Garam masala,Indian spice mix,sunshinemom,spices,Indian,North Indian

As you walk past the industrial estate from Kanjur Marg Station towards L.B.S. Road in Mumbai your senses will be accosted with the heady and aromatic odours of different Indian spices. This industrial estate is full of small scale industries that manufacture various ground masalas such as red chilli powder(lal mirch), turmeric powder(haldi), coriander-cumin powder(dhanajeera) and of course the most common of them all - the garam masala or Indian spice mix. Sadly, during the evenings, on your way back to the station, the same place is filled with the stench of stale, overused and burnt oil used for roasting the spices.

This is of course not true for all spice factories but one year of traveling down this path ensured that I would never again buy readymade spice mixes off the shelf. Turmeric and red chilli powder are comparatively safer to buy as they do not involve roasting in oil but it is always hygienic and preferable to pound your own masalas at home. It does not involve much work as generally assumed. You can do it very easily playing with available ingredients. Besides this, making your own mixture gives you the flexibility to increase your favourite spice and decrease or totally avoid the one that displeases you. It is better to make your own especially if you have a member prone to allergies caused by spices. For instance, black pepper is known to cause allergies in few people and is an inherent part of garam masala. You can make your own by omitting this if needed.

Garam masala, formed from Hindi words 'garam' (hot) and 'masala' (paste), refers to a basic and aromatic blend of ground spices common in North Indian and other South Asian cuisines. It is used alone or in combination with other seasonings to flavour many dishes (curries, dry vegetables, breads etc.). (Credit: Wikipedia) We, at beyond curries endeavour to bring to our readers the best of the basic as well as exotic Indian recipes. Masala in an Indian kitchen varies from home to home and has been adapted along the way to suit different palates. Mine is comparatively milder than the store bought 'garam masala' and also contains more cardamom and cinnamon than the general ratio. This is because cardamom and cinnamon both have exotic aromas and I like to heighten their flavours.

Recipe: Naram 'Garam Masala' (Indian Spice Mix - Mild version)
Prep Time: 15 mins (Excluding cooling time which should take approximately 15 minutes)
Serves:Almost a cupful.
Recipe Level: Easy/Beginner
Recipe modified from Kamal Mehta's version in Special vegetarian delights
Recipe/Post by: Sunshinemom

1/2 cup or 30g coriander seeds (saboot dhania)
1" stick or cinnamon (dalchini)
10-12 nos. or 3g green cardamoms (chotti elaichi)
4 cloves
1 tsp. or 2g cumin seeds (jeera)
1 generous pinch of nutmeg (jaiphal)
2 blades of mace (javitri)

Special Utensils:
Heavy bottomed pan for roasting
Spice blender or small mixer to pound
Garam masala,Indian spice mix,sunshinemom,spices,Indian,North Indian


  1. Pick, clean and dry roast the coriander seeds and set aside to cool.
  2. Pound with the rest of the ingredients, sieve and bottle.
  3. Save the sieved masala and finish it by grinding with tomatoes or onions when making curry.

Do not peel the cardamoms. The skin itself is aromatic and any leftovers can be got rid off while sifting.

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  1. Chitra // 31 August 2009 at 20:40  

    very useful post..Looks nice .Have bookmarked it !!

  2. Priya Narasimhan // 31 August 2009 at 23:41  

    i am bookmarking it too..

  3. Sudeshna // 1 September 2009 at 07:45  

    Absolutely wonderful clicks. Loved the first one more :).

  4. Nags // 1 September 2009 at 09:05  

    lovely pictures! that hand is so good-looking :D

  5. Sunshinemom // 1 September 2009 at 20:34  

    Thanks all.

    Hey Nags! That is my daughter's and she is reading this with a big grin:D.