How To Make Garam Masala

garam masala ingredients

In today’s post I will be covering Garam Masala Powder. It’s the essential spice in most Indian dishes. It’s a blend of various dry spices to achieve a fragrant pungent floral note. Indian curries, use this powder as a finishing touch to give it a punch of flavor.  Garam in hindi means hot, not necessarily referring to the spiciness of the powder but to the intensity.

All the above ingredients are dried whole spices. Some of the ingredients used might seem foreign, but I assure you a nearby Indian store will carry all these ingredients.  Now most generic grocery stores have an Indian section, so check that out too.  Dry whole spices are used because of their long shelf life; being whole and not broken down to powder keeps the flavor intact.  Dry roasting the spices awakens and releases the essential oils, and gives the powder a slight nutty flavor.

Indian stores have prepackaged garam masala, but it doesn’t even compare to a fresh recipe. Most are ground in a huge warehouse and on shelves for months or years. By the time one gets it home it’s a milder version and holds little to no fragrance and taste.

When dry roasting always keep the spices moving by stirring constantly. Another important pointer keep the heat medium low, if you feel the skillet is too hot; place the skillet off the heat for 30 seconds or so.

This is roughly one-third of the roasted spices semi-grounded

spice blend in grinder

This is what the garam masala should look like after fully grinding it  in a coffee grinder

blended garam masala

After the garam masala is ground to a powder. I would use a fine sieve to strain any bigger pieces and regrind to get a finely milled powder. This important when you are using it as a finally touch to curries, wouldn’t want guest biting a piece of cinnamon or the fibrous part of the cardamom shell.

Adding this garam masala to roasted vegetables, curries, stews, barbeque meat, and many more possibilities will give an authentic Indian flavor. A little goes a long way as well, so don’t go crazy on the garam masala!

How To Make Garam Masala
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • • 2-3 sticks of Indian cinnamon
  • • 4-5 dried bay leaves
  • • 2 tbsp. star anise
  • • 1 tbsp. green cardamom
  • • 3 pods black cardamom
  • • 5-6 dried Kashmiri chilies
  • • 2 pieces of mace
  • • 1 tbsp black peppercorn
  • • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  1. Heat a dry medium size skillet on low/medium heat.
  2. Add the bigger size spices (Cinnamon, bay leaves, star anise, green cardamom, black cardamom, and dried Kashmiri chilies) in the skillet to roast continuously stirring to avoid burning. Roast the bigger spices for approximately 3-4 minutes.
  3. Now you can add the mace, black peppercorn, and fennel seeds. Roast the spices for another 2 minutes. Lower the heat if the skillet is getting hot or smoking.
  4. Now place the spices in a separate dish to cool completely.
  5. Once the spices are cooled, grind the spices in a coffee grinder to make a fine powder.
  6. To ensure a fine powder, sieve the grinded powder to remove the bigger bits. You can regrind the bigger bits and repeat the process. And grind the spices in batches initially not to overcrowd the grinder.
  7. Store in a glass container and place in a cool dry place to ensure freshness. This garam masala powder will stay fresh for up to 6 months. To increase the shelf life, keep it in an airtight container in a refrigerator for about a year.
  8. This recipe yields 1 cup of garam masala powder


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