A simple homemade Garam Masala Recipe that can be made in 10 minutes – with ground fragrant spices you already have in your pantry. ( Or see the recipe notes for making Garam Masala the traditional way, with whole toasted spices!) Easy, healthy and authentic!
While in India, I visited a spice market and met a kind man who blended his own spices. He sweetly and generously walked me through his way of making Garam Masala Spice. He then told me how his wife’s version was different, each of them having their own personal blend. Of course they each thought their own blend was better.
If unfamiliar, Garam Masala is an essential Indian spice blend, that varies greatly across India, depending on the region, household and personal preference. It would not be an exaggeration to say, that each household’s version is slightly varied – and that’s what makes Garam Masala so special and nuanced.
Typically whole spices are toasted and ground into a fine powder for maximum flavor – and that is also an option here ( see recipe notes) but I realize many of you do not have whole spices, so here is an easy version that can be made with ground spices you most likely already have. This is a base recipe, designed to be tailored to your own particular tastes. Free free to experiment with it.
You may be wondering what the difference is between regular yellow curry powder and Garam Masala, both being a combination of different spices. One of the main differences between these two spice blends is that curry powder is more savory and is often based around turmeric, hence the typical golden, yellowish color. Garam masala is deeper in color, sweeter in taste and spicier, compared to typical yellow curry powder – a result of the addition of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves and dried chilies.
A completely different flavor profile.
The most common spices that go into Garam Masala are: Cumin, Coriander, Green and Black Cardamom, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Bay leaves, Peppercorns, Fennel, Mace and dried Chilies. And the quantities, combinations and variations are endless.
These spices are typically toasted whole, then ground down into a fine powder. An incredibly fragrant process.
To simplify this, I’ve taken simple ground spices and mixed them, leaving out the bay leaves and substituting cayenne for the dried chilies – no grinding required. To enhance their flavor, simply dry toast in hot skillet before using.
And for you adventurous cooks – there are directions in the recipe notes if you want to make Garam Masala from whole spices – a more authentic Garam Masala recipe.
Lastly, and very interesting to me personally, are the Ayurvedic properties of Garam Masala. The word garam means to “heat the body” and these warming spices are actually believed to elevate body temperature in Ayurvedic medicine. (Ayurveda is the antient,traditional Hindu system of medicine which is based on the premise that balance is key to our body’s health.)
In Ayurvedic medicine, it is thought that when there is not enough heat in our bodies, our bodies can become sluggish and may be slow to remove toxins. Other healing benefits of garam masala include boosting our immunity, promoting weight loss, aiding digestion, lowering blood sugar and lowering inflammation.
And what I’ve notice personally are Garam Masala‘s mood boosting qualities, especially on cold dark winter days. The warming spices not only warm the body, they warm and uplift the spirit.
You’ll find a million uses for Garam Masala but here are a few recipes on the blog that use Garam Masala!Print
Simple Garam Masala Recipe
A simple homemade Garam Masala Recipe that can be made in 10 minutes – with ground fragrant spices you already have in your pantry. Easy, healthy and authentic! See notes for toasting whole spices.
- Prep Time: 10
- Total Time: 10
- Yield: ⅓ cup
- Category: Spices, Spice blend
- Method: Mix
- Cuisine: Indian
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons coriander
- 2 teaspoons cardamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
Mix all ground spices together in a small bowl and store in a sealed jar.
To bump up the flavor and fragrance, lightly toast the amount called for in a recipe, just before using, in a dry skillet, over medium heat, stirring until fragrant and lively.
To make a more authentic version of Garam Masala using whole spices, toast the following in a skillet.
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds from green pods ( or a mix of black and green)
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
- ½ teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1-3 dried red chiles, more to taste ( or sub 1 teaspoon chili flakes)
- 2 inch piece cinnamon stick
- ½ teaspoon chunk or piece of whole nutmeg ( roughly)
- Calories: 5
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