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.
Please read the complete post on how to clean spices and make garam masala powder.
Garam masala recipe
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
- ½ cup coriander seeds or daniya
- ¼ cup cumin seeds or jeera
- 1 tablespoon fennel or saunf
- 2 tablespoons green cardamoms or elaichi
- 2 to 4 black cardamoms or badi elaichi (refer notes)
- 2 tablespoons cloves or laung
- 1 tablespoon pepper corns or kali mirch
- 6 to 8 pieces cinnamon or dalchini , approx. 2 inch (prefer ceylon cinnamon)
- 4 medium dried bay leaves or tej patta
- 1 small nutmeg or jai phal
- 1 star anise or chakri phool
- 3 strands mace or javitri
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 on a low flame. Add cardamoms, bay leaf, star anise, nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, cloves and pepper. Fry them without burning until they begin to smell good. Transfer to a plate. Then add coriander seeds and toss until they smell good. Transfer this as well.
- Then add fennel seeds, toss for 30 seconds then add cumin. When they smell good transfer these as well. You can also roast all of these one after the other.
- Transfer to a wide plate and cool thoroughly.
How to make garam masala
- Add all of these spices to a mixer or spice blender jar. Powder finely.
- Sieve and powder the coarse spices again. Then repeat the sieve. You can use up the coarse bits of spices to your tea powder.
- Store this garam masala powder in an air tight, sun dried glass jar.
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 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 saunf and cardamoms. But this does alter the flavor of garam masala.
The picture below helps you to identify the spices that I have used for this garam masala powder recipe. Black cardamoms can be reduced to 2 since they really give a strong flavor. Refer notes on the recipe card for more info on it.
One can even add a star anise and 3 to 4 strands of mace to make this a bit more stronger. As i said it is again a matter of choice.
This garam masala powder recipe yields quite flavorful powder and an addition of even a small quantity brings in good flavors to any dish. Though i have earlier shared spice powders like rasam powder, simple garam masala powder recipe, biryani masala powder and pav bhaji masala, i have never wrote a detailed post on how we generally clean the spices at home.
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.
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. The most important spice cinnamon comes in 2 varieties. Real or ceylon cinnamon has to be used and not cassia cinnamon which is bad for our health. You can read more about choosing real cinnamon here.
For hygiene purpose it 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. The day i made this there was a bright sun light all over house, hence you see different shades.
update: Recently I have also started to use saunf in this recipe as it balances the heat and pungent flavor, also makes it more aromatic.
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.