Friday, September 12, 2014

Garam Masala

Hello there, again, Sew Crafty Angel Readers! It’s me, Christie with A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures again to bring you yet another tasty post. If you like what you see, then make sure to stop by and look for more!

Using just a few simple ingredients, you to can make a delicious garam masala that you love and want to use all the time.

For those new to my blog, I’m kind of on this kick where I make the spice blends I USED to buy. It’s healthier, they’re fresher and taste better, and after the initial investment it’s cheaper. What does that mean? That means that once I purchase the container of cumin seed, I can make several jars of of this Garam Masala (or taco seasoning, or even just ground cumin). That’s what I mean by initial investment.

You can smell it can’t you? I can! And no, that’s not because I just made the batch or just because I photographed it. It’s the latter of the two, but my nose just remembers what it smells like; that cardamom, ginger, cumin, fennel aroma. YUM! And trust me when I say it’s not spicy hot. I know that pepper seems like it’s HUGE, but it’s really not that hot. You can adjust your heat preferences with the type and number of chiles you use.

BUT I warn you, being as the spices are fresher, they are also more potent! I made the mistake of using the same amount as I would with a store bought and HOLY WOW! It was almost overpower and definitely overwhelming. So, please do experiment with the appropriate amount to use for your family and start smaller, WAY SMALLER, than you would think you need to use.

Now you can see what my secret ingredient is. Yup. I added some cacao nibs for a little body to the flavor. Not that garam masala really needed it, but just to add a level of flavor that’s unexpected. No. It doesn’t have a chocolate flavor, it just has a rich flavor that you don’t normally get with store bought masalas.

This actually brought about a whole other flavor mash up that I plan on experimenting with in the near future. So, keep an eye out for that! Oh no! That means you have to come back here OR to my blog to see what it is. Muahahahha *coughcough*

I love this shot! You can see the flecks of ginger and peppers. Whole ground ginger is a bit stringy when you grind it. Some prefer to strain it and remove the fibers. I don’t. I just keep grinding until most are gone. I can handle a few small pieces here or there. You won’t even notice them in the dish when you use the spice mixture.

I had the same reservations about putting a whole piece of nutmeg in my grinder. For some of the larger spices I pulse it a few times to break it up, but I didn’t really need to do that with my grinder, which is just a $20 coffee grinder. I mean, there really isn’t much difference that I’ve seen between a coffee grinder and a spice grinder. Just don’t use your spice grinder for coffee unless you want it flavored. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya! And don’t use your coffee grinder for spices unless you’ve upgraded your coffee grinder or no longer need one. Again…just sayin.

Like I said, those chiles aren’t very hot! Select your heat preferences with different chiles that you are familiar with. In the foreground is the fennel seed, then there’s the coriander on the right, the cumin in the back, the half a nutmeg piece, and then the cacao nibs just to the left. There’s not many, but they do make a difference in the richness of the flavor. If you don’t have them, it’s okay. You don’t have to go out and buy some unless you need justification. But do you REALLY need a reason to buy them?

It looks yummy, doesn’t it? And if you’re like me, you will want to make Chicken Tikki Masala as soon as you finish making this Garam Masala. Then there’s curries you can make with it, or just make a rub out of it for steaks or roasted chicken. You can make a dip by adding a little to some yogurt with some pretzels or pita chips. SO many possibilities!

I hope you at least try to make your own garam masala. I’d be willing to bet you have almost everything you need in your spice rack already.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed my post here on Sew Crafty Angel! Thanks, Angel, for letting me take over your blog today! It was fun getting to know all of your wonderful readers. I just hope I made some new friends who have enjoyed my banter. If, at the very least, inspired some to get into the kitchen and make some delicious spice mixes.

Garam Masala

by A Kitchen Hoor

  • 3 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 3 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
  • 3 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons whole fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons whole fenugreek
  • 1 tablespoon whole, green cardamom
  • 2 whole, dried, red chiles
  • 2 whole bay leaves, crushed
  • 1 inch piece of dried ginger
  • 1 inch piece of cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1/2 inch piece of nutmeg
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Toast the herbs and spices until fragrant. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Finely grind in a spice grinder and store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.


  1. Garam Masala- a much in every Indian kitchen!! I am fortunate to get a jar full of fresh home-ground garam masala from my mother-in-law every now and then :D Home-made is surely better than store bought!

    Cacao Nibs addition is interesting. I should try it sometime.


    1. Thank you, Tanya! I have this idea for masala mole and that's what lead me to the cacao nibs. It does add a nice depth of flavor to the masala.