and using the powder because I didn't know how to make it from scratch :).

  2. Very nice recipe, but I must say that I personally would never add turmeric! Here are some pix of me making garam masala on my blog: