Editor’s Note: Bindu Grandhi, The Flex Cook, is back this month blogging about one of my favourite spices, Garam Masala. She shares the joys of the home-made version and even, her Mother’s recipe!
Recently, a lovely lady named Evie sought my advice on how to make Garam Masala because she could not find it in her local supermarket. Typically, Garam Masala can be purchased ready-made in large supermarket chains, Whole Foods or specialty Asian/Indian grocery stores (which by the way has better quality and price).
But it can also be made from freshly ground spices in the comfort of your own home. Garam Masala means “hot spices.” It is a blend of many ground spices, some of which are known to ‘heat’ the body, such as cinnamon, black peppercorns, and cloves.
This spice is used in many meat curries and rice dishes, but I also use it in my seafood preparation and vegetable curries.
There is no set recipe for Garam Masala. In fact in India, many families have their own recipes passed down through the generations which are protected like trade secrets. Even some chefs add their own creative touch, for instance including dried rose petals in the blend.
However, I really like my mother’s recipe because the blend is flavorful and aromatic without being too overpowering. See her easy to follow recipe below.
Truth be told, home-made Garam Masala is far fresher and tastier than store bought, so I hope you give it a try the next time a dish calls for a dash of Garam Masala.
Recipe from Indian Vegetarian Cooking from an American Kitchen by Vasantha Prasad:
Homemade Garam MasalaPrint This
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil (or the oil you prefer)
- 3 cinnamon sticks, 3 inches long, chopped
- 2 Tbsp green cardamom pods/seeds
- 1 Tbsp whole black peppercorns
- 1 Tbsp whole cloves
- In a small saucepan, heat the oil.
- Add the cinnamon sticks and sauté until they release their aroma. With a slotted spoon, remove the cinnamon sticks, and repeat the procedure with the cardamom seeds and the peppercorns. When sautéing the cloves, use a lid to cover the pan, as they have a tendency to spatter.
- Combine the roasted spices and grind them to a powder in a coffee grinder. Garam Masala keeps for 2 months in an airtight container.
You can use store-bought ground cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns and cloves, but the result definitely will not have the same pungency or taste as home-ground Garam Masala.
About the Author
Author of Spice Up Your Life, Bindu Grandhi is passionate about healthy and flavourful cooking, especially when it’s flexitarian. She shares her health knowledge with the world by providing practical, healthy and tasty recipes as The Flex Cook.