DIY Garam Masala Seasoning
How to Make a Fresh Garam Masala Seasoning Blend
Garam masala is a warming spice blend popularized in North Indian cuisine. Though there is no sugar in the blend at all, subtle sweetness is achieved through the incorporation of cinnamon and cardamom and is contrasted beautifully with the heat from fresh-ground peppercorns. Other warming spices like cloves, mace, and nutmeg really perk up the senses, while the anise flavor from the fennel seeds leaves the tastebuds feeling refreshed. The fenugreek, bay leaves, and cumin further enhance this blend, adding an element of depth. It is everything you could ever want in a flavoring agent, all rolled into one, beautifully fragrant seasoning blend—the perfect mix of sweet, spicy, and savory and a great addition to just about any dish you can dream up.
While you can buy a pre-made garam masala spice blend in the spice aisle of most supermarkets, a great deal of flavor is left behind in these pre-mixed powders. Instead, take a few extra minutes to make your garam masala seasoning blend from scratch, by grinding your own spices just prior to use. You will thus be incorporating higher levels volatile oils into your dishes and heightening the overall flavor experience.
Garam Masala made from Fresh Ground Spices
- 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- Seeds from 6 cardamom pods
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon whole white peppercorns
- 1 small blade of mace
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek leaves
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
- Place a skillet on the stove (cast iron is preferred) and turn the heat up to medium-low.
- Once the skillet is hot, add all of your spices except the nutmeg. Stir continuously for a few minutes. When the spice are fragrant or begin to pop, they are done. Don’t let them burn!
- Immediately transfer the spice mix to your coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle.
Garam Masala is so often mistaken as an inflexible seasoning blend good for little more than dishes such as coconut or yogurt doused curried stews—but the uses for this spice blend span much further. This particular garam masala powder is, of course, a wonderful seasoning base for chana masala, tikka masala, and a wide range of Indian-inspired curries, but it also hosts a wide range of culinary versatility. Try sprinkling it atop all of your favorite roasted vegetables for mouthwatering flavor; incorporate some into lamb meatballs for an added kick of flavor; mix it into ground beef for a hearty and flavorful lettuce wrap filling; or even swap your typical pumpkin pie spices for this zesty blend and make a savory pumpkin pie (top it with yogurt instead of whipped cream)!
We decided to utilize our fresh ground seasoning to enliven a quick weeknight dinner of grilled shrimp over quinoa. All it takes is a couple of pinches, sprinkled over the shellfish prior to throwing them on a cast-iron skillet with hot coconut oil. A few seconds of grilling on either side over high heat and you’ve got yourself an easy, healthy, and delicious meal!