Garam Masala Recipe – Warm and full of flavor, our Pakistani garam masala recipe is the main ingredient for many Pakistani and Indian dishes, including our popular butter chicken and Instant Pot chicken biryani.
We typically make this spice blend at the beginning of the month and store it in our pantry to use as needed.
WHAT IS GARAM MASALA?
Garam masala means “hot spice,” in English, but not because it’s spicy; it refers to the warming spices and the process of toasting before grinding them. While you can buy garam masala in stores, most homes have a family-treasured garam masala recipe they use. The specific spices and their measurements may differ from home to home, but the process for making it is always the same. Begin by measuring the fresh spices, toast them in a pan, grind them finely, and preserve them for many meals to come!
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
- Cardamom: I use green and black cardamom to flavor our garam masala. Green cardamom is warm and herbaceous, whereas black cardamom has a menthol aroma.
- Cinnamon Stick: Broken down and toasted, the cinnamon stick releases more aroma.
- Black Cloves: lack cloves subtly sweeten the spice blend with a warm woodiness.
- Cumin Seed: Toasted cumin seeds have a nice citrus flavor.
- Coriander Seed: Coriander seeds balance the more pronounced spices like black cardamom. It acts as a perfect lever; use more to tone down other spices.
- Nutmeg: Nutty and sweet, nutmeg compliments other spices.
- Mace: Mace is a bridge between savory and sweet.
- Bay Leaves: Bay leaves subtly flavor the spice blend.
HOW TO MAKE GARAM MASALA
Break down the cinnamon stick and bay leaves, then add them to a skillet. Dry roast for 2- 3 minutes over medium heat.
Stir in the ground nutmeg and add the garam masala to an air-tight glass jar.
SEARCHING FOR MORE LIKE THIS?
If you love this recipe, we hope you will try one these meals featuring garam masala!
I have a whole post of recipes to make using garam masala, but here are some meals to try:
- Chicken Tikka Masala
- Aloo Gobi
- Palak Paneer
- Vegetable Biryani
- Matar Paneer
- Bhindi Masala
WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFTOVERS
- STORAGE – Once ground, store leftovers in an air-tight container. Store garam masala in a cool, dry place for 4-6 weeks.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
You can purchase Garam masala in most mainstream grocery stores, but you should know one thing, this spice is not one size fits all. Travel through South Asia, and you will find that recipes for garam masala are specific to each region- each one slightly different from the last.
Garam masala varies from region to region, home to home, and even recipe to recipe- depending on what you’re using garam masala to prepare.
The number of whole spices and how much of each to use will change depending on who you ask, but the method for preparing them is always the same. I use a combination of green cardamom, black cardamom, a cinnamon stick, black cloves, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, nutmeg, mace, and bay leaves to make up this spice blend. Other spices used to make garam masala are peppercorns, star anise, dried ginger, asafoetida powder, caraway seeds, and fenugreek.
For something a little different, try our North Indian-inspired garam masala!
Garam masala is a fragrant spice blend with layers of flavor. The taste of garam masala varies depending on the amount of each spice used, but ours has a savory sweetness.
YOU SHOULD ALSO TRY:
Pakistani Garam Masala
- Break down the cinnamon stick and bay leaves, then combine them with the other ingredients on a skillet. Dry roast the spices for 2- 3 minutes over medium heat to draw out the flavor and aroma of the whole spices.
- Stir in the ground nutmeg and add the garam masala to an air-tight glass jar.
- Web Story: Check out our web story for garam masala!