Garam Masala is the classic spice blend of India, a Punjabi creation literally translated as Hot (Garam) and Mixture (Masala). Don't be frightened by the "hot" moniker, however; Garam Masala gets its warmth from black pepper, cinnamon [or cassia] and cloves, not from fiery chilies.
Just like meatloaf recipes in Minnesota, or pizza styles along the Atlantic coast, Garam Masala blends vary regionally [and even from kitchen to kitchen] in throughout India. Our own Garam Masala blend includes the typical Garam Masala spices of coriander, cumin, cinnamon, black pepper, turmeric and cloves. Many of these spices, cloves and cinnamon, are more familiar to Americans as sweet or dessert spices, but will surprise you in the context of curries, soups and stews.
Garam Masala is often identified with making curry, but you can view it as a sort of all-purpose spice blend for making all sorts of Indian dishes. Garam Masala is a staple in the cuisines of Northern India [the Punjab], and Pakistan to the west, Bangladesh and Nepal to the east, and thought the rest of South Asia.
Garam Masala is delicious on potatoes, corn on the cob, cauliflower or winter squash. The Pakistanis commonly use Garam Masala in rice pilafs, Kashmiris use the seasoning in the traditional roghan josh, and meat-eaters everywhere like Garam Masala with poultry, lamb, pork, and even fish.
Ground Garam Masala is usually added at the end of the cooking time, or sprinkled on the dish after serving. You can also try blending Garam Masala with liquid [broth or coconut milk are both stellar choices] to make a delicious, quick "curry sauce." Garam Masala is essential to your bag of curry tricks, but also try it to make yogurt- or sour cream-based dips!
Ingredients: Cumin, pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, mace, other spices.