Garam Masala from garam (“hot”) and masala (a mixture of spices)
Garam masala has been part of Indian cuisine for centuries, also crossing over into neighbouring countries.
Literally, the name means ‘hot spice’ – although this does not necessarily refer to chilli heat but to the fact that the cooking process involves toasting the spices.
It is also said that the effect of eating garam masala is to gently increase body temperature, creating a pleasant warm glow. Created through a blend of up to ten spices, a complex balance of flavours and aromas is essential to good garam masala and indeed to Indian cookery as a whole.
As with many subcontinental foods, garam masala can be bought ready-made from a shop but the home-made version is far superior. The spices must be dry toasted before being ground to achieve the perfect flavour. Many different variations exist, with versions found all over southeast Asia. However, it is most predominant in Northern India and Punjabi cuisine.
Why not try making your own garam masala? Take a look at our garam masala recipe page.