Mom’s Garam Masala – A Family Recipe

Mom’s Garam Masala – I cannot believe that I am finally writing an actual post about this amazingly aromatic, out-of-the-world garam masala recipe!! This is a family recipe that is being used for generations and this is my attempt to preserve some of the family traditions as a legacy.

As mentioned in my simple garam masala recipe, every family has their own version of garam masala and I couldn’t be happier to finally share the one from my family! In many maharashtrian families this kind of masala is also referred to as ‘Goda masala’. My mom uses this garam masala to make the authentic and delicious recipes like chicken curry, stuffed eggplant or black eyed peas curry!

This summer when my Mom visited, I had asked her to bring all of the whole-spices that she uses to make her garam masala. She was thrilled to bring them, together we had a great time exploring and comprehending each spice. These also were some of the most treasured moments for the mother-daughter duo, recollecting family anecdotes from generations past.

With my mom’s help I was able to map the marathi spice names to the english ones; with the hope of passing this down as one of the legacies for my children and my extended family.

mom's garam masalaMy mom slow-roasted each individual spice in a small pan, with a little bit of oil. Roasting helps get rid of any moisture in the spices making it easier to grind.  As she continued to roast, a nostalgic warm-earthy-sweet-peppery aroma filled my kitchen! It emotionally transported me not only to my childhood memories of my mom’s cooking but also to my grandma’s kitchen who I was lucky to have spent a great deal of time cooking with.

mom's garam masala

We allowed these roasted spices to completely cool before grinding them to a fine powder in the spice grinder. After grinding, we sifted the spice blend and ran the larger grainy spices through the grinder again. This ensured that the spices were evenly ground.

mom's garam masala

Here is the list of the spices we used in making my mom’s garam masala:

  • asafetida {hing} – used as a digestive aid, asafoetida has a strong odor that mellows out into a garlic-onion flavor
  • bay leaves {tamal patra} – aromatic leaves with impressive health benefits which includes detoxifying the body
  • black pepper {miri} – hot pungent spice, that helps improve stomach’s ability to digest foods and promotes intestinal health
  • black cardamom {badi velchi} – often referred to as queen of spices, gives a smoky flavor to curries
  • cardamom {velchi} – sweet and invigorating spice that adds a fresh flavor to many recipes
  • cumin seeds {jeera} – with it’s earthy, musky flavor; cumin seeds is one of the most popular spice
  • black cumin seeds {shah jeera} – slightly bitter than cumin seeds; these seeds are a rich source of dietary fibre
  • cinnamon {daalchili} – sweet-spicy flavored sticks enhance the flavors in many dishes
  • cloves {lavang} – with a distinct and undeniable warmth, cloves are one of the most powerful spices with intense flavors
  • coriander seeds {dhana} – lemony-citrus flavored seeds that add warm and nutty flavors
  • dried red chilies {lal mirchi} – with a rich earthy flavor, chilies add perfect heat and color to foods
  • fennel seeds {badishep} – lightly sweet and licorice flavored, these seeds are a good digestion aid
  • fenugreek seeds {methi} – these bitter tasting seeds help control diabetes and have diverse benefits for skin, hair, and health
  • mace {jaipatri} – outer covering of nutmeg; that adds subtle and delicate flavors
  • nutmeg {jaiphal} – sweet and pungent, adds a warm note to savory dishes
  • poppy seeds {khuskhus} – adds nutty flavors and are a good source of minerals
  • star anise {badyaan} -adds a sweet-licorice flavor to curries
  • stone flower {dagadphool} – with a strong earthy aroma this anti-inflammatory spice is also dominant in South Indian Chettinad cuisine
  • turmeric {halkund} – with a mild woody flavor, turmeric is a super food with its  natural anti-inflammatory properties

Mom's Garam Masala
Recipe type: Spice Blend
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 oz
  • 2-3 tablespoon oil
  • 5 pieces -whole turmeric - halkund
  • ½ nutmeg - jaiphal
  • 1 tablespoon asafetida - hing
  • 5 cinnamon sticks - daalchini
  • 3 tablespoon cloves - lavang
  • 1.5 tablespoon black cumin seeds - shah jeera
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds - jeera
  • 10 - black cardamom - bad velchi
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom - velchi
  • 3 tablespoon kalpasi - dagadphool
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds - badishep
  • 2 tablespoon Mace - jaipatri
  • 3 tablespoon black pepper - mire
  • 10 star anise - badyan
  • 8 bay leaves - tamal patra
  • 2 tablespoon coriander seeds - dhane
  • 1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds - methya
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds - khuskhus
  • 25 - dried red chillies - mirchi
  1. Add ½ tsp of oil at a time and slow roast each spice until it releases the aroma and is hot to touch. Allow all the roasted spiced to cool on a large tray.
  2. Grind the roasted spices in batches to make a fine powder.
  3. Sift the ground spice blend and grind any coarse spices.
  4. Store in an airtight glass jar.


Berbere Spice Blend

Berbere Spice Blend is used as a seasoning in Ethiopian cuisine. It adds warmth and depth to fish, chicken and stews. I also love adding berbere spice to burgers, soups, tacos or in dips with olive oil and lemon juice.

Berbere represents a blend of cultural and geographic influences from the spices of India to the chile peppers of the New World. My version of this spice mix has hot peppers, black pepper, coriander, fenugreek, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. Continue reading “Berbere Spice Blend”

Indian Pulses – A quick guide to lentils, beans and peas

Pulses. A fancy word to describe the ever-so-delicious and protein-packed chickpeas, lentils and dry peas. I am truly fascinated by the different types available and can’t resist picking up a new bag every time I go shopping. My pantry now contains over 20 different varieties! Continue reading “Indian Pulses – A quick guide to lentils, beans and peas”

Homemade Paneer{Indian cottage cheese}


Back to basics today. I have to confess that it took me literally years before I tried making paneer at home. Still, at times, I use the store-bought paneer, of course only after checking that it does not have any extra additives or preservatives. Homemade paneer by far has the freshest taste and beautiful soft texture. It is super easy to make with just 2 basic ingredients! So if you have time or can plan ahead homemade paneer is the way to go.

Paneer is fresh unsalted white cheese used in Indian cooking, that can be made at home with just whole milk and lemon juice! It has a very mild creamy flavor and crumbly texture that goes well with many curries and desserts!

Fresh paneer can be grilled on skewers for some fun kebabs and also used in sandwiches, wraps and pita pockets! It is a very versatile ingredient to use in Indian curries like Palak Paneer , Matar Paneer or Paneer Tikka Masala. Homemade paneer can also be used in making many Indian desserts, I love making delicious homemade Rasmalai!

Here is a step by step recipe:

Continue reading “Homemade Paneer{Indian cottage cheese}”

Chana Masala Spice blend


I have been working to perfect the spice blend for my restaurant style chana masala for almost a month. There is no wrong way to make this spice blend as long as you have some basic key ingredients. The only tricky part was figuring out the proportions so that the dish is a perfect blend of spicy and tangy flavors, without over complicating the recipe by using too many ingredients. I am so excited that I finally have my recipe nailed and happy to share it with you. Here is how I make my favorite homemade chana masala spice blend.

Continue reading “Chana Masala Spice blend”

Homemade Ghee


I love ghee! Ghee is a staple in traditional Indian cooking and Ayurveda.  It enriches the food with its nuttier flavor and rich golden color. I use it in curries, daals, parathas, baking, frying and Indian desserts!

Ghee is essentially clarified butter that is cooked a bit longer until the clarified butter is golden and the milk solids at the bottom are light golden brown. It has a very high smoke point making it an excellent replacement for refined Oils.

When made from high quality butter, it is a great source of fat soluble vitamins like Vitamin K and is great for teeth, hair, skin and nails.

Ghee is made from butter but since the milk solids and impurities have been removed, most people who are lactose or casein intolerant have no issue with ghee.

All you need to make ghee is  good quality unsalted butter. I like to use grass fed  kerrygold unsalted butter. I always make a big batch that usually goes for 4-6 weeks!

Continue reading “Homemade Ghee”