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Garam Masala Spice

Garam Masala Recipe

Garam Masala is one of the most popular spice blends in North Indian and Moghul cuisine.

The word "garam" refers to the intense or pungent spice flavor and not "hot" as in the capsaicin content, and "massala" literally means “any mixture" - Garam Masala is an intense spice seasoning made by blending dry-roasted, ground spices, such as black pepper, cumin, cloves, and cardamom.

In truth, there are as many variations of garam masala (which may contain up to 12 spices) as there are Indian families or cooks that use the blend.

Garam masala is usually either added to a dish toward the end of cooking or sprinkled over the surface just before serving.

Garam masala mixes can be found in many markets, although most cooks agree that garam masala tastes better when it is made fresh.

Garam Masala

Yield: 1/4 cup
Garam Masala Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Cook Time: 8-10 minutes

Throughout south Asia, masala blends are as diverse as the families that create them. Try your own variations!


  • 2 Tbsp coriander seeds, ground 
  • 2 Tbsp cumin seeds, ground
  • 2 Tbsp cardamon seeds 
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg (grated)
  • ½ tsp saffron 
  • 2 Tbsp black peppercorns (Optional;this can be added if the mix is to be used immediately, but if the mixture is to be kept, the fragrance will diminish so you should add pepper to your dish during preparation)  

Directions: Garam Masala

  1. Using a cast iron pan, toast the cumin, cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon, coriander and cloves over medium heat being careful the spice do not burn. Continue toasting the spices until they are a bit darker in color and have a rich aroma (roughly 8-10 minutes or as needed).
  2. Let the spices cool entirely.
  3. Put the roasted spices in a mortar and use a pestal (or coffee grinder) to grind the mixture and create the masala powder.
  4. Mix in the saffron and nutmeg. 
Your Garam Masala can be stored in an airtight container for up to 6 months.