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garam masala

Garam Masala

Garam masala varies from region to region and no two recipes are identical. I've listed the basic, core ingredients that are present in almost every version with a list of optional ingredients to enhance aroma and heat, to your taste. My list has a mixture of dried and ground spices, for ease of sourcing, but the more whole spices you can use, the better. I've also used tablespoons as the measure for all of the core ingredients so that it is easier to scale the recipe up or down.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Cuisine Indian
Servings 1 jar


  • small skillet or saucepan
  • coffee mill or mortar and pestle


Core Ingredients

  • 8 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 4 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 4 tbsp green cardamom seeds (not pods)
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 3 sticks cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tbsp whole cloves

Optional Ingredients

  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp ground mace
  • 1 dried Indian chili


Heat up a dry pan on medium high heat then add all of the whole spices. Toast, swirling the spices around often so that they don't get scorched, for about 2 to 3 minutes and the seeds begin to darken a little.  Heating brings out the fragrant aroma of the spices and is called "blooming". 
Let cool, then add to the coffee mill, with the ground ingredients. Pulse until all the spices are blended into a fine powder. Store in a cool dry place in an airtight container.