Garam Masala is a "staple spice" throughout the Indian Subcontinent. Its exact ingredients can vary from region to region, but garam masala can include cloves
, bay leaves
, star anise
, cassia or cinnamon
and many others. Garam masala is distinct from curry powders in that the idea is to add flavour rather than just heat. However, of course, extra chilli can be added according to taste.
As well as adding flavour, garam masala has nutritional qualities. Many of the individual spices can help to aid digestion, and many are used in medicine. In particular, many of the constituent spices of garam masala have antimicrobial properties, each working against different microbes. This is one of the reason spice blends such as garam masala were used to preserve food before refrigeration was invented.
We recommend using whole garam masala wherever possible, rather than ready-ground garam masala. Whole garam masala keeps for longer, because the essential flavour-producing oils are kept locked within the seeds. Whole garam masala is crushed just prior to use, using either a mortar and pestle or a rolling pin. See our whole garam masala page for more.
For freshly grinding your own garam masala mix, just when you need it. This blend contains coriander seeds, cumin seeds, whole cassia sticks (chinese cinnamon), whole pepper, whole cloves, whole cardamom, whole star anise and whole bay leaves.
Whole garam masala stores well, and it has a freshly-ground taste when you cook with it. We consider this to be the ideal staple spice of any curry-lover's cupboard. More Info >
Garam masala is one of the most important mixes for Asian/Indian cuisine. This is the already-ground version, kind of like curry powder without the chilli. More Info >
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