Staple Corner: How to Make Your Own Garam Masala Spice Blend


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
As some of my readers might not have ready access to some of the spice mixtures that will appear in these pages, I will be providing recipes so you can make your own at home. Since garam masala is so often used in so many Indian dishes, I'll provide a few variations here for my readers to try.

Update: Please see this post for another version of garam masala.

Homemade Garam MasalaHomemade Garam Masala
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on March 20, 2007

Four different methods for making the classic warming and fragrant garam masala Indian spice blend at home

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Classic Garam Masala: a classic and simple version of the famous warming and fragrant Indian garam masala spice blend

From Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian: More Than 650 Meatless Recipes from Around the World

Ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2-inch stick cinnamon
  • 1/3 of a whole nutmeg or 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 bay leaf
Instructions:
  • Grind the spices to a fine powder in a coffee grinder or blender. Store in a tightly-sealed jar in a cool and dry place for up to 4 months. Use an opaque jar or keep the spice blend away from light.

  • Garam masala spices can also be used whole. For a milder version, decrease the amount of cardamom seeds, increase the amount of cumin seeds, and add some coriander seeds.

Makes about 2 tablespoons

Yamuna Devi's Garam Masala: a smoky and aromatic and slightly spicy garam masala blend made from dry-roasted seeds and spices

From Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking

Ingredients:
  • 1 dried whole red chili
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 5 cloves mace
  • 1/4 cup whole cloves
  • 3 3-inch sticks cinnamon
  • 15 black cardamom pods
  • 1/2 cup cumin seeds
  • 2/3 cups coriander seeds
  • 1/4 cup fennel seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground nutmeg
Instructions:
  • Toast the seeds and spices in a heavy pan over low heat for about 15 minutes to release the flavor, stirring occasionally. Crush the cinnamon sticks and remove the black seeds inside the cardamom pods. Discard the pods. Grind to a fine powder and store in a tightly-sealed jar in a cool and dry place for up to 4 months. Use an opaque jar or keep the spice blend away from light.

Makes about 1 cup

Delhi-Style Garam Masala: a simple dry-roasted version of garam masala with a sweet, earthy and pungent essence

From Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking

Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup whole cloves
  • 5 3-inch sticks cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup green cardamom pods
  • 1 cup cumin seeds
  • 3/4 cup coriander seeds
Instructions:
  • Toast the seeds and spices in a heavy pan over low heat for about 15 minutes to release the flavor, stirring occasionally. Crush the cinnamon sticks and remove the seeds inside the cardamom pods. Discard the pods. Grind to a fine powder and store in a tightly-sealed jar in a cool and dry place for up to 4 months. Use an opaque jar or keep the spice blend away from light.

Makes about 1 cup

Bengali-Style Garam Masala: a robust and extraordinarily fragrant dry-roasted version of the classic Indian garam masala spice blend

From Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking

Ingredients:
  • 3 to 4 dried whole red chilies
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons green peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons white peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 3 3-inch sticks cinnamon
  • 20 green cardamom pods
  • 1/4 cup cumin seeds
  • 3/4 cup coriander seeds
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
Instructions:
  • Toast the seeds and spices in a heavy pan over low heat for about 15 minutes to release the flavor, stirring occasionally. Crush the cinnamon sticks and remove the seeds inside the cardamom pods. Discard the pods. Grind to a fine powder and store in a tightly-sealed jar in a cool and dry place for up to 4 months. Use an opaque jar or keep the spice blend away from light.

Makes about 1 cup

6 comments:

Fergy said...

Thanks for the emails watching and waiting. OMG I sound like a stalker LOL.

Fergy said...

Re: the bay leaf. I've always simmered then removed. Is it actually ground in an left in? Thanks Lisa

Lisa said...

Grind it and leave it in!

Fergy said...

Thanks! I figured that,trying to leave my anglo-saxon past behind. ;)

Ian Scott said...

This is awesome! Many years ago, I had the wonderful experience of enjoying a number of East Indian dishes prepared by an Indian woman - and garam masala was a staple "spice."

I've never been happy with the commercially purchased garam masalas - now that I know what makes it up, I can make my own until I'm happy!

And Fergy - ground bay leaves are great. If you ever make your own soups - grind those bay leaves. Split Yellow pea soup with a good volume of ground bay leaves is very tasty. The flavour of the bay leaves is imparted to the soup far better than whole bay leaves that are later removed.

Lisa said...

I'm glad you are finding my blog useful Ian! Keep checking in, as I have some great recipes and ideas planned for future inclusion.