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Garam masala

I’ve been pretty dissatisfied with the (admittedly few) garam masala mixtures I purchased (from admittedly Western/Eurocentric vendors). I think I’ve hit upon a good spice combination here. My version is sweetly aromatic with nutty overtones. Use in sauces, baking, rubs, and of course, curries. Adapted from Show Me the Curry and Serious Eats.

Garam masala

I use whole spices; they will be ground after roasting (most of) them in a pan. This yields about 1/2 cup, which I store in a small jam jar. Because it’s a small amount, I use a digital scale; for accuracy, and if you have access to one, try using a jeweler’s scale.


  • 6 grams cinnamon stick
  • 6 grams cloves
  • 3 grams black cardamom pods
  • 3 grams green cardamom pods
  • 3 grams star anise
  • 3 grams black peppercorns
  • 6 grams coriander seeds
  • 6 grams cumin seeds
  • 3 grams black cumin seeds (a.k.a., kala jeera; but not to be confused with nigella or kalonji)
  • 3 grams fennel seeds
  • 3 grams fenugreek seeds
  • 4 grams dried rose petals


  1. Roast the larger spices over low-medium heat until fragrant: cinnamon, cloves, both cardamoms, star anise, and peppercorns.
  2. Spread them out on ceramic or glass plate to cool.
  3. Roast the remaining, smaller spices—except for the rose—again, until fragrant.
  4. Again, spread out on a plate to cool.
  5. When completely cool, lightly crush the cinnamon, black cardamom, and anything else more that 1cm (1/2 inch) long (or wide).
  6. Mill the spices and rose in batches, into a powder. One of those small electric coffee grinders works nicely. It won’t be as fine as store-bought spices, but that’s okay! I use a strainer to remove larger bits, which I run through the mill again.
  7. Store in an airtight container, preferably glass.

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