Modern Garam Masala

Punjabi Garam Masala

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield:

    ¼ cup

Appears in


By James Peterson

Published 1991

  • About

In addition to the “sweet” and aromatic spices combined to make traditional garam masala, many contemporary versions of garam masala contain green cardamom instead of the traditional black cardamom, and also contain a large proportion of cumin and coriander—spices that give traditional garam masala a sharper and more “curry-like” flavor and aroma. It’s possible to get by without roasting the spices (especially if the spice mixture is being cooked in fat before being combined with moist ingredients), but Punjabi garam masala will have more distinction if the coriander and cumin seeds are stirred in a hot skillet for a few minutes first, until they release their aroma.


black or white cumin seeds 2 tbsp 30 ml
coriander seeds 2 tbsp 30 ml
cinnamon sticks, 2 inches (5 cm) long, coarsely chopped 4 4
black peppercorns 1 tbsp 15 ml
whole cloves 1 tbsp 15 ml
green cardamom pods, husks removed 1 tbsp 15 ml


Stir the cumin seeds in a hot dry skillet until they smell aromatic and brown very slightly. Transfer the cumin seeds to a bowl and repeat with the coriander seeds. Let cool. Grind all the spices together in a coffee grinder or blender on high speed for about 3 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer, grind again, and strain out what doesn’t go through. Punjabi garam masala may be frozen, tightly sealed, for several months.