Garam Masala is a staple in Indian homes. It’s the aromatic spice blend that brings warmth and depth to Indian cuisine. Every region, every family has their own secret recipe made of a combination of spices. My mom’s quintessential garam masala uses 21 spices! I still remember her yearly ritual of making the garam masala, which involved shopping for the best whole spices, cleaning and roasting them, grinding them and then carefully storing them in beautiful glass jars. It would be shared with relatives and used for rest of the year. Lucky for me, my mom still makes the blend every year and has a huge bag ready for me to bring back each time we visit her in India.
Over the past several years, during her visits to us she has taught me how to create a simplified version in smaller batches. It only uses 5 ingredients that are readily available – peppercorns, green cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and black cumin or caraway seeds. Just 1 tsp of this garam masala can add authentic flavors to many Indian dishes. Sure beats one that is store bought.