Ever wondered what Garam Masala is, and why we use it so much in our cooking?

For anyone who would like a lesson in what Garam Masala is, here you go 🙂

You will see Garam Masala mentioned regularly in Indian recipes, on restaurant menus, our own included. It is basically a spice blend common in Indian and other South Asian cooking.

The name comes from the Hindi garam (“hot”) and masala (“mixture”) – before we all think that this is a hot spicy mix it isn’t!

The garam “hot” is not referring to the heat of the blend but rather the intensity of the blend and the spices “heating” properties in raising the body’s metabolism, probably why its so commonly used in the North of India where it is much colder than in the South. Garam masala is not hot in the sense of chili peppers; it’s more of a pungent mixture.

The spices used in making a garam masala differ according to region and household! Common ingredients are black and white peppercorns, cloves, bay leaves, black cumin, cumin seeds, cinnamon; black, brown and green cardamom, nutmeg, star anise, mace and coriander seeds. Various combinations of these and other spices are used in regional variations, but no combination is considered more authentic than another.

Our Garam is made fresh from whole spices and then ground; it’s based on recipes predominant in Northwest India, where recipes usually include cloves, green, black and/or brown cardamom, cinnamon, cassia, mace and/or nutmeg. Our recipe is a secret, though you can guess the spices that go into it from the photo 🙂 1st person that guesses the spices we put in gets a prize!

Bombay Pantry's Garam Masala