Garam means ‘hot’ and masala means ‘spice,’ it is not spicy hot, but rather full of spice and flavor! You can purchase garam masala in stores although I think it is well worth the effort to make it at home as I have never found a store bought version this good!
Garam Masala is a common combination of spices used in Indian cooking. The spices used will vary according to the region and personal taste but below is one of my favorites.
If grinding with a mortar and pestle it will take some patience, the easy route for grinding is a coffee grinder that is reserved only for grinding spices (don’t use a grinder that has been used already on coffee, it will taste like coffee, promise it will). I often make a batch of garam masala and store it in a mason jar in the pantry for several months. It is a wonderful addition to vegetable or meat curries.
1 tsp. cardamom seeds
1 cinnamon stick broken into pieces
1 tbsp. cumin seeds
1 tbsp. whole black pepper corns
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
In a heavy pan (I use cast iron) on medium heat roast all of the spices, stirring occasionally to roast evenly, until they become quite fragrant, about 5-7 minutes. Let them cool completely then grind with a mortar and pestle or in a coffee grinder.