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Garam Masala


Close up of spices
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Garam Masala is a blend of ground spices used extensively in Indian cuisine. The spices for garam masala are usually toasted to bring out more flavor and then ground. Garam masala is usually added to a dish near the end of cooking.

Garam Masala Ingredients: There's no single garam masala recipe as the ingredients differ according to region as well as each chef's individual preferences. But for the most part, garam masala will include coriander, cumin, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg.

In other variations on garam masala, ingredients may include turmeric, saffron, fennel seeds, ginger, garlic, mustard seeds, mace, star anise, tamarind, fenugreek, bay leaves or malabar leaves. In Northern Indian cuisine, garam masala is typically used in powder form, while in Southern India garam masala can be formed into a paste with coconut milk, vinegar or water.

Garam Masala Recipe: Here's a simple recipe for garam masala. If a recipe you are making calls for garam masala and you don't have any, the following recipe will make a great garam masala substitute:

  • 3 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 Tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 Tbsp cardamom seeds
  • 2 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
Place everything but the nutmeg in a dry skillet and toast for about ten minutes over medium-high heat, stirring from time to time to keep everything cooking evenly. When the ingredients have darkened slightly and give off a rich, toasty aroma, remove them from the pan and let them cool. Grind in a spice grinder or coffee grinder, and mix in the freshly grated nutmeg. Store in an airtight container away from heat.


Also Known As:

  • Masala
  • Gorum moshla
Also see: Quiz: Is it an Herb or a Spice?


Culinary Terms: Food Dictionary and Glossary of Cooking Terms
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