How to mix your own Garam Masala

Mixing your own spices can take some time, but it’s worth it for the extra flavour. Here’s a basic mix for Garam Masala.

Mixing your own spices can take some time, but it's worth it for the extra flavour. Here's a basic mix for Garam Masala

If you are going to mix your own flavourings from whole, rather than powdered, ingredients, you will need an electric coffee grinder or spice grinder.

One of the most popular spice mixes is Garam Masala. Madhur Jaffrey recommends the following mix for a home-made Garam Masala in her book Indian Cookery:

  • 1 tbsp cardamom seeds
  • A 5cm cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp black cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • ¼ of an average-sized nutmeg

Finely grind all the spices together and store in an air-tight jar in a cool dark place.

Another take on garam masala uses this spice mix:

  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ a dried chilli
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1tbsp cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 fairly large bayleaf

Remove the seeds from the cardamom pod. If you want a milder mix also remove the seeds from the dried chilli. Grind and store as before.

You can get an even more aromatic flavour if you dry roast the spices first in a frying pan. Don’t make too much at once, though, as the spice mix will start losing its flavour.