January’s spice of the month

Garam (from hot) and Masala (a mix of spices) originates from the Indian subcontinent and is a must have for any spice aficionado!

Readily available throughout the UK, there are many different versions of this spice blend often historically dictated by the regional origin and/or personal preference of households.

What is in Garam Masala?

There is no standard recipe for garam masala, so tasting different blends can be quite a culinary journey of discovery!

Typically the commercial blends will include a mix of cumin, coriander, cardamon, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in different variations. Specialty versions of the spice may include some other ingredients however, such as star anise, fennel seed, turmeic and mustard too!

What does it taste like?

This depends on the blend, it is a fragrant spice as well as flavoursome and you can expect a mixture of warmth, sweetness, floral notes and a touch of heat.

The essence of the spice mix is one of warmth and not heat.

How to cook with Garam Masala 

One of the most popular ways of using the spice is to add it as a base note with the onions at the start of cooking. This lays down a deep, almost smoky backnote of pepper and cumin.

Mallika Basu recommends stirring it through curries and stews at the end, to balance bitterness. Also to sprinkle it over meats before slow roasting for an aromatic finish!

It’s also great used as a marinade with yoghurt, for example on a roast chicken for an anglo Indian flavoured dish.

You can pick up Garam Masala in any supermarket or local grocery, but if you want to guarantee quality, why not invest in a superior blend such as this one from Sizl spices.


Mallika has shared one of her favourite recipes with us which includes the use of her own Garam Masala mix.

See here for ‘How to Make Mallika Basu’s one-pot vegetable dal’.

The next Ginger and Spice Festival will take place during September 2020.

For all information about the Ginger and Spice Festival, Market Drayton, including the fringe events, please sign up to our ebulletin below or visit the  website: www.gingerandspicefest.co.uk