Garam Masala: How to use it, how to do it at home

You've heard about Garam Masala ? If you know, or are interested in Indian cuisine, you may know it.

The Garam Masala is a blend of spices originally from northern India that is used to flavor various plates of meat or vegetables.

It is similar to what in the West we know as curry powder , only it is not yellow because it does not have turmeric among its ingredients. p>

The most basic Garam Masala is composed of coriander seeds, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and black pepper. And I say more basic because there is no unique preparation for this mixture, in fact, the ingredients and ways of preparing the Garam Masala vary from town to town and even from family to family.

A teacher at my school She told me that when two Hindu families come together through marriage, one of the things they share are their spices, among them, their Garam Masala recipes , mixing them up to create a new one, that represents this union.

One of the ways to use this mixture of spices is adding it to a stew when we are almost finished cooking, that is, if you make a chicken stewed with tomato, onion and garlic, you cook it for the corresponding time and, 5 minutes before extinguishing the fire and serving, you add the Garam Masala. The idea of ​​this is that the aromas and flavors are not completely diluted at the time of serving.

Where do I get Garam Masala?

In markets, specialty stores, in still lifes where they sell Asian products. Almost all big cities have.

In Madrid you can buy Garam Masala in the food stores of Lavapiés. You can also buy it at although it does not come out that cheap there.

How to make Garam Masala, recipe:

The truth is that it is not so easy to get in small cities. But you know what? You can make it yourself.

I give you a quick and easy recipe:


  • 1 teaspoon of seeds coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon clove powder


  1. Heat a pan over low heat and add all the spices.
  2. Let them toast for a few minutes without getting burned. What you want is simply to "activate" them with a little heat.
  3. When they start to release their delicious fragrance, turn off the heat.
  4. Grind the seeds well in a mortar.

Ready, you have Garam Masala made at home.

Garam Masala or curry?

Depending on how you see it, they are the same.

In the West we say "curry" to the yellow powder with a strong and sometimes spicy flavor that we use to flavor some dishes, like for example this delicious recipe for chicken curry.

The reality is that the term "curry ", in India, means something like "spice mix dish of ..." for example: my Curry recipe of shrimp with pineapple.

You can get curry recipes of lamb, fish, lentil curries, vegetable curries.

In all cases spices that make up these curries, do not necessarily have to do with the famous yellow powder that I have already mentioned 2 times in this post. In fact, you can make a chicken curry with Garam Masala MORE other spices. Example? In my blog I have this recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala.


  • Can the curry powder we know be used to make a curry dish?-> Yes.
  • Can you make a curry dish without curry powder and without Garam Masala? -> Yes.
  • Can I mix curry powder and Garam Masala in the same dish? -> Yes, but it is absurd , many of the ingredients are the same and what you can do is achieve a dish that does not have a defined flavor.

My personal recommendation, and as a cook , is to limit the use of curry powder sold commercially and prepare it yourself, why? If you do it yourself you can graduate the flavors at your whim, put a little more of that, take away a little bit of the other. And well, the freshness of the ingredients, creativity, the wonder of creating your own magic potion, ha!

Here on my blog, and as you have read in this post, I have several curry recipes, some made by me, others using prepared mixes.

Check them out, get inspired, and make your own curries. And of course, you tell me!