Curry and Garam Masala are the traditional classic Indian spice blends. On their own, they are potent. On food, they are seductive. Garam Masala finds itself onto foods, especially chicken, marinades, salad dressings, stir fries, and even baking in breads and sweets. But it is most often used as a final sprinkling before serving, a sort of dry sauce.
Garam Masala has a complexity from sweet, pungent, spicy hot, and savory. There is no single recipe for either of these blends. They vary region to region, family to family. Some add expensive saffron, others mace. Here is my recipe. It includes cardamom seeds. They are hard to find, but I consider their heady citrus aromas essential.
Since there is no salt in this recipe, (click here to read why our rub recipes do not have salt), salting the meat first is a must. This process is called dry brining. Salt will penetrate deep into meat so you should get it on in advance, perhaps overnight. The rest of the spices and herbs cannot penetrate very deep, so the rub can go on anytime, even just before you start cooking. The general rule of thumb is 1/2 teaspoon Morton Coarse Kosher Salt per pound (453.6 grams) of meat (don’t include bone, and ribs are about half bone).
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon cardamom seeds
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 2 inch cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon powdered nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 2 bay leaf
These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page
- Warm a frying pan over medium heat and add the ingredients, breaking the cinnamon stick into small pieces as you do so. Let them sit for a minute or two, and then stir. Continue to gently toast things until they start to brown and get fragrant. This process, called blooming, cooks everything and pulls the oils to the surface.
- Dump everything into a grinder. You can use a blender, food processor, mortar & pestle, spice grinder, or coffee grinder. Crush into a fine powder.
- Use immediately. If you store it in a tight jar, bloom the powder again before using.