The word Garam means warm in Hindi while Masala means spice mix. Garam masala is therefore a warming spice mix. the word 'warming' refers to the 'heating properties' ascribed to the ingredients, by Ayurveda.
Different regions of India have different versions of garam masala. Some are made without dry roasting the ingredients while others are made after dry roasting then cooling the ingredients and grinding them to a powder. Some contain 'extra' ingredients that others don't.
Once you get a feel for the taste it gives your cooking, experiment and alter your Garam Masala recipe to suit your needs.
Garam Masala is best made fresh just before you begin cooking, but if you haven’t got the patience , make a batch ahead and store for several months in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place.
This is my recipe for a basic Garam Masala. Feel free to tweak it to suit your palate and the dish you are cooking. I dry roast the ingredients below and grind them to a fine powder
- 4 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- 1 ½ tsp black cumin seeds
- ¾ tsp cloves
- ¾ tsp cinnamon (2 X 1” pieces)
- ¾ tsp crushed bay leaves
- 1 ½ tsp nutmeg
- ¾ tsp cardamom powder
- 1 ½ tsp mace