Garam masala, literally translates as ‘hot mixture’ but is in fact a mixture of fragrant spices with a rich, warm aroma. There are hundreds of recipes for garam masala. In fact, many families and restaurants have their own special blend. It is well worth making your own garam masala if you regularly cook curries as it does appear quite often in recipes. I much prefer my version to the shop bought varieties.


2 bay leaves

1 tsp cardamon seeds

1 tsp black peppercorns

1 tsp cloves

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 inch stick cinnamon

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

4 blades of mace (optional if you can’t find it)

1/4 nutmeg, grated


  1. Gently toast all the spices except the nutmeg in a dry frying pan. Stir the spices or shake the pan.
  2. Once the spices start to give off their aroma and start to change colour, turn off the heat and transfer to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.
  3. Allow to cool a little before grinding to a powder. Once ground, stir in the grated nutmeg.
  4. Store in an air tight jar.