Garam masala recipe – Learn how to make garam masala powder at home with step by step photos. Garam masala is a mixture of ground spices used in preparation of Indian foods. The choice of a good garam masala powder is a matter of personal taste and liking. Some like it hot, strong and pungent. While some like it mild like this Simple masala which is best for every day cooking and is suitable to all including kids without leaving us dehydrated.
Ready made, packed garam masala powders are preferred by most working women. But these are fairly simple to make at home. Further it may take only 10 minutes apart from the sun drying or roasting.
We do not know what actually goes into the ready made packets. There are days when I am very busy with my young kids. I barely have any personal time, even then I prefer to make all my spice powders at home.
I just pick up the best quality spices. Most times I use the organic spices to make garam masala, then roughly scan them for debris.Later measure and make a powder.
This garam masala powder recipe yields quite flavorful powder and an addition of even a small quantity brings in good flavors to any dish.
Do read the complete post on how to clean spices and make garam masala powder.
Tips to make garam masala
Cleaning the spices thoroughly and sun drying or roasting is very important for hygienic reasons even if you are using organic spices. In fact organic spices are more prone to infestations which are not chemically treated to meet the organic food standards.
Choosing the right spices to suit your body and taste is very important. We do not eat very hot and spicy foods as in the long run they are bad for the digestion. So this garam masala is a well balanced one that is flavorful. It is not too pungent & not acidic.
There are 2 sets of spices used in the recipe. The first one forms the base of the spice powder and is just good to use even without the second set.
The second set is one that has optional ingredients and I have mentioned in the recipe card why they are used. I use both the sets in full. But you can choose any or all depending on the availability or preference or body type.
Know your spices
The picture below helps you to identify the spices that I have used for this garam masala powder recipe.
Green Cardamoms are one of the most aromatic ingredient used in this spic powder. I usually use the green organic cardamoms. I feel the lighter ones are less aromatic. I use the whole pods. You can also remove the seeds from the pods and use them.
Cinnamon: The most important spice cinnamon comes in 2 varieties. Real or Ceylon cinnamon has to be used and not cassia which is bad for our health. Please use google search for more info.
Fennel seeds also known as saunf is a optional ingredient. Apart from being aromatic it also balances the heat and pungent flavors from the other spices.
Star Anise also known as biryani flower is a spice that totally elevates the flavor of your garam masala. It adds sweet tones without making your food sweet. It also avoids indigestion and is great to use especially in heavy dishes.
Mace is known as javithri. Using 3 strands of mace in this recipe makes the spice powder a bit more stronger in aroma. As i said it is again a matter of choice. Mace is a flower with several strands or petals. You will need to use only 3 petals.
Black cardamoms is one spice which is not used by many people. It is very pungent, strong and has a unique aroma. You may avoid it if you do not like the flavors.
Garam masala recipe
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
- ½ cup coriander seeds (35 grams) (daniya)
- ¼ cup cumin seeds (30 grams) (jeera)
- 2 tablespoons green cardamoms (17 grams) (elaichi)
- 2 tablespoons cloves (12 grams) (laung)
- 1 tablespoon pepper corns (9 to 10 grams) kali mirch
- 6 to 8 pieces cinnamon approx. 2 inch (4 grams) (dalchini)(prefer ceylon cinnamon)
spices for aroma (optional, but recommended)
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds (8 grams) (saunf) (avoids acidity)
- ½ small nutmeg (2 grams) ( jai phal) (avoids indigestion)
- 1 star anise (chakri phool) (avoids indigestion)
- 2 to 4 black cardamoms (1 to 2 grams) badi elaichi (for flavor, refer notes)
- 3 strands mace (javitri) (for flavor)
- 4 medium dried bay leaves (tej patta)
How to make the recipe
Preparation for garam masala
- Clean the bay leaf and inner part of cinnamon stick with a dry or damp cloth to remove dirt and larvae.
- Break open the nutmeg and check for worms.
- Pick and discard stones and debris from all the spices.
- Sun dry the spices in hot sun for a day. Or Heat a pan & add cardamoms, bay leaf, star anise, nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, cloves and pepper.
- Roast them on a low to medium heat without burning until they begin to smell good. Transfer to a plate.
- Then add coriander seeds and roast until they smell good. Transfer this as well to the plate.
- Then add fennel seeds, roast for 30 seconds then add cumin. Repeat roasting until cumin begins to smell good.
- Transfer to a wide plate and cool thoroughly.
How to make garam masala
- Add all of these spices to a spice blender jar. Powder finely.
- Sieve and powder the coarse spices again. Then repeat the sieve.
- Store this garam masala powder in an air tight, sun dried glass jar.
- You can use up the coarse bits of spices to your masala tea.
NUTRITION (estimation only)
- For best results, weight the spices on a scale.
- Color: The color of the garam masala may differ depending on the kind and quality of spices.
- Black cardamoms give a very pungent flavor and taste. If you are not used to the strong flavor it can be reduced to 2.
- The nutrition values are for the entire recipe
- How to use: If you plan to use the garam masala in your everyday cooking, then use this in combination with coriander powder. Too much garam masala in your everyday foods may dehydrate your body.
- If you have stomach disorders like acidity, then skip cloves, bay leaf, pepper and mace. Double the quantities of fennel seeds and cardamoms. But this does alter the flavor of garam masala. I use this version as well.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
If you are new to cooking, follow my detailed step by step photo instructions for best results.
How to clean the spices for garam masala powder recipe
1. Stones and debris have to be picked from all the spices first.
2. We generally crush few coriander seeds to check if there are worms inside. Yes many a times we can find them even if picked up from the cold storage.
3. Break open the nutmeg and check for worms. Sometimes, nutmeg turns hallow inside after being eaten up by the worms
4. For hygiene purpose cinnamon has to be cleaned. It could have a kind of larvae, fungi or infestations in the inner parts. While growing they form into curls (swirls) with several layers and we cannot see the inner part.
We generally break open the swirls or the curved parts and wipe off the inner part with a dry or damp cloth.
5. Bay leaf too could have deposits of mud or larvae behind the leaves. wipe off with dry or damp cloth.
How to make garam masala
1.Clean up all the spices as mentioned above.
2.Spread the spices on a clean thick cloth or multilayered cloth and sundry for a day, preferably in the hot sun. For those who do not like or do not have the option to sundry, you can roast them lightly. If roasting, roast one after the other all the spices. Do not roast together, spices like cumin could get burnt.
3.Cool them thoroughly. To know what I did check the tip below.
4.Add all your spices to a jar and make a fine powder. Sieve and then powder the coarse particles again. Repeat the sieve and then set your coarse particles aside to mix in your tea powder if you like else discard.
5.Store it on an airtight glass jar.
How to blend spices quickly
Tip: May be this is not the right way to blend a spice mix but I love this method to speed up the process. If I have time, i roast the spices on a pan or if iam in a hurry, I just go ahead without roasting. Cool them.
Whether roasted or not, just keep them in the freezer for few hours to chill them. Transfer them to the blender jar and powder it. You will be surprised at how fast the powder gets done.
The color of the garam masala powder could slightly vary depending on the kind and quality of spices used. This is the sieved powder made from 2 batches.
How to use garam masala in your food
AS i mentioned, even a pinch of this makes any food flavorful, But if you are using to make any spicy curries, biryanis, veg curries, paneer recipes or meat curries, then half to 3/4 tsp of this with an equal amount of coriander powder goes right for a 3 to 4 serving dish.
If you do not have the habit of keeping coriander powder separate, then you may make it together just by increasing the quantity of coriander seeds in this recipe by another 1/4 to 1/2 cup.