This is the most aromatic and fragrant of all Indian spice blends. It was introduced by the royal Moghul kitchens to season biryanis and kormas. Used throughout North India in all types of dishes — from appetizers and soups to yogurt, salad and main courses — this blend is indispensable to Indian cooking.  A combination of different spices, it probably has as many recipes as there are families in India! Here is a basic one. Depending on individual taste, the proportions of the ingredients can be adjusted. Garam masala is best made fresh just before you begin cooking, but in order to save time, you can make a batch ahead and store for several months in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place. 
Preparation and Cooking Time: 15 minutes


  • 4 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 ½ tsps black cumin seeds (shah jeera)
  • 1 tsp black cardamom (4-5 large pods)
  • 1tsp green cardamom seeds
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • ¾” stick cinnamon 
  • 3 bay leaves


Heat a heavy skillet on a medium flame and gently roast all ingredients till they turn a few shades darker. Stir occasionally. Do not speed up the process by turning up the heat as the spices will burn on the outside and remain raw on the inside. When the spices are roasted turn off the flame and allow them to cool. Once cooled, remove the cardamom seeds from their skins and mix them with other roasted spices. Grind them together, to a fine powder in a clean, dry coffee grinder. Store in an airtight jar for up to six months.