Garam Masala

December 23, 2020

Garam Masala

What is Garam Masala Powder?

Do you love the flavours of black pepper, cinnamon and coriander - but hate having to choose? 

Garam masala powder is the versatile spice that’s about to become a staple in your kitchen. As a sophisticated mix of traditional Indian spices, it combines multiple distinct, taste bud-pleasing flavours and aromas in a single powder. 

Garam masala loosely translates to “warm spices,” which should give you a little idea of what to expect. Being warm but not downright hot, this is a spice with a splash of heat, but its blend of ingredients makes garam masala a great complement to a variety of plates and dishes. 

What is Garam Masala Powder?

As we mentioned, garam masala spice is a blend of spices you already know and love. Some of the most common ingredients in the garam masala spice include black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and cloves. 

Each family has its own (sometimes closely guarded) garam masala recipe, however, so our mothers’ garam masala could look completely different from what you see in the stores - or even at your favourite Indian restaurant. 

The powder, when made from scratch, may involve toasting the ingredients on hot pan or a griddle. In any case, the resulting aromatic spice can transform an ordinary home-styled dish into a 5-star cuisine using our time-tested flavours. Our families typically add garam masala near the end of the cooking process, although recently some chefs have started using garam masala to marinate their fare.

Where is Garam Masala From?

Garam masala originates from India, but each region has its own take on the versatile spice. In general, each version of garam masala gets progressively hotter as you move from the north of India to the south. 

Garam Masala powder is so special that much like in our families, it can provide the secret ingredient to anyone’s dish. Some of your aunties might go heavy on the pepper while others like to throw in extra garlic or nutmeg. 

How to Use Garam Masala 

While garam masala powder is from India, we use it on more than traditional Indian dishes. Just like amateurs and professional cooks, this powder allows for creativity, such as adding this authentic spice blend to everyday fare as well as special meals. 

You can elevate the humble cheese toastie, or give your hamburger a splash of something special when you add garam masala. We’ve even seen garam masala added to oatmeal cookie recipes! Yes, really. 

Garam masala in baked goods gives your confections a hit of heat that will win over the school crowd. 

Other popular ways we use garam masala include:

  • Amping up the spice factor with a garam masala curry
  • Sprinkling a touch of spice over steamed vegetables to convince your family to eat their greens
  • Dusting garam masala over squash or potatoes before baking 
  • Adding a dose of garam masala to your baked spice nuts recipe for some heat
  • Blending the spice into your samosas for a classic combination
  • Spicing up traditional rice with garam masala to create a new delicious side dish

As we’ve said, this versatile spice quickly becomes a kitchen go-to. Play with garam masala over baked potatoes, breakfast eggs, chicken, and more. From meaty entrees to sweet sides, you might find yourself adding this traditional spice blend to at least one item at dinner every night. 

What Else You Need to Know About Garam Masala

The key to a palate-pleasing garam masala spice blend is mixing the heat with the sweet. Sometimes we like to add a bit of extra spice. If you enjoy that too, you’ll want a recipe with chilli and mustard seeds. To keep things on the cooler end of the spectrum, cut down on the black pepper and add a touch of saffron for a floral note. 

Some other fast facts:

  • The appearance of garam masala can change based on ingredients, but it is typically a dark brown mixture
  • Garam masala may lose its potency faster than other spices, so keep it in an airtight container, ideally in a dark location (and use it up quickly)
  • Some of the most common ingredients in garam masala, including bay leaves, may promote better digestion

Each of our beautiful Spice Boxes features some of our favourite recipes from the tables of our grandmothers and mothers. We’ve meticulously curated the best spices and made them accessible to everyone, so it’s easy for you to recreate authentic dishes in your very own kitchen with one of our Indian Spice Boxes. Get one today to start enjoying 12 of the finest  Indian spices.





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