Garam Masala


I’ve held out long enough.  I always avoid grinding my own spices, because I haven’t wanted to re-purpose my coffee bean grinder.  I’m not sure why.  I no longer own a coffeemaker (I was really over-caffeinated for a couple years there), so the scenario of me grinding my own coffee beans doesn’t really exist anymore.  So, I finally broke down and decided to whip up my own, personal, tasty little garam masala recipe.  The lack of this spice has stood between me and too many excellent Indian dishes for too long.  Not so this week, as I prepared to have Samosafest ’09.  I’m also looking forward to what this might deliver when I make chicken curry next.

“Garam masala” means “hot spice.”  Not hot in the sense of spicy, but hot as in cooked.  Garam masala is often cooked or added to a paste of aromatics in the pan, intensifying the aromas and infusing the dish with perfumed flavors.  It’s pungent, and it smells divine.  Traditionally, all cooks have their own recipe; it’s the secret weapon in great home cooking.  I’ve made a nice sized batch, and I am keeping it in an airtight container in my spice cabinet.  My intent is to use it all within the next month or two so that it retains as much of its flavor as possible.  I’ve already spiked some puff pastry samosas with it.  

I’m submitting this recipe for garam masala to Weekend Herb Blogging # 167 hosted by Chris over at Mele Cotte .

Garam Masala

  • 1 T green cardamom pods
  • 1 3″ long cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
  • 2 T cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 T black Tellicherry peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 T coriander seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 dried red chili

Grind all spices together in a coffee bean grinder until they are finely ground.  If desired, pour spices through a sieve to remove any remaining large pieces.  Store in an airtight container in a dark place.  Use within 2-3 months for freshest flavor.  

Makes 1/3 cup.


20 thoughts on “Garam Masala

  1. Pingback: Puff Pastry Samosas « Appoggiatura

  2. Nothing quite like the aroma of freshly ground spices. It’s been a while since I tried making my own masala mix – next time I think I’ll try your spice combo 🙂

  3. Good one. I love putting spice mixtures together and have to wipe out my coffee grinder to make them. I do have a molcajete, but don’t always use it. Sooooo lazy at times. Glad you posted this, because it’s pushing me to not be!

  4. @ Jessie – It’s over two days later, and my house is still filled with the smell. So good you’d think you’d teleported to the subcontinent.

    @ noble pig – Thank you! I’m embarassed it’s taken me so long to cave, but now that I have let me encourage you! I have been lurking on your blog for a little while now…

    @ Daily Spud – I hope you try it! It’s well-flavored, and I’m dreaming of new recipes.

    @ maryann – You know what they say about great minds….post your recipe! I made samosas. And now, now I will be making chicken biryani, too, thanks to your idea!

    @ Robin – amazingly uncomplicated. And, I feel like a champ for having actually used up a few spices to make it. Ha! Perhaps I will use them all within a year for once!

    @ Chris – Thank YOU. Love your site – glad I found it through WHB.

    @ kellypea – I know what you mean about the lazy! I’ve got a chronic case. Glad I finally broke down on this one, though. I’m scheming up all sorts of delicious.

  5. Fresh is always best!

    And I’ve heard that you can “clean” your coffee grinder by putting coarse salt through it – and then you can use the salt. Think it would work?

  6. kudos to you! garam masala is really a wonderful component to so many dishes, and i’m sure it’s even more extraordinary freshly ground. unfortunately, i too suffer from chronic laziness. 🙂

  7. Pingback: Garam Masala Chicken « Appoggiatura

  8. @ Abby – I think it would. And I think that that salt would taste delicious. Must try! Will let you know!

    @ Grace – It was great freshly ground. I’ve used so much since I made it. I am glad I got past the lazy – you won’t regret it.

  9. Pingback: Spicy Carrot Soup with Cilantro-Lime Puree « Appoggiatura

  10. Pingback: Chana Masala (Chickpea Curry) « Appoggiatura

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