Garam Masala

Garam masala is a blend of ground spices used extensively in Indian cuisine. It’s sometimes used on its own, but it can be mixed with other seasonings as well. The spices for garam masala are usually toasted to bring out more flavor and aroma, and then ground. The word masala simply means “spices,” and garam means “hot.” Thus the term garam masala literally translates to “hot spices.” However, garam masala doesn’t necessarily constitute a particularly spicy blend.

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Here’s a simple recipe for garam masala. If you make yours this way, starting with whole seeds which you toast and grind yourself, your garam masala will be much more fragrant and flavorful than anything you buy in a jar at the store.

  • 3 tbsp. coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp. cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp. cardamom seeds
  • 2 tbsp. black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. whole cloves
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick

Place everything but the nutmeg in a dry skillet and toast for about ten minutes over medium-high heat, stirring from time to time to keep everything cooking evenly. When the ingredients have darkened slightly and give off a rich, toasty aroma, remove them from the pan and let them cool.

Grind in a spice or coffee grinder, and mix in the freshly grated nutmeg. Store in an airtight container away from heat.