A traditional Indian spice blend with many variations, 'garam' literally means spice and 'masala' means blend. It can be as simple as a mixture of two or three spices, while other blends can contain a dozen or more depending on the region and the cook. The highly aromatic mixture is generally added towards the end of cooking to retain its aroma. In its basic form it may include cinnamon, bay leaves, cumin, coriander, cardamom, black pepper and mace, which are toasted before being ground. It is mostly ground in small quantities as needed but will keep for up to three months if stored correctly.
Inspired by Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe in <i>An Invitation to Indian Cooking</i> (Ecco).