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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Garam Masala

It's been awhile since I've discussed a favorite product. And since I'm going to be featuring Indian food over the next few posts, I thought talking a little bit about garam masala was essential. Wikipedia discusses this combination of spices as follows:

Garam masala from Hindi garam ("hot") and masala ("mixture") is a basic blend of ground spices common in Indian and other South Asian cuisines. It is used alone or with other seasonings. The word garam refers to spice intensity, not heat; garam masala is pungent, but not "hot" in the same way as a chili pepper.
In short, garam masala  makes cooking Indian food a snap (this is me talking now, not Wikipedia). You can, of course, make your own blend, but I do not. Different brands have different combinations of spices. Typical spices include cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg and coriander (along with various colors of ground pepper). I have found that prices for the same brand vary widely; the bottle of McCormick featured in the photo is about $11 at the grocery store closest to my house, and about half that at the local WalMart. My friend Laura recently scouted the newly opened Indian store in our community (Bollywood on University Avenue for those of you who are local) and got a remarkable quantity of the stuff for about $4. It appeared to be a somewhat different mix of spices, but smelled great. And that's one of the things you'll like best about this blend--the way it makes your house smell when you cook with it.


  1. I am very happy you are going to be posting Indian food recipes!! Love the stuff! Favorites are coconut kurma and tikka masala...Sharon

  2. Coconut kurma will actually be up in a few days.