Garam Masala

SpiceI’m not an expert on Indian cuisine, I’m still a novice stumbling down a buffet line of savory and often exotic flavor combinations—one of them being garam masala spice blend. Depending on the region and dish, the ingredients can and do vary. This particular garam marsala doesn’t contain cinnamon. I prefer to use it in conjunction with the Moroccan spice blend which does have cinnamon. This way, when I want a less earthy flavor, I just use the garam marsala, or, for more depth, I add the Moroccan.  Indian cuisine has an endless array of spice blends that can become very confusing, which is why in their tradition, a bride on her wedding day, receives an extraordinary gift from her mother. A compartmentalized box filled with herbs and spices— a type of starter kit if you will— for her to begin married life on a proper footing to prepare all of her new husband’s favorite dishes.


  • 2-Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1-Tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1-Tbsp cardamom seeds
  • 1-Tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1-tsp fennel seeds
  • 1-tsp mustard seeds
  • 10-whole cloves
  • 2-small dried red chilies
  • 2-Tbsp turmeric


  1. Toast everything but turmeric in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat just until fragrant, 2-5 minutes.
  2. Transfer to spice mill and grind to a fine powder.
  3. Add turmeric and blend.

Yield: about 1/2 cup