Garam Masala is referred to a combination of different spices. It also refers to what the entire world calls the “curry powder“.
Garam = Hot/Heat; Masala= Spice Mix. The spices in India are usually used whole or ground into to a powder. If its used whole, they are usually added in the beginning of the recipe as way to temper a dish, and if used in the powder form, it is generally sprinkled on the dish after it is almost done cooking.
The term “curry powder” is non existent in an Indian kitchen. There are several spices used in every day cooking and they are combined in hundreds of ways in different parts of the country. There is no one curry powder. What is sold in the stores as “curry powder” is usually a combination of different spices blended together. Knowing that, the Garam Masala can be referred to as a kind of curry powder. As you can imagine, different combination of spice blends will make spiced powders/curry powders of different flavors and aroma.
1/2 cup whole coriander seeds
1/4 cup cumin seeds
2 tablespoons small green cardamoms
6-8 black cardamoms
2 tablespoons cloves
1 tablespoon peppercorns
4 sticks of cinnamon, approx. 2″ each
3 bay leaves (Indian Tej patta)
3 red dry chili pepper
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
If you are roasting the spices, do them in a dry thick bottomed skillet. Roast each spice individually until just fragrant. They do burn very quick; watch them while roasting and take them off the heat the moment they get fragrant. Cool before grinding.
Grind all ingredients dry in a spice or coffee grinder.
May be stored in air tight containers for many months.