Deconstruct your garam masala

by Sanjeev Kapoor

Store bought garam masala can never match the taste, aroma and experience of making your own at home. See how these fabulous spices – all different from each other come together to give you a spice mix, which not just satisfies your taste buds but also adds little doses of nourishment to your food. Here is some essential trivia on the main leads in a robust garam masala. 

Black pepper – kali mirch

  • Peperine is the pigment that gives peppercorns their pungent kick which comes handy in recipes across the world.
  • Black peppercorns contain plenty of anti-bacterial and anti-carcinogenic properties.
  • They help the body to absorb vitamins and minerals better and speed up metabolism. Also don’t forget these beautiful black beads when you have a cold or flu!

Cloves – laung 

  • Did you know that cloves are pink in colour before they are dried and turn a beautiful earthy brown?
  • Famously used as a cure for tooth ache the lesser known benefits of cloves include higher metabolism, more omega 3 benefits and regulated blood flow in the body.
  • Cloves are also a proven aphrodisiac. 

Cardamom - elaichi

  • Just like an Indian mithai is incomplete without a sprinkling of green cardamom powder so is a pungent garam masala without elaichi.
  • It doesn’t just add plenty of flavour and a sweet aroma, but also acts as a great digestive aid, detoxifier and effective mouth freshener.
  • Cardamom is also an antispasmodic spice – it helps cure spasms and even hiccups.

Cinnamon – dalchini

  • This tree bark has a sweet aroma that goes perfectly well with so many different flavours. In a garam masala it provides much of the sweet fragrance and balance to the other robust spice flavours!
  • Cinnamon helps lower insulin levels and improves brain function. 

Coriander - dhaniya

  • A sprinkling of the fresh herb is essential to finish off most Indian savoury recipes the seeds are used as a flavourful addition to several spice mixes and curries.
  • Coriander seeds have a cooling effect on the body and are great way to remove toxins from the body and proper functioning of the urinary tract. 

Cumin - jeera

  • These tiny brown seeds lend their earthy aroma and robust flavour to a bunch of beverages, spice mixes, accompaniments, biscuits and desserts.
  • Cumin helps regulate your heart rate, prevents morning sickness during pregnancy, enhances memory and when boiled with water improves digestion. 

Fennel – saunf

  • Sweetly spiced saunf perfectly balances out the heat from the other masalas in a garam masala blend. They also clean the palate brilliantly - making it a favourite mouth freshener post a meal.
  • Fennel seeds are a great source of fibre and help promote digestion.
  • It is also a great source of potassium, iron and vitamin C.

Mace and Nutmeg - javitri and jaiphal 

Both these flavourful spices are derived from the same plant. While nutmeg is the hard inner kernel, mace is a delicate lace like covering around it.
Both these spices benefit in several ways by providing essential oils, vitamin A, vitamin C and iron to the body besides aiding pain relief, digestion and circulation of blood.


General Benefits of Garam Masala 

Reduces inflammation
Acts as a digestive aid
Increases metabolism
Helps detoxify
Speeds up weight loss
Prevents bad breath
Helps absorb minerals and vitamins from food better
Makes food zingy!

The perfect recipe

Well there is no single recipe for a perfect garam masala and that’s how it should be. Go ahead experiment with spices and create your own mix! Just make sure your spices are well roasted and cooled before you grind them. Store and add a dash of spice to your food, literally. 

Get the website recipe -

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.