Garam Masala is a fragrant blend of locally grown spices from the Indian subcontinent, similar in concept to the French herb de Provence or Chinese five-spice powder. Since the climate and soil-type varies all over India, the basic composition of this blend differs by region. Plus, almost every household customizes it based on their taste preference. To make garam masala, whole spices are lightly toasted to release their flavor and aroma. Then, they are cooled and ground to a fine consistency. If stored in a cool and dry place, garam masala stays fresh for months.
This blend is my grandmother’s recipe for Garam Masala. Most of my curry and Indian recipes on this blog call for garam masala as one of the main flavoring components. Some traditional Indian recipes ask for whole garam masala (spices), which has to be fished out before serving. I prefer to use this blend instead.
Homemade garam masala beats store-bought any day. But for busier times, I always have a store-bought back-up in my pantry. I have tried many brands and find the Frontier Garam Masala blend to be a close substitute. I feel it’s well-balanced and no single spice overpowers the others.