Aromatic Kashmiri Spice Blend for Spicy Cooking (Aromatic Garam Masala)

This is my favourite Garam Masala blend there is no consistent recipe for this spice mixture, but I expect that every Indian, Nepalese and Pakistani home will have their own “secret” mix.

Garam Masala is an aromatic and hot spice mixture that is crucial to many types of dishes in Indian, Nepalese and Pakistani cooking. Garam Masala means “hot spices” and as well as adding the “heat” to Indian cooking, the spice mix should be subtle and aromatic. For most recipes, Garam Masala is added at or towards the end of the cooking process. Once a dish is ready, the heat is turned off and the Garam Masala is sprinkled on top. The lid is then closed and it is left to infuse the dish with its lovely aroma.
It is nothing like commercial curry powders that need to be cooked off because of the cornflour and other ingredients.
Grind the spices in smallish quantities to preserve the flavour and quality of the mixture, and then store in an airtight container, away from direct sunlight and heat.
If you cook Indian food regularly and grind your own spices, it is worth investing in a small coffee grinder, kept separate just for grinding spices.

NB: Black cumin seeds are also called Royal Cumin or Shah Zeera.

This spice mix makes a great gift, specially if you tie a recipe card around the neck of the jar with a whole piece of cinnamon!

Serves: 25, makes 10 tablespoons
Time: 40 minutes

You Will Need

20 Whole, Green Cardamom Pods
3 Whole, Cinnamon Sticks
Four Large, Bay Leaves
1 Tablespoon, Black Peppercorns
4 Teaspoons, Black Cumin Seeds, Its OK to use ordinary cumin seeds
2 Teaspoons, Whole Cloves
1 Tablespoon, Coriander Seeds
1 Tablespoon, Fennel Seeds
½ Teaspoon, Fenugreek Seed
2 Teaspoons, Freshly Ground Nutmeg


Split open the cardamom pods with a small sharp knife and remove the dark brown seeds, discard the pods and crush the seeds in a pestle and mortar.
With your fingers break the cinnamon sticks into small lengths, crumble each bay leaf into several small pieces.
Place all the spices except for the nutmeg in a dry frying pan or skillet and heat over a very low heat, stirring constantly.
As soon as the aroma from the spices is released, remove the pan from the heat. (This step is essential to release the aromatic oils from the spices).
Allow to cool and stir in the grated nutmeg.
Put the spices in small batches into an electric grinder and grind to a fine powder.
Pack the spice mix into a sterilised jar, seal and label.
The Garam Masala should last for about 2 to 3 months with no bad affects to the flavour and fragrance.
Use as directed in recipes that call for Garam Masala.

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