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It's been a while since I've been able to get my hands on real garam masala. I bought some garam masala from a store last week and was disappointed. It lacked the rich flavor that I am use to. There is so many versions of garam masala all with different ingredients. I'm looking for advice for a flavorsome garam masala with moderate heat.

  • As you say, there is no one definitive recipe for garam masala, and seeing as recipe requests and open-ended questions are off-topic here, I would say this question needs to be drastically reworked if it's going to remain open. – ElendilTheTall Apr 3 '14 at 12:34
  • Store bought ones are often disappointing, many spice blends are. Sometimes it's the quality of the spices used, sometimes it's because the stabilizers they add to prevent the spices from interacting. There's nothing in garam masala that you can't find on the shelf as a separate spice so make your own and experiment until you find what you like. – GdD Apr 3 '14 at 12:45
  • @ElendilTheTall To clarify, What is the basic combination and what spice do I need for a moderate heat. The only thing I can think of is crushed chilli or peri-peri, besides that what else can I use? – Capsicum Online Apr 3 '14 at 13:28
  • Please google garam masala recipe; you will find a myriad of options. You can compare or just try one, and increase or decrease the hot ingredients (capiscum peppers of whatever spicy variety) to your taste. – SAJ14SAJ Apr 3 '14 at 13:48
  • If you have a specific well-known brand of garam masala that you're trying to recreate, this might qualify as a 'restaurant-mimicry' question, which is one of the few 'recipe request' type questions they tend to accept on this site. – Joe Apr 3 '14 at 17:56
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As many have said in the comments, there are many different recipes, often with quite different ingredients. But wikipedia has a list of typical ingredients:

  • turmeric
  • peppercorns
  • cloves
  • cinnamon
  • cumin seeds
  • cardamom pods

I don't normally think of garam masala as having any heat. If you want to add some heat to an Indian dish you could use dried cayenne pepper (hotter) or kashmiri chilli powder (milder).

If you're looking to make your own flavorful spice blend, I recommend buying whole spices and getting a spice grinder (I use a dedicated blade coffee grinder). Grinding spices fresh makes them much more flavorful than the pre-ground ones that have been sitting on the supermarket shelf for years.

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    Make sure you toast the spices a little in a pan before grinding. And I would absolutely add coriander seeds to that list. Careful with the cinnamon as it tends to be very dominant. – cioddi Apr 12 '14 at 9:40

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