Garam Masala - Spice Mix

Garam Masala - Spice Mix

Garam masala is the type of spice that when you open the pack and inhale the flavors, you’ll collapse in ecstasy and moan loudly right there on your kitchen floor. This is a spice blend that gives great flavor to dishes without adding heat.

Garam masala is pungent but not piquant. The word garam refers to intensity of the spices rather than capsaicin content while masala refers to a mix, thus Garam Masala is a very special blend of spices which is used in cooking in much the same way as we may add Mixed Herbs to everyday meals.

Garam Masala adds flavor to slow cooking foods, the spice mixture contributes a rich flavor that would not otherwise be present. 

Garam Masala mixed with a little chili powder and salt and sprinkled over fish before barbecuing, frying or grilling makes it delicious. 

Garam Masala is a common additive in various types of pilau (pilaf). It is usually added to hot oil in which onions have been fried golden brown. 


To make Kashmiri Garam Masala: Simply add to 1 Tablespoon of Herbie's Garam Masala, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin and 1/2 a teaspoon each of nigella seeds and ground nutmeg.


Fennel Seed, Caraway Seed, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Cloves, Black Pepper.

Health Benefits

Garam masala contains several micronutrients. One ounce has about 215 milligrams of calcium, 9 milligrams of iron, 400 milligrams of potassium, and 1 milligram of zinc.

Chefs Notes  

The order in which spices are added to food may be very elaborate in some dishes. In the case of the Kashmiri specialty roghan josh, for example, coriander, ginger and chili are each ground individually, and a garam masala of cloves, cardamom, fennel, mace, cumin, turmeric and nutmeg is separately prepared.

The cook tastes the dish carefully to determine the precise moment when the next spice should be added. The order is coriander first, then the ground ginger, then the garam masala, and finally the chili.

In the chicken dish Murgo Kari (chicken curry) the procedure is also precise. First the chicken is fried and removed from the pan. Onion, garlic and fresh ginger are added to the pan and cooked slowly for 7 to 8 minutes.  Next cumin, turmeric, ground coriander; cayenne and fennel seed are added with water and fried for a minute or so. Next tomato concassé is added with cilantro, yoghurt and salt. The chicken is returned to the pan and more water is added. Finally some garam masala is sprinkled on top, the pot is tightly covered and the dish cooks another 20 minutes before serving.