About Me
Privacy Policy

Garam Masala Recipes

There are dozens of Garam Masala Recipes - here are a few of mine. Garam Masala is one of a number of mixtures of spices used in Indian cooking. The name simply means 'hot mixture' and there are many different recipes each suitable for different dishes.

Others spice mixtures are Curry Powder, Rasam powder, Sambar powder and panch phoran. These all have their own origins and uses and, although they may look similar, they should not be confused with each other.

There are a number of mixtures available in the shops these days and some of them are quite good. Personally I prefer to make my own; I have a jar of my own ready made mixture to save time but often I will make up a specific mixture for a specific recipe as I cook it. This has the advantage that it is fresh, once spices are ground the essential oils which give them their flavour start to evaporate, but you can buy whole garam masala mixtures for you to grind yourself as you need them, or to use whole - these will clearly last longer.

The term 'hot' referes to the pungency of the mixture - it is not hot in the sense that chillis are. The idea of a garam masala recipe is to give a dish that final spicy zest so it is often added to dishes at, or close to the end of cooking; the spices can be also be used whole (see my recipe for hyderabad style biryani).

There are many regional variations and it is also something which has evolved over time. I will try to write up different recipes as I use them and tell you what I use them for.

General Notes

These apply to all the garam masala recipes.


I give proportions as multiples or fractions of a 'spoon'. It doesn't matter what size spoon as long as you keep roughly the same proportions; it could be a teaspoon or tablespoon, it could even be an ounce, gram, or multiples depending on the quantity you want to make. Don't make more than you are likely to use within about 6 months.

Most of the spices are whole spices unless otherwise noted. You can use ground spices if you wish but be aware that if you mix ground and whole you will be changing the proportions a little as the ground spices are more compact.

Some spices like cinnamon cannot be measured in spoonfuls - see individual notes.


How long you roast the seeds for is a matter of taste, but don't overdo it or the seeds will burn and the resultant powder will taste burnt. Generally I just wait till just a hint of smoke starts to appear.

Some people like to sieve the powder after grinding, personally I like a bit of crunch to it - up to you.


Store all ground spices in a jar with a tight lid in a cool, dark place. Use within six months.

Garam Masala Recipe #1 - my 'standard' ready to use mix

This is the garam masala recipe that I have ready for use when time is tight. It is a Northern Indian type mixture (I seem to have a slight preference for Northern Indian food). It is very aromatic and is good for cooking into a dish or sprinkling on food at the end.

Basic Ingredients

1 spoon black cardamom seeds
1 spoon green cardamom seeds
1 spoon cloves
1 spoon mace
1 spoon black peppercorns
Bay leaves

Notes on Ingredients

See General Notes

Cardamon seeds. The quantity refers to the seeds in their pods. It is best to remove the seeds from their pods before grinding.

Mace. You can substitute nutmeg for this if you don't have mace.

Pepper. You may want to use a little less of this if you are worried about it being to hot.

Cinnamon. If you are using a teaspoon as your measure then about a 1" (2.5cm) stick is good.

Bay leaves. If using teaspoons then 1 bay leaf.

Basic Method

Remove the seeds from the cardamon pods
Put all the spices in a grinder and press the button

Notes on Method

See General Notes

I don't roast these spices before grinding - just my preference really. If you want to you can roast the peppercorns, cinnamon and cloves for a minute or so before grinding.

Garam Masala Recipe #2 South Indian style

This garam masala recipe is quite pungent with lots of strong flavours.

2 spoons coriander seeds
1 spoon cumin seeds
1 spoon black peppercorns
1 spoon cloves
2 spoon green cardamom seeds (removed from the pods)
1 spoon black cardamom seeds (removed from the pods)
Dried red Chilli

Notes on Ingredients

See General Notes

Cardamon seeds. Unlike the previous recipe the quantities here refers to the seeds removed from their pods.

Cinnamon. If you are using a teaspoon as your measure then about a 1" (2.5cm) stick is good.

Nutmeg. Using a teaspoon as the basic measure I grate about one-eight of a whole nutneg into this.

Chilli. Again using a tespoon as a basic unit I use 1 dried chilli in this - you can use more or less to suit.

Basic Method

Heat a dry frying pan and roast the coriander, cumin, cloves and peppercorns.
After roasting, grind all the spices in a grinder.

Notes on Method

See General Notes

Return from Garam Masala Recipe to the Indian Spices Page
Return to My Indian Food

Or Search the Site to find something

If you like this page - Share it with you friends


footer for Indian Food page