Garam Masala is a staple spice blend in every Indian home. It is the aromatic spice blend that brings warmth and depth to Indian cuisine.
Every region, every family has their own secret recipe for garam masala that is combination of spices. My mom’s quintessential garam masala uses 19 spices! I still remember her yearly ritual of making the garam masala, which involved shopping for the best whole spices, cleaning and roasting them, grinding them and then carefully storing them in beautiful glass jars. It would be shared with relatives and used for rest of the year. Lucky for me, my mom still makes the blend every year and has a jar ready for me to bring back each time we visit her in India.
Over the past several years, during her visits to the US she taught me how to create a simplified version in smaller batches. This version uses 5 ingredients that are readily available – peppercorns, green cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and black cumin or caraway seeds. Just 1 tsp of this garam masala can add authentic flavors to many Indian dishes. Flavors of this homemade version has NO comparison to any store bought spice blend.
Some of my restaurant favorites that I make at home with this garam masala include:
Here is my GO TO homemade garam masala recipe:
- 2 tbsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp cloves
- 2 tbsp crushed Cinnamon sticks
- 1 tbsp cardamom
- 1 tbsp shahjira/black cumin seeds
Lightly roast each spice in a small pan until they get hot, about a minute. Stir frequently. Make sure not to burn them by roasting them too long. The goal is to make them a bit toasty so they are easy to grind.
Cool spices and then grind fine in a coffee or spice grinder. Store in an airtight container away from direct sunlight.