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Garam Masala in a glass canister next to the spice box
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4.72 from 39 votes

Mom's Garam Masala

A family recipe of a complex spice blend that is used in traditional Indian home cooking using nineteen aromatic and warm spices. This recipe yields around one pound of garam masala
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Spice Blend
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 1 lb



  • Using a mortar and pestle break the whole turmeric, whole asafetida, and whole nutmeg into smaller pieces, one at a time. Set the three spices aside.
  • Remove stems of the red chilies.
  • Heat a few drops of oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the red chilies and roast them on medium-low heat for 2 to 5 minutes stirring frequently as they get aromatic. Take out the roasted chilies in a large bowl.
  • Next, add the coriander seeds to the pan and roast they get aromatic making sure not to brown the seeds. Take out the coriander seeds on top of the roasted chilies.
  • Add 2 to 3 drops of oil at a time and continue to slow roast each spice until it releases the aromas and is hot to touch. Keep adding each roasted spice to the bowl of chilies.
  • Once all the spices are roasted, spread them on a large baking tray and allow them to completely cool down.
  • Grind the roasted spices in a spice grinder in batches to make a fine powder. Sift the ground spice powder and return any remaining coarse spices back to the spice grinder.
  • Repeat the above step for the remaining roasted spices. Depending on the spice grinder you have, you may end up with more coarse powder. Traditionally this spice blend is finely ground but you can also use the coarse spice blend in your cooking.
  • Store the sifted garam masala in an airtight glass jar away from direct sunlight. You can also refrigerate or freeze the garam masala for longer freshness.



  • A little bit of oil is often used to roast the spices which help them bloom and release aromas. But adding oil is optional and you may skip it altogether. 
  • I like to use the red dried Kashmiri chilies in this recipe that yields a vibrant red color without adding too much heat. You can also use more spicer dry red chilies instead.
  • If you do not have whole dried turmeric, you can add 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground turmeric to the garam masala.  
  • In India, these roasted spices are taken to professional pounding machines known as Kandap Yantra. Getting that fine powdery texture at home takes a bit of patience. You may end up running the spices through the grinder a few times to get that fine texture. Although, it is completely ok to have your spice powder a bit coarse. 
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