What is it?
Garam masala is as central to Indian cuisine as olive oil is to Mediterranean, cheese is to French, Kimchi is to Korean food, soy sauce is to Japanese cuisine. You just cannot cook Indian food without garam masala. ‘Garam’ mean hot and ‘Masala’ means mix. So garam masala is a mix of different spices which are hot in nature.
Various regions in India will use slightly different mix of species and every household has a slightly different recipe for making garam masala. The recipe for making garam masala that I am sharing here is my mom’s recipe. The reason it doesn’t include every spice under the earth (as some recipes do) is that the garam masala provides a spice base and you add other spices depending on the dish and the cooking method. This recipe calls for roasting the spices on heat before grinding them but my mother will dry the spices under the hot sun during the summer suns but in winter, she will roast them on fire.
- 250 gram black pepper whole
- 250 gram cumin seeds
- 150 gram coriander seeds
- 100 gram black cardamom
- 2 tbsp cloves
- 100 gram fenugreek seeds
- 50 gram cinnamon sticks
- Roast all the spices separately at low heat until they release the flavour but are not burned (about 2-3 minutes each). Make sure to stir them so that they don't burn as some of the seeds can roast pretty quickly It's important to roast these spices as they cook at slightly different rates.
- Mix all the ingredients and let the mixture cool down.
- Ground the spice mix in a grinder to a fine powder.
- Grinding spices can again release heat so let the garam masala cool down. Once it's cool, store it in an air-tight jar.