Food & Cooking

Garam Masala

In my quest to preserve as much of my zucchini harvest as I can, I decided to try my hand at making chutney. The recipe calls for Garam Masala, which is a complex blend of spices that is insanely good when made fresh, particularly if you take the time to roast the whole spices and grind them yourself. Which is what I did.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with chutney, there are roughly a billion different types and recipes, ranging from mild herby yogurt chutneys through crazy pickley spicy chutneys. The zucchini-apple-ginger chutney I made this weekend is a rich, sweet, jammy, tangy, and heavily spiced (also hot-spicy) fruit and vegetable-based relish. It will be an amazing accompaniment for a zillion things — meats, curries, cheese, savoury pastries, etc etc. I expect we’ll have it first with roast pork or curried beef. And we’ll definitely bust it out for Thanksgiving and Christmas, as it will go insanely well with grill-roasted turkey.

Anyhoo…I’ll post the chutney recipe on Wednesday. This post is about Garam Masala.

garam masala recipe

Garam Masala recipe

This is really easy to throw together — it takes maybe 10 minutes all told, including 5 minutes to let the spices cool down.


  • 1/3 cup coriander seeds
  • 1/4 cup cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp green cardamom pods
  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp whole cloves
  • 1″ piece of cinnamon bark, broken into pieces
  • 1 dried red chile
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground mace (optional)


  1. Put everything except the nutmeg and mace into a dry pan and place over low heat. Stir the spices until they’re toasted and very fragrant — this usually takes 3-4 minutes.
  2. Transfer the now-toasted spices on to a plate to cool for a few minutes, then put everything (including the nutmeg and mace) into a spice grinder (mine is just a simple coffee grinder I repurposed). Grind to a fine powder.
  3. Transfer spice blend to an airtight container (such as a mason jar). This blend will store for 6-8 months if it lasts that long!


  • I break cinnamon sticks by placing them on a cutting board, covering with a layer of dry dish towel, and whacking it with the back of a chef’s knife.
  • If you don’t already have mace on hand, don’t bother getting it for this recipe since you use so little — just augment with a bit more nutmeg.

I’m about an hour into cooking down the chutney, and our house smells ridiculously amazing right now. Oof. This is going to be so great.

garam masala recipe

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