Note: I starting adding the mixture in the first version to my baked goods, replacing some, if not all the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice or other spices in a recipe. Garam masala gives the finished product an added dimension that is subtle enough for most palettes. I assembled mine a little differently. I put the cardamom seeds, cloves, cumin and black pepper corns in a clean coffee grinder. I grated the nutmeg using my microzester. I had run out of cinnamon sticks, so I added a teaspoon after the rest of the mixture was ground. Besides, my coffee grinder does a mediocre job of turning a cinnamon stick into a powdery substance.
*Prep time included shelling about 25 grams of green coriander pods to find enough to make seeds up a tablespoon of seeds that were black. The brown ones are dried up. I put them aside for something else.
Prep time – 45 minutes*, yield – 3 tablespoons
Every home in India and Pakistan probably has its own handed-down-from-grandmother recipe for garam masala, an aromatic mixture of spices such as cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon which are supposed to “heat” the body. My currently favourite recipe goes as follows: Put 1 tablespoon cardamom sees, a 1-inch stick of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon whole black cumin (use regular whole cumin as a substitute), 1 teaspoon whole cloves, 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, and about 1/3 of an average-sized nutmeg into the container of an electric coffee grinder. Grind until the spices are powdery.
There is another lightly tarter garam masala, called “multani garam masala,” used in an area that is now northwestern Pakistan, that has sour pomegranate seeds in it. Here is that recipe: Put 1 1/2 teaspoons whole black cumin seeds, 1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom seeds, 1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns, 2 teaspoons anardana (dried pomegranate seeds), a 1 1/2 inch stick of cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon of whole cloves into the container of na electric coffee grinder. Grind until the spices are powdery. Yield: 3 1/2 tablespoons.
Any garam masala should be stored in a tightly lidded jar, away from heat and sunlight. As tin goes on, the spice mixtures will inevitably lessen in aroma and potency. That is why they are made in small quantities, but do use them up.
Source: World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking, by Madhur Jaffrey