Mom’s Garam Masala – A Family Recipe

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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
5 from 1 vote
mom's garam masala
Mom's Garam Masala
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
Course: Spice Blend
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 12 oz
Author: Archana Mundhe
  • 2-3 tablespoon oil
  • 5 pieces -whole turmeric - halkund
  • 1/2 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 1/2 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.


12 thoughts on “Mom’s Garam Masala – A Family Recipe

  1. I have a couple of questions – you say to slow roast – is that in the oven or on the stovetop? What temperature in the oven or on the stove top? What kind of oil did she use?
    Your post is so interesting! I really enjoy the extra information you gave about each of the spices.

    1. Hi Juile! Thank you for your kind words. So slow roasting is done on the stove top at medium low heat. She used corn oil but any mild cooking oil will work. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  2. Thank you for this! Quick question- are all the spices dried(ie.not fresh Turmeric) and what type of red chili, there are so many!

    1. Hi Teresa! Yes all the spices are dried. You can use either kashmiri chili or byadgi chili, both available in Indian stores. Basically look for dried red chilies with medium heat. Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions. I can’t wait to hear how you like this!

  3. Hi Archana! Thank you so much for the wonderful recipe. I made it today & the aroma was mind blowing,my house smells divine right now. Totally worth the efforts,thank you again😀
    I wish I could share that pic right here!

    1. Hi Kiran! Thank you so much for your lovely feedback. I am impressed that you tried this recipe with many spices and I hope you will enjoy them in your curries. I wish I could quickly figure out a way to see photos on comments too.

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