Garam masala

Literally meaning ‘warm spice’, garam masala is an Indian staple. The exact blend of spices varies between households and regions, though it typically includes cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, cumin, coriander, nutmeg and black peppercorns. It adds warmth and depth of flavour, rather than heat.

Ingredients

  • 2 cinnamon sticks (not cassia!)
  • 10 green cardamom pods
  • 8 black cardamom pods
  • 15 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 dried red Kashmiri chillies

Method

Place a dry heavy-based frying pan over medium–high heat until fully heated and slightly smoking. Add all the ingredients and shake and stir for about a minute, or until the spices smell toasted, are slightly darker, and give off just a slight bit of smoke. Tip into a bowl and leave to cool.

Grind to a fine powder, using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, and store in an airtight container.