Traditional Fragrant Garam Masala

Featured in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on July 31, 2019.




  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds from green pods (or a mix of black and green)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1-3 dried red chilies, more to taste (or substitute 1 teaspoon chili flakes)
  • 2-inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon chunk or piece of whole nutmeg (roughly)


  1. In a dry skillet, lightly toast all ingredients over medium heat, until crackling and fragrant.
  2. Stir often, be careful not to scorch; cool.
  3. Grind in a spice grinder or blender until ground into a coarse-fine powder.
  4. Store in a sealable jar for up to six months.

Makes about 1/3 cup.

Tip: A coffee grinder is a handy kitchen tool that can also be used to grind whole spices.

Approximate Nutrient Analysis per 1 teaspoon serving:
5 calories, 0.5 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium, 0 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 0 g protein


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