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Garam Masala

Updated: Sep 18, 2020

Oh garam masala - a mixture of some humble aromatic spices that adds a brand new dimension to food. It's such a staple of Indian cooking that every household practically has it, all the time, every time. There isn't necessarily a fixed recipe for it, and I've seen quite a few variations myself. I'd be keen to know if you deviate from the ingredients I'm going to use here, so that we all can learn something new. Let's get into it.


The version I'm familiar with uses the following ingredients (usually as whole spices, that's what I would strongly recommend)

  • White cumin - 100g

  • Cinnamon - 100g or 2 sticks,

  • Cloves - 3 pieces

  • Black peppercorns - 10 grams

  • Dry Ginger powder - 10 grams

  • Black cardamom - 10 grams

Just the one thing to note here, you can add whatever spices you like to it - and I'm familiar with bay leaves and nutmeg being added to this, but whatever you do, don't add turmeric. Turmeric doesn't belong in here, that's something that's reserved for curry powders.

The process

Quite simple, really -

  1. Toast all of the ingredients in a hot pan/skillet - they're aromatics, if you don't release their aroma then you've lost the essence of these spices.

  2. Once you've toasted them, blend them all up together and you're done.

The old school way, when grinders weren't as big or powerful as they are now, was to grind the spices individually, in decreasing order of size, and then combine them later on.

So, yes, that's one way to make garam masala, simple and easy. If you know of variations, just like I stated above, I'm all ears and would love to hear (read) them.

See you in the next one!

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