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How to Make Garam Masala

Learn how to make garam masala from cookbook author Maya Kaimal in this Howcast Indian food video.


We're going to talk about Garm Masala. The name Garm means hot. Masala means spices. So it's a mixture of hot or warm spices. It's typically used in north Indian food, and it's arguably the most important spice blend that's used in Indian cooking. Indians don't actually use curry powder. That's something that was created by the British, so that curries could be made outside of India. But really, no Indian cook would use curry powder. But they do use Garm Masala. And they typically will use it at the end of making a curry. Especially a meat curry. The elements of Garm Masala can vary from cook to cook. But generally, it has the sweet spices in it.

The ingredients in Garm Masala are the sweet spices, Cardamom, Cloves, Cinnamon. Then we have Coriander in there. We have Black Pepper, which is going to add a nice little bit of bite. And then we have lots of Cumin. There's two ways to do Garm Masala. You can grind up all your ingredients, the whole spices, fresh. Or you can toast them first, and then grind them. I like the toasted version, because it really coaxes out the flavors. And just makes it a little bit more full flavored at the end.

Once you've ground up your spices, then you're going to get a really nice, aromatic brown powder. So this is a, I can really smell the Cardamom in this. This would be added at the very end of cooking. You would just sprinkle a little bit on. You don't need much. And it's not going to cook in the curry. These are spices that don't really require the long cooking time of other spices. Things like Turmeric, Cayenne. All those things that you really want to make sure you cook thoroughly.

But these can be just very lightly cooked. And they really do add an amazing fragrance to your curry when you add it at the end. So I recommend making your own Garm Masala, storing it in a nice, air tight container, and using it liberally on your chicken curries.

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