Garam masala is an Indian seasoning powder made with a combination of different spices; it is used in many recipes such as making garam masala chicken recipe.
What is Garam masala?
This is an Indian seasoning that is popular and made with many spices. It got its name from Hindi which in English simply means Hot Spice (“Garam” and “Masala”). You can use it in many recipes for seasoning chicken, cooking food, and any recipe that requires the use of seasoning.
Garam Masala vs Curry Powder
Curry powder is not the same as Garam masala. They have some common ingredients but garam masala has no turmeric or curry leaves in it whereas curry powder does not contain star anise.
Curry powder is a good substitute for garam masala. If you don’t have curry, you can make Oregano seasoning as another replacement. You can substitute any spice in garam masala to meet your taste and needs because there are no specific required ingredients for making this seasoning. Each family’s recipe is different from that of others.
Variations of the Spices used as Ingredients
Here is the list of spices I used in making this spicy recipe at home. The spices list varies with some ingredients available in some people’s recipes but absent in others. The major thing you need to know is that it is a combination of many spices – where it got its name: “Garam” which means Hot and “Masala” which means Spice. So in English, it simply means Hot Spice in Hindi.
Ingredients for making homemade garam masala recipe
The spices are first toasted on heat to improve their flavor and also helps to dry some of the leaves, thereby elongating their shelf life (makes them last longer during storage or preservation). The spices are then blended into a powder.
- 1/2 cup of Coriander seeds, (साबुत धनिया)
- 2 tablespoon of cumin seeds, (जीरा). You can use black cumin seeds too, (शाही जीरा).
- 1 tablespoon of green cardamom/ Stone flower 1 medium size,( बड़ी इलायची / पत्थर का फूल)
- 2 heaped tbsp Black peppercorns, (काली मिर्च)
- Two tablespoons of Cinnamon stick, (दालचीनी)
- 6 pieces of Star anise, (चक्र फूल). You can add mace (जावित्री), but I did not have this, so it was not added.
- 2 tablespoons of Cloves, (लॉन्ग)
- 5 medium Bay leaves, (तेजपत्ता)
- You can use Byadgi red chili (but this is optional), बेदगी लाल मिर्च.
- 1/2 Nutmeg. Nutmeg helps fight cold especially in winter and would be a good addition to the spice list.
- You can also add Saunf or fennel seeds to this recipe in summer because fennel protects from extreme heat in summer.
Steps on How to Make Garam Masala at Home
- In a pan add coriander seeds and roast them lightly. Coriander seeds take longer to roast compared to other spices, hence combining and roasting them together would make some to get burnt.
- After roasting coriander, start roasting other spices until you start to smell their aroma and they start becoming smoky.
- Remove from heat and add in your coriander to the remaining spices.
- Allow all to cool down before blending them.
- Add all the ingredients into a coffee grinder or your blender jar and blend into a fine powder.
- Sieve using a fine strainer to have a very smooth powder or you can simply use it the way it is. I prefer sieving it before using it.
How long can it last?
You can store in an airtight container with a fitting lid. Make sure the storage container is dry. When stored properly as described above, homemade garam masala can last for 3 to 6 months if all the spices are dried properly. The presence of air or water can spoil your homemade seasoning.