Traditional Garam Masala

Moghul Garam Masala

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield:

    ⅓ cup

Appears in


By James Peterson

Published 1991

  • About

Garam masala means “hot spice mixture,” a somewhat misleading Western translation because Indian cooks talk about spices that either heat or cool the body—distinctions that have little to do with how hot they are in the mouth. Garam masala is the spice mixture most often used in Northern Indian cooking. None of the spices for the following garam masala need be roasted, because they are all intensely aromatic.


cinnamon sticks, 2 inches (5 cm) long, coarsely chopped 4 4
black peppercorns 1 rounded tbsp 20 ml
whole cloves 1 tbsp 15 ml
black cardamom pods, husks removed 3 3
fennel seeds (optional) 1 rounded tbsp 20 ml


Blend the spices in a blender at high speed for about 3 minutes. Work the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer. Zap what doesn’t go through the strainer a second time in the blender and work it through the strainer. Reserve the garam masala, tightly sealed, in the freezer.