Thursday, February 25, 2010

Garam Masala Powder

Before I post recipes to my blog, I want to show you how to build an Indian pantry, step by step. If you miss my post about my pantry please click here. Spices and spice blends are the building blocks to Indian cooking. With that goal in mind, we are going to demystify the spice blend garam masala powder.Garam masala powder is a staple in every Indian cooks pantry.

Garam masala means “hot spice mix”. Actually, this is not a tongue-burning hot spice mix; rather, it is an aromatic spice blend. Unlike other spices, garam masala is usually added at the end of the preparation to almost all meat dishes and some vegetable dishes and sprinkled over as a garnish for pulaos and biryanis. Even though every region has its own variation, it is usually made up of 4 main ingredients: cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, and black pepper. Proportions are made according to individual preferences.

Whole spices are gathered to  make garam masala powder. 

Dry roasting spices brings out their essential oils.

 Process of grinding into powder.

 Smell that powder. It is smelling heavenly.

Store in an airtight container.

Always label the contents and date it is prepared. 

Voila! Garam masala powder is ready to be used in an array of dishes.


Yield about ⅓ cup
• 2 bay leaves, broken into small pieces
• two 2-inch pieces cinnamon stick, broken into small pieces
• 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
• 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
• 1 tablespoon peppercorns
• 1 tablespoon cloves
• 2 teaspoons green cardamom seeds 

Combine all spices in a shallow skillet over medium heat. Dry roast all the spices while shaking and stirring the skillet until aromatic and one shade darker, for about 2 minutes. Let it cool. Using the spice grinder, grind them into fine powder. Store in an air tight container in a cool dark place.

For more memorable recipes, tablescapes, and entertaining ideas, please check out my book, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen, at my website  
Please check out Foodie Friday for more recipes.


  1. What a beautiful your photos and am anxious to try this spice mix! Thank you!

  2. This whole garam masala process is awesome..U have shown in a detail way..step by step procedure..Its reminds me of my amma preparing sambar and Rasam Powder bulk and I used to help her out in roasting and grinding process Komali.
    I used to be so in patient while grinding into fine powder..I used ask again and again is smooth powder now ?? hahha !

  3. Hard to believe but I've never tried Indian food. It's definitely on my to-do list!

  4. I adore cooking with garam marsala, it's so universal. Thanks for sharing your recipe for garam marsala.

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